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How One Man Rescued Old Two Spot

Updated: May 20

By Donna Clements

Victoria Daily Times

December 2, 1970


DUNCAN — They all told Granger Taylor he was crazy to try and restore the 1910 Climax logging steam locomotive.  That was in 1969.


Today he has “Old Two Spot” shipshape, his own backyard railroad — and a steady stream of admirers.


The 22-year-old Duncan logger, bulldozer operator and self-taught heavy duty mechanic found the 23-ton moss-covered wreck nestled in the woods with an 18-inch diameter tree growing in the middle.


“A year ago my parents and I hiked in where we heard the locie was,” Taylor said.  “I love working with any old engine and machinery.  I was just thrilled to see the old wreck.  I didn’t know the first thing about locomotives before that.”


For some reason the engine had been dynamited and her whole under carriage stripped off for scrap metal during the Second World War.


Friends told him he would never be able to restore it.


“I figured nothing is impossible and I could do it,”  he said.


Now after a year’s patient creative work Taylor has Old Two Spot sparkling and waiting to be steamed up.


Taylor took a few trial runs down his 100 yards of track but he doesn’t plan to set his new toy in motion again until next year.


After finding the locie on Mile 62 of the CNR west of Duncan and getting permission from property owners to take it, Taylor said he had to wait four months before the Cowichan River could be forded and he could move his find to his home.


After building a one-half mile road to the locie Taylor and two friends then dug a huge pit in front of the locie so they could back a logging truck to her and pull her on with a winch on a cat.


The two-day project of moving the old locie next involved adding another set of wheels and then crossing the river with the cat anchoring the truck against runaway on the steep grade.


“Once we were across the river I knew I had it made,” he said.


Taylor said he then had to manufacture a new cylinder casting for one side, build a cab, rebuild boiler and undercarriage.


“To completely restore Old Two Spot cost me $200 for materials.”


He then laid down 100 yards of track which he had picked up from old logging grades.


“My railway cost me $22.”


When he checked into Old Two Spots history Taylor found she is the smallest Climax in existence.


“All of the older ones were either scrapped, burned or lost.”


“Old Two Spot was purchased in 1910 by the Shawnigan Lake Lumber Co.  For many years she was the only companion to the company’s ‘Old Betsy’, a class A Climax Pole Railway Locomotive.”


That is where the name “Old Two Spot” came from.


“Old Betsy, built in 1902, the company’s first locomotive, was burned in a mill fire.  I have her original diamond stack on Old Two Spot.”


Taylor said in 1922 Old Two Spot was sold to Channel Logging.


“In 1927 she was seized by Cameron Logging because Channel Logging accidentally went into their claim and could not pay for the timber they took.


“Old Two Spot drew a final breath though her iron lungs at that time because Cameron Logging ran her on to his grade where she remained until I moved her in 1969.”


For a companion to the logging steam locomotive, Taylor has a 25-ton locomotive crane built by Industrial Works in 1914. 


“The crane was used by Hudson Railway and then shipped to Paldi and used by Mayo Lumber Co. for general work until they retired her in 1964.”


He also has 30 old one-cylinder engines of all descriptions, a homemade carriage type car that he built from various parts of old cars.

Ed note: Old Two Spot is now on display at the BC Forest Discovery Centre

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Do we know what happened to Taylor and to the locomotive?

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My Uncle Granger Taylor passed away in November 1980. Old Two Spot is on display at the BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, BC.

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