EXCLUSIVE: By Geoff Courtney
A claim by an Australian syndicate that it had bought a “certain English locomotive” – widely believed to have referred to preserved No. 60010 Dominion of Canada – has been exposed as a hoax, after a ‘true or false’ mystery worthy of an Agatha Christie novel.
The locomotive was donated by BR to the Canadian Railroad Historical Association after its withdrawal from Aberdeen Ferryhill in May 1965 and, until recently, had been on display at the Canadian Railway Museum in Saint-Constant, Quebec, since its arrival in the country in mid-1966.
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It returned to these shores for the award-winning Great Gathering of the six preserved A4s at the NRM in 2013, when it was cosmetically restored as No. 4489, its LNER number when it entered traffic in the summer of 1937. On its return to Canada it was again placed on display, but last year it was placed in storage, leading to reports that it could be sold.
In recent months the preservation movement in Australia had become awash with rumours that the Gresley Pacific, which in 1937 achieved 109½mph down Stoke Bank south of Grantham, would be coming to a new home down under.
However, a statement from the Canadian Railroad Historical Association just before Christmas revealed that the rumours were baseless, but not before they had reached fever pitch following a posting on Facebook in Australia in December under the identity of Joshua Ralston of the ‘NSWGR steam locomotive fleet’.
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