Designing and constructing a building requires planning, precise measurements and skilled people to execute the plan.  Most of the time, anyways.  Has the fickle finger of time played a role in what we are about to see today with weathering and decay, or was this building constructed using guesstimates and rough guidelines?  I’m not sure we’ll ever know, but it sure is fun trying to figure it out.

We’re heading back to the BC Forest Discovery Centre today with our running photoblog series “The Toad’s Tonka Toys” where we had the pleasure of spending the day exploring with our best friends The Mudpuppies.  The museum is full of really interesting artifacts, many of them defy labeling or description.

Speeder Shack - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Speeder Shack – BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

What we’re looking at here is a “Speeder Shack”.  Speeders are known by many names including railway motor car, putt-putt, track-maintenance car, crew car, jigger, trike, quad, trolley or inspection car, and also known as a draisine.  This Wikipedia article has a complete description and includes some photos of speeders, to give you an idea of what we’re talking about here.

This shack caught our attention the moment we arrived at the museum that day.  Our first question was an obvious one: is this going to fall down?  Today?  Not a straight line exists anywhere with this building!  I can only imagine how challenging it would be to repair something like this.  You’d have to use a pretty crooked ruler to get it right.

Speeder Shack - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Speeder Shack – BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

This is one of my personal favorite photos from this shoot.  From here, we get a much better perspective and can really see how truly crooked this wonderful little building really is.  As a photographer, we’re trained to look for lines and to try to keep the lines in our compositions straight, but when working with a subject like this all those conventional thoughts fly right out the window.

I would have loved to have a chance to get inside for some shots, but it was locked up tight.  One look at those doors from this angle, and you’d believe that would be for good reason, too.  If one was to fling those doors open, would the whole thing collapse on itself?  Probably not, but you just never know…

Many thanks for taking the time to pop by and see us here today, we really do appreciate it!  As always, we encourage all our visitors to leave us any comments you may have as we really love to hear from everyone!




  1. avatar Perry Bailey says:

    I have a friend from college who’s parents were railcar enthusiasts, they’re neat little vehicles. Nice set of images, it’s a great subject for HDR.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Great comments here Perry, many thanks for taking the time to pop by and see us, and for leaving your wonderful thoughts!

  2. Nice work Toad, great character to the place

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It really is so very rich in terms of character, my friend. We spent the entire day exploring the place, filled up our memory cards, and are planning to head back again! Thanks so much for taking the time to pop on by, my friend!

  3. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    Wow! What a unique and awesome little shack!! Well done Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Adam! We really enjoyed shooting this location and would love to head back later this summer for a follow-up. We really do appreciate you taking the time to swing on by and see us today, and many heartfelt thanks for your very kind comments!

  4. avatar Jim Nix says:

    great texture, esp on the roof, nice work Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so very, very much Jim, that really does mean an awful lot to us here!

  5. avatar ehpem says:

    What a nice set Toad. This brings to mind a remote speeder shack and linesman’s cabin I visited many years ago along the Skeena River. The building did not really catch my eye (though it might now), what enthralled was that in the dense bushes next to it we found 4 or 5 speeders – of different vintages. The older they were the less of the wood frame and superstructure survived, but it was like a miniature museum of speeders from the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and then CNR days, probably back to its opening in 1914 or so. I wish I had some pictures of those. I tried to get the local museum interested, but the logistics seemed too difficult.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I have to say, Ehpem, your comments on our blog add so much depth to our posts, I don’t know how I can begin to thank you for taking the time to do that! What a great, great story! Really a shame to have things like this lost deep in our forest, and I’ll bet it was an AMAZING scene to come across. Thanks, my friend, you sir are awesome!

  6. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    THat is one weathered shack Toad. Great images and now I know what a speeder shack is!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much there, Len, we sure do appreciate your support and kind words!

  7. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Looks like that shack has had better days. There’s not much roofing left.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Yeppers! Time to call in the roofers, although I do admit that repairing all that would take away the character of it. 🙂 Thank you so much for popping by today, Rick, we always appreciate it when you do!

  8. All those crooked lines and fantastic textures make these types of buildings so much fun to photograph. Great job with these images.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so much there, Steven, we really do appreciate your fabulous comments here!

  9. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Now that is a shakey shack, and I love it. With this writeup, it becomes comical in it’s appearance. 🙂

    I learned something today, what a speeder truly is. I always thought they were people who exceeded the posted limit. LOL

    Having seen some of these around railway yards, I now know the proper name for them.

    Enjoyed the post, as always.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      HA! Fabulous comments here, Jimi, that’s awesome! 😀 Many kind thanks for taking the time to come see us here today, and for leaving us your most wonderful thoughts to enjoy, my friend!

  10. This is a term I had never heard before. Thanks for enlightening me, Toad.

    These two images show not only the amazing shapes that this shack appears to have contorted into but also the fabulous details in the roof tiles which I think is its best feature. Nice one, my friend!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks, Mark, I’m beaming from ear to ear today from your comments here! I really appreciate that, my friend!

  11. avatar Edith Levy says:

    I agree with you Toad that second image is my favorite as well. Beautiful details you’ve brought out in this.

  12. avatar Fred Norris says:

    Brilliant Toad ,absolutely top shelf you have really captured the magic of this amazing structure through your lens.Thanks for sharing mate!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      And many kind thanks in return for your wonderful comments and visit today, Fred, we sure do appreciate it!

  13. avatar Rob says:

    Nice little shack for those little speeders. Sadly, they too seem to go the way of the caboose.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I often wonder if one or two generations from now, will anyone know what these things even are anymore? There is so much romance and inherent interest to be found in railroads and all the items that come with them…. such a shame to see them slowly disappear. But, in the meantime, we’re doing all we can to photograph what’s left of them to share with everyone!! Many thanks for taking the time to come see us here, Rob, we really do appreciate your support my friend!

  14. That building definitely has tons of character! When I read the title I was expecting to see something you would park a Corvette in! I love that 2nd picture as well. Great post Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Ha! Totally awesome comments here Michael, thank you for taking the time to visit us, and for leaving these great thoughts for everyone to enjoy! 🙂