By Geoff Courtney
THE future of UK-built Garratt No. 6029, one of the world’s largest preserved steam locos, remains unclear despite the accountancy firm selling the giant engine withdrawing a decision not to respond to media enquiries about its sale following a protest by Heritage Railway.
Global accountancy Deloitte is handling the sale of the recently restored 4-8-4+4-8-4, which is believed to be valued at about £235,000, after its owner, a division of the Australian Railway Historical Society, collapsed into administration last November with about $700,000 (£425,000) debts.
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Its Canberra Railway Museum home was also closed without warning.
Eddie Senatore of Deloitte Australia was appointed liquidator to oversee affairs, and early in August an auction of some of the museum’s assets raised nearly £250,000 to pay off some of the creditors’ claims, but this did not include the society’s flagship preserved locomotive, Beyer-Garratt No. 6029, which Deloitte had said in June was not for sale.
However, on August 28, just a matter of weeks after the auction, Deloitte announced that the Garratt, built in Manchester in 1953 for New South Wales Government Railways and withdrawn in 1972, was on the market, and offers as ‘expressions of interest’ were invited.
Deloitte denied this sale represented a U-turn from its previous ‘not-for-sale’ position, and imposed a tight schedule on the process by stipulating that offers had to be submitted by September 15 and the 254-ton locomotive removed by September 29 from NSW Rail Museum at Thirlmere, south-west of Sydney, where it is in storage.
Read more in Issue 234 of HR – on sale now!