If you stand still enough, you can almost hear the whistle of the rolling train in the distance.  It’s one of those things; history trying to reach across the divide of time to leave an imprint on the now.  In this post we are continuing our running photoblog series “Ladysmith Train Station & Railway Museum” that features the once bustling station in the tiny town of Ladysmith.  Today it’s a memory, both in terms of the impact it left on the community, as well as the museum and businesses that now reside in the facility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re always saddened when we see places like this close.  Usually it’s only a matter of a number of years before the abandoned location finds itself completely inundated by the nature that surrounds it.  At that point, the only thing that really remains are the stories told around the proverbial fireplace.

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

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

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

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

We can find very little information on the actual closure of the Ladysmith Train Station, other than it appears to have hosted its last service sometime in 2011.  While it’s no secret that our island’s railways have been under considerable financial strain the last several years, it’s still a very melancholy experience to visit a location like this and find the peace to be almost overwhelming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just a short jaunt down the hill a-ways and we find the old building that was obviously used to store goods, and load and unload the passing trains.  Today it finds a second life being home to several local businesses.  At the time we visited in October of 2013 we were absolutely delighted to see the reuse of such a great structure, one that is full of character and undoubtedly has a thousand interesting stories within the walls.

You just can’t help but wonder what the future has in store for this old station, and others like it.  We truly hope that the heartwarming outpouring of support from people who live in these communities continue to strive to find purposes for these classic buildings, to breath a second life into what once was a landmark for the area.  These hubs are of paramount importance as once they were burgeoning facilities that transformed the area both physically and economically.  It’s only through the act of refurbishment that the history, and as such the memories, of what places like this once meant to the island and the local townsfolk can live on in the hearts and minds of us all.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us here at The Hollow today, we truly appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please do feel free to leave any comments you may have below.




  1. avatar Don Barton says:

    Toad, I’m curious about the “buttresses” along the rear of the long blue building. Have these always been part of the construction or have they been added to support the building. If the latter, I wonder what was in the building to cause it to begin to lean outward.

    • Hi Don! Thanks once again for your kind visit today, we really appreciate it! Ooo, you ask a really good question here, one that I am afraid I do not know the answer to. There was no sign of stress on the walls of the building when we visited, so my initial gut reaction is to believe they’ve always been there, but I could most certainly be wrong. That blue building is the one that now hosts several small local businesses and as such I believe it’s totally up to code. Terrific spot, my friend, I hope you get a chance to visit in person on your next trip to the island here! 🙂

  2. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    It really is sad that this is not being used any longer.
    There are actually many here in the U.S. that are in the same situation.
    These photographs are wonderful!
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Many many thanks for both visiting and for commenting today here Lisa, we truly appreciate it! We always love it when you pop by my friend, your support means a lot to us here!

  3. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Wonderful as usual Toad but I really love the 4th image. The leading lines and vanishing point are wonderful.

  4. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    You find these old treasures and show what life was like in the past. Your images just beg that these places are renovated to their previous glory. Great pics Toad. On a different note, I have noticed that your site has been loading very, very slowly recently. You may already know about that but, if you didn’t, wanted to let you know.

    • Hi Len, it always means so much to us when you visit and leave comments, thank you so much! No sir, I wasn’t aware of loading problems, I will most certainly look into it here on my end to see if I can figure out what’s going on. On the west coast everything seems to be in order, so perhaps the problem is with our mirroring and caching system, I’ll check it out on my end, many thanks for letting me know. Take care there, and thanks once again for taking the time to come see us!

  5. avatar Toran Williams says:

    Hi, I just wanted to add some info about the long blue building in your photos. This building was the locomotive and heavy maintenance shop for the Comox Logging & Railway Co’s (Crown Zellerbach – Fletcher Challenge – Timberwest) Nanaimo Lakes operation. It was the terminus of their woods railway, which dumped logs into the ocean at the beach just down the hill from this location. The reason for the buttresses is that the building once had an overhead crane which the used to service the locomotives and logging trucks. The railway operations for CL&Ry Co. ended in 1984.

    • Gosh, Toran, thank you so much for adding this great information to the post!! Very, very interesting indeed! Our rich logging history is a big area of interest for my wife and I, and we love to learn as much as we can about it all. Thanks very kindly for taking the time to pop by and leave these comments that I am sure everyone will really enjoy!

    • avatar matt says:

      Question for you. Who pulled the track and ties up. And what happened to haslam creek and boulder creek trestle. .couldn’t understand why they closed down the line

      • avatar Toran says:

        I believe the line was closed because of a bridge fire. It was not cost effective to replace the bridge. CZ pulled up the rails. Coincidentally the contract for the nitinat logger out of Lake Cowichan also ended in ’84, which resulted in abandonment of that line by the CPR.

        • avatar matt says:

          Seems interesting that a small fire in the middle of span would stop them from repair. Considering it was a fully operating line..already in place. My dad worked for bcfp and we used to go visit his buddies at nanaimo lakes. I’m wondering. When cz went down hill . Who did they sell too? Because I do recall seeing the logo’s change over to a cf. Was that a division of fcc. Until the big merger in 89. I’m not sure what’s left of the nanaimo lakes reload area either. Would you happen to know if it’d possible to follow the old row. From ladysmith to nanaimo lakes. .I’m curious to know if boulder creek trestle and haslam creek trestle are still solid. Maybe a map of the row.

  6. avatar Brent Hine says:

    Hi, and thanks for publishing the -for now- continuing story of the E&N Ladysmith station.
    This building was my first workplace for the E&N in the summer of 1977. I relived the agent, Mr. Herb Murray (former resident of Parksville) who I fondly recall. He had lost one hand and his prosthetic device for use at work was a small metal hammer, which he used to great effect to “bang out” train orders from the dispatcher in Vancouver. I recall being so nervous, sitting there in his chair, expecting the dayliner soon, typing out my own orders, and selling tickets through the wicket into the waiting room. Somehow, i got through those first arduous days, haha. Since, I worked many, many other stations, from there to Toronto, before packing in my lot with the railways.

    • That is a WONDERFUL story to share here with everyone Brent, thank you very much indeed!! We truly love to hear stories like this, the personal ones that people have with places like this. We really enjoyed this a lot!! Cheers, my friend!

  7. avatar Matt says:

    In regards to cz Nanaimo lakes camp. When fcc bought out the interests it was changed to cf. which hung on til 87. The railway was still there my dad worked on the railroad

    • Hey Matt, thanks for popping by and sharing your thoughts! How terrific is it that your dad worked on the railroad? That’s awesome! Love to hear stories like this, thank you very much indeed!

  8. avatar Matt says:

    Wondering what’s left of Boulder creek trestle and haslam creek