Our love for everything rusty runs from the sublime to the surreal at times, driving us onward, forever searching for that next abandoned or forgotten artifact to explore with our lens.  A while back, the lovely Mrs. Toad happened to come across the Ladysmith Train Station and Railway Museum and told me all about it.  This spurred us on one fine morning to visit it in person; and the results were beyond my wildest imagination!  In today’s post we’re kicking off a new photoblog series titled “Ladysmith Train Station & Railway Museum” featuring the shots we captured on this visit.  You’re going to love these.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As you make your way down into the museum area of the old train station yard, you come across a display of old trains and cars.  We’ll be sharing some truly stunning shots from here in later posts and thought we’d start this new series here today by featuring the old steam locomotive sitting on the tracks.

The entire Ladysmith area was originally founded on the precept of coal mining, forming an integral part of the overall island strategy of moving coal up and down our main corridors.  The other big industry that helped start the community was logging, and we see plenty of artifacts left behind from that era.  But, as with everything in this world we live in, times change.  In this case economic considerations have created a situation where the Ladysmith Train Station was no longer a viable facility to operate for VIA, and as such it was closed a few years back now.

With all that being said, let’s focus on the trains today.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As I am sure this will come of little surprise to those who follow us regularly, the very first thing I wanted to do when we came across the display was to climb aboard.  The 3 year old in me started climbing and hanging off the ladder up into body of the train, happily snapping and shooting handheld as there was literally no room to bring my tripod up here with any form of ease.  One of the things I couldn’t help but note in this shot is the holes that remain that are letting sunlight into the cabin.  Are these remnants of the rivets?  I’ve never really seen anything like this before, but in all honestly I hadn’t been paying attention either.

Ladysmith Railway Museum - Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Ladysmith Railway Museum – Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The boilers in these things are just massive.  You’d obviously need a lot of power to get a train like this rolling, especially with a heavy cargo.  In this shot we noticed how the rivets aren’t perfect, leading me to believe that these weren’t installed by machine, but rather this is the result of a manual construction process.  It’s these little imperfections that add so much artistic tension to the whole scene.  Who were the men who built this train?  Who was the engineer who drove this train?  How must it have felt to travel across a largely untamed land, in brutal weather conditions, surrounded by a forest full of wild animals of species of all kinds?  It’s this very spirit and courage that helped to build the island up the way it is today, making communities that have deep ties to both the land around us, and to each other.

In upcoming posts we will be featuring some of the railway cars that are displayed here, as well as some of the key buildings.  The entire site is going through a form of transformation as the railway era appears to be coming to an end here on the island, and new interests and opportunities arise.  This is the way of the world these days, and quite honestly we’re thrilled to find an appetite for maintaining these important links to our past.  It’s the only way future generations will have a sense of appreciation for the island and the history that brought us all here to this point today.

Many thanks for visiting us here at The Hollow today, we really do appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.




  1. avatar Lois Bryan says:

    Oh what fun … I share your love of all things rusty, from a time gone by. These are great images!!! Well done!! Very much looking forward to viewing more!!!

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  3. avatar Don Barton says:

    Thanks for this, Scott.

    My wife and I are travelling over to the Island on Monday and will certainly make an effort to include this museum in our itinerary. Both your photos and words are a wonderful tribute to the Island Railway of the past.

    • Gosh thanks so much Don! I hope you and your wife had a terrific weekend, the weather was just perfect for exploring on the island! Many heartfelt thanks for your continued support and encouragement my friend!

  4. Well Toad, you had me at “Our love for everything rusty . . . ” I too share your passion for rust, peeling paint and old metal. Add a little graffiti and I’m there! I also wonder about their past journeys and adventures. It’s difficult to capture dark metal and daylight in the same frame. Beautifully and skillfully done!

  5. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    I so love old trains.
    Actually, old anything! 🙂
    This is truly such a beauty.

  6. avatar Edith Levy says:

    You find the best places to photograph Toad. I love old trains and that first image is awesome.

  7. I always enjoy your historical goodies!!

  8. original angles of view make for exciting photographs, like what you came up with here mr toad. i have enjoyed this post very much.