The Victoria & Sidney was the last link required to complete a full Canadian transcontinental railroad. It was built-all 17 miles of it-and was of critical importance.
The Saga of the Railway: It began as part of a dream - a dream to directly connect lower Vancouver Island to the transcontinental lines by rail and ferry. While that expectation was fulfilled, for some its continued existence became a nightmare. Its schedule was by no means punctual. Some of its station facilities defined the word rustic. The roadbed and equipment received minimal maintenance. Its owners were content to ask the Victoria and provincial governments for annual interest guarantee payments.
There was little incentive for it to be profitable. But, for two decades, beginning in the 1890s, the Cordwood Limited, as it came to be known, was the only service, apart from rural dirt roads, that Saanich Peninsula residents had for travelling to and from Victoria or for shipping and receiving farm products and other goods.
When its 25 year bond issue came due in 1917, it became an unwanted utility destined for receivership. This a story of great expectations, shrewd business, and political dealing. At the same time, it gives a glimpse of the early growth of the Saanich Peninsula and the town of Sidney.
Sono Nis Press (BC Railway Historical Association), softcover, 236 pages, 8.5 x 11 in., B&W photographs, equipment rosters, financial reports, index of affiliated people, index, timeline.