Railway museum rescue mission remains in doubt


By Geoff Courtney

The future of one of the world’s top railway museums that dramatically ceased operating nearly five months ago remains shrouded in doubt, despite the determination of enthusiasts to prevent its permanent closure and to resume operations.

Level crossing: UK-built Garratt No. 6029 crosses Cooks River in south-west Sydney with the ‘Thirlmere Flyer’ as part of the Thirlmere Festival of Steam on March 5, 2016. The 254-ton 4-8-4+4-8-4, the world’s largest operational steam locomotive, was at the time based at Canberra Railway Museum, but following the museum’s shock closure in November, it is now based at Thirlmere, home to Trainworks Railway Museum. MICHAEL KEMP

Based in the Australian capital Canberra, the museum, whose flagship locomotive is a giant Garratt built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester in 1953, was run by a division of the Australian Railway Historical Society (ARHS ACT) in tandem with the Canberra Railway Museum Trust.

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Following the museum’s shock closure in November, the ARHS ACT was placed in provisional liquidation and the trust into receivership, and Ezio Senatore of accountancy firm Deloitte was appointed by order of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court to oversee affairs.

Stunned railway enthusiasts soon rallied to the cause, and a number of society members formed the Friends of the Canberra Railway Museum in a bid to ensure the museum and its assets were not sold off or dispersed.

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