Last week, we rented a cottage near Bridgewater Nova Scotia. The weather was largely perfect, and we had a beautiful quiet lake almost to ourselves. Every day, we went out to explore the south shore.
In Lunenburg, we discovered the Halifax Southwestern Railway Museum. Now, I don’t enter into most railway museums with very high hopes. Restoring and maintaining railway equipment is such a heavy, expensive business that most of them are a little bit sad. However, if there’s one on offer, I always take it in. Who knows what you might find?
The Halifax Southwestern Railway Museum (HSWRM) turned out to be a real treasure! Several things make it stand out for me. First, the owner, Duane Porter, is a passionate advocate for local railway history, and because the museum is small, you get a first hand infection from him. Perhaps because of the location, the museum is devoted to a specific topic, going deep into the HSWR, rather than skimming the surface of every railway in North America as some do.
Finally, rather than throwing resources at a rusting out hulk of a steamer in the yard, Duane and his crew have been working on a model railroad depicting the HSWR during the years under the Canadian National Railways. This is quite well done, although nowhere near finished. It includes models of about five stations including the division point at Bridgewater and the branchline terminus at Lunenburg.
To really set this museum apart, the layout is in S scale, with (mostly) handlaid track! To my mind, 1:64 is vastly superior for public displays than the more typical HO scale. The added heft means that trains are more likely to keep running, and they’re easier to see and appreciate.
Nova Scotia is a beautiful province, with loads to see. The HSWRM should definitely be on your itinerary when you go.