After almost 50 years of inactivity, the train lovingly referred to as The Two Spot is looking almost as good as new.
For the past three years, volunteers at the West Coast Heritage Railway Park known as “The Monday Crew” have helped restore the steam engine, which is more than 100 years old, and volunteer Donna Fourchalk said the transformation has been remarkable.
“You would not believe that this was an old rust bucket,” she said. “It had little trees growing out of it. Nothing on the train moved and now everything is moving.”
The history of The Two Spot tells a tale of Squamish itself. The train was originally built in 1910 by Baldwin Locomotives out of Philadelphia and in the 1920s made its way to Vancouver Island, where Comox Logging used it until the 1960s.
The train was donated to the District of Squamish in 1966 and was then moved to what is now known as the O’Siyam Pavilion in 1967 as part of Canada’s centennial celebration.
And that’s where it stood until 1991, through Squamish’s wet winters and windy days. Over those 24 years the train was not maintained and began rusting and rotting.
The past three years have seen volunteers put hundreds of hours of work restoring the train, and all that effort is soon to pay off.
Fourchalk said The Two Spot will now sit proudly right beside The Royal Hudson inside the CN Roundhouse Centre for everyone to see.
“This little engine has so much brass on it,” she said proudly.
She said the train will be a key component to a brand new historical festival coming to the park this fall.
“It will sit next to the Hudson, and all the guys will be out there to explain and show it off to the public,” she said.
Fourchalk said RBC has been a big supporter, donating $1,000 on May 23 and contributing a total of $4,000 to refurbishing the train over the years. “It’s pretty impressive for them to do this for us,” she said.
About 10 volunteers gather each Monday to work on trains and re-live the past.
“We all get to hang out, and we all love trains and history,” she said. “It’s a really supportive group.”
For more information on the park, visit www.wcra.org.