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McLeans Sawmill Port Alberni

Alberni Pacific Railway, McLean Mill, Pt. Alberni, BC

Port Alberni is about 4 hours from Vancouver, BC, by way of a ferry trip across the Strait of Georgia, Model Train Plans for Structures and about a one hour drive through some spectacular scenery, including Cathedral Grove, an amazing old growth forest of Douglas Fir.

Historically a logging and sawmill town, the natural beauty, outdoor activities, and local culture has turned Port Alberni into an exciting tourist destination. Among the many activities is the chance to ride a steam train from downtown Port Alberni, along a 35 minute ride to McLean Mill, a working steam powered sawmill. As exciting as the trip would have been, misadventure struck as masked bandits made off with the safe from the train containing the payroll for the mill!

The following photos are just a brief snapshot of our day. More information can be found at the Alberni Valley Heritage Network website.

Port Alberni steam train the great train robbery

Baldwin 90 ton Locomotive

Once used to haul logs for the mill, this locomotive spends it's retirement hauling tourists back and forth to the McLean Mill.

The Beaufort Gang

Conductor Kevin manages to maintain composure during the armed robbery.


the great train robbery the Beaufort Gang robs train

The target of the heist.

Three members of the notorious Beaufort Gang flee the scene!

Mclean steam powered sawmill antique logging

A demonstration of the steam powered McLean Mill is the destination of the 35 minute run, and well worth the trip.

Back in the safety of the museum/train station you can see some of the trucks and machinery used in the logging operation.

Click here for more information on the steam train ride, sawmill tour, and other activities hosted by the Alberni Valley Heritage Network. It's definitely worth a visit, and to make it even more worthwhile, the Alberni Valley is home to Canada's only operating steam donkey!

model railroad sawmill

Model a sawmill in N, HO, OO, or O Scale

The "Pacific Northwest", which included British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, was home to some of the largest Douglas Fir, cedar, hemlock, and other species of softwood in the world. What was originally an encumbrance to the settlers arriving from Europe wanting to farm the areas soon became one of their most valuable commodities. In some cases, trees were actually burned in order to prepare the land for farming, but once farming was established, logging and lumber mills began to appear.

The Arrow Creek sawmill, one of many small steam powered sawmills, used a converted "donkey" engine from a logging camp. The mill was later converted to electricity.


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