Book Review: The Victoria and Sidney Railway

The book “The Victoria and Sidney Railway” is an affectionate look at a small, almost unknown railway that struggled for survival for 27 years on Vancouver Island.

I found this book in Ware House Hobbies as part of a collection of used books on consignment. As a fan of Vancouver Island railways, I had to have it… and it was a bargain at $10!

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This book is surprisingly long – 236 pages – considering that the railway never accumulated much more than 16 miles of track. It is an incredibly detailed, well researched book that covers not only the V&S but also the other enterprises associated with it – the ships and rail ferries that brought passengers and rail cars from around the Island and from the mainland, and other railways that interchanged with it.

For such a tiny railway, it had a rich history and the author does a great job of presenting it in a warm, engaging way. It is never dry and The Victoria and Sidney Railway is a great book to curl up with.

The author wrote two books before this. Steel Rails & Silver Dreams is about the very short history of the Dolly Varden Mine railway, and West Coast Shays about those specialized workhorse locomotives.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Victoria and Sidney Railway”

  1. Thanks for posting about this book. I’ll have to see if I can find a copy. I should note there’s also a book called ‘The Story of Sidney’, written by Peter Grant, and published by Porthole Press in 1998. It has a lot of interesting material about the businesses and transportation in Sidney’s early days.

  2. Steel River and Silver Dreams is on my bookshelf, and a real treasure. I had not realised the author had penned on titles, but can imagine their quality based upon the above which is a superbly written and presented historical story and survey.

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