Monday, May 20, 2013

Chasing Trains for Fun

I`ve been recovering from my second abdominal hernia repair operation in two years, and have been feeling kinda....glum. Okay, alright, I’ll admit it – been kinda feeling sorry for myself. Being a very active person by nature, getting out there and doing fun stuff has been on hold during my recovery, and as for the future? Who knows. Body-building, bungy jumping and sky-diving are out, and even though I never really had great aspirations to do any of those things anyways, it’s the thought of NOT being able to do those things, if I ever wanted to, that has gotten me down. So while the recovery has been long, my future of doing stuff a bit bleak, I have been focusing on finding stuff that I CAN do – because hey, that’s what life’s all about, right? Getting out there and doing - stuff!

When I noticed a sign on the highway outside the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society at Heritage Acres in Victoria, BC, I knew what I could do! Added to that, I was sure it was something I could get an ever-growing teenager out doing with me!

So on that sunny Victoria Day long weekend (in these parts, it`s the May 20th weekend), I packed us a lunch and with a promise of a surprise, we headed out to Heritage Acres.

A woodsy place adorned with weeping willow trees, trails through the woods, and a pond abundant with lily pads, the grounds house replica buildings from `back in the day` of blacksmiths, schoolhouses, and a chapel. Among the heritage farming equipment donated from local farmers, a museum boasts antiques – everything from treadle sewing machines, to tools, to printing presses. A fun and educational place to look around, but honestly, that`s not what we were there for that day.

We were there to ride trains.

The Vancouver Island Model Engineers, a group of model train enthusiasts maintaining trains of all sizes as well as model aircraft and boats, host train ride days throughout the year. Decked out in traditional train engineer gear, members not only work on their model trains that are bigger than your average dog, but they maintain much bigger trains – trains you can ride!

With a donation, we hopped aboard. Sitting astride our car, our feet mere inches from the ground, off we went. With the engineer on the front, we toot-tooted and whizzed along foot-wide tracks, through tunnels, over bridges, around ponds, even past a garden gnome display! The 10-minute ride had us back at the station all too soon, where we promptly dropped in another donation into the cash box, got our `ticket` punched again, and away we went! With a whistle and clank of the gears, my son in front of me and my arms clenched tightly around his middle holding on for dear life, through the forest we went again. Though the log ride at Disneyland it was not, a scream through the darkened tunnel was duly called for!

As we had our lunch under a massive weeping willow tree, to stop later at the Whistlestop cafe for a freezie, I realized – I have lots to do, lots I can do, and no amount of hernias were going to stop me from having some kind of fun. Those trains clackety-clanking over the tracks reminded me to focus on what I COULD do, and not on what I couldn`t.
So be sure to hop aboard a train, even if it`s no bigger than a bike, and get riding!

The Vancouver Island Model Engineers are based based at the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society site at Heritage Acres, 7321 Lochside Drive. Be sure to check out their website at for upcoming train ride schedules and be sure to get your ticket punched! Who knows what kind of fun you`ll have!

(Pop over to my photo gallery to see more pictures of the trains!)


  1. Very cool! We had these in Australia and really enjoyed spending our $1.50 on a fun train ride. We marvelled at the little coal engines and real steam. I will have to see if they have any like this in AB. Wow, little M is all grown up!

    1. Aren't the train rides fun! So glad you were able to do that, as well, down under! It was a great time - something we can do together next time! Thanks for reading! Lisa