Back in April of 2021, I paid visits to the Zany Zen Railway and the Valkyrie Light Transport Railroad, two members of a small group of railway systems in Second Life called The Great Little Trains of Second Life; the “little” here not being because they are necessarily small in terms of distance travelled, but rather the fact they celebrate narrow gauge trains and rolling stock (with a distinctly English lean to things in places!).
Those interested in learning more about those lines can do so by catching up on the Zany Zen here, and the Valkeryrie here. However, there is a third stop in any tour of GLTSR that deserves mention – and one I should have written about a lot sooner, given I also dropped in a couple of times in April and May, but due to assorted failures on my part, the article has been delayed in leaving the station, so to speak. As such my apologies to Nimoui Chenier (Nimoui) and Lily (LilyChenier), the creators of Dreamshire, home to the Dreamshire village, district and railway.
The overall design is that of an English village dating from the Victorian era, although the old gate towers looks older, whilst other aspects of the village – such as the fires station with its Landrover fire truck, make it clear the village has left the Victorian era so distance in the past. At the time of my most recent visit, the village also lay decorated in the modern style for Halloween., so there is already something of a rich mix here.
The railway system – which runs a narrow-gauge tram rather than steam locos – runs around the island passing through a number of little stations that present the opportunity to hop on and off. The largest of the stations – Winkle – sits just below the landing point and serves Dreamshire village, Other ports of call include Dragonspire, Wobbly Knot, Promenade and Dolphin Bay. Some these – like Promenade and Dolphin Bay – offer hints at to what might be found on dismounting the trams. Others, such as Winkle and Wobbly Knot might sound like contrived names, but when it comes to village names here in England, do remember we have places like Nether Wallop (Hampshire), Matching Tye (Essex), Blubberhouses (North Yorkshire), and many more, they aren’t that out of place as local names with an English bent!
A complete ride around the tracks of the region takes around 10 minutes if taken without jumping off), and offers a good opportunity to gain visual familiarity with the setting, which in places is rather eclectic in its mix. Dragonspire, for example, not only evokes thoughts of the stories by James E. Wisher, it actually includes both dragons and a fantasy castle (with rooms to explore).
Similarly, the south-western corner of the setting offers an interesting mix of very Victorian steam boat drawn up alongside the stone wharf that sits between Wobbly Knot and the Promenade, with a very 1950’s American style diner sitting at the far end of the latter, the two providing an interesting mix of times within easy reach of one another. In addition, Wobbly Knot offers a nice walk out to the gardens and tower of one of the two lighthouses that watch over the region’s western coastline.
The stop at Dolphin Bay provides access to the beach on one side, sitting below the tall finger of the second lighthouse, and the animal sanctuary and bay on the other. The latter offers the chance to sea a range of waterfowl and and wildlife, but I confess that – not being overly fond of the modern take on Halloween – I found the seasonal elements there a little too OOT, resulting in the use of the Derender option in the viewer when taking photos.
Across the far side of the animal sanctuary grounds, and tucked under the east hills is a small train yard and shed. Here can be found a couple of “traditional” narrow-gauge trains (one a scratch build by Nimoui) and information boards on narrow gauge railways and trams. A short walk from Winkle Station (and the landing point), it might nevertheless be easily missed, but is well worth visiting. And talking of the eastern hills, do please be aware that these are the home of two private residences – one clearly visible, the other cunningly hidden but the path to it clearly signed as private, so do please respect people’s personal space, as either one may be in use.
Gently charming, with touches of whimsy, Dreamshire makes for an engaging visit And should you prefer not to walk, a choice of bicycle or (for couples with the right penchant!) a pony cart is available to ride around the village and outlying paths and roads.
Dreamshire (Midnight stars (rated Moderate)