By Geoff Courtney
Enthusiasts worldwide are reeling from the sudden, shock closure of one of the world’s leading railway museums that is home to a fine collection of UK-built steam locomotives, including a giant Beyer-Garratt which has taken linesiders and the public by storm since its return from restoration last year.
Canberra Railway Museum, run by the Australian Capital Territory division of the Australian Railway Historical Society (ARHS ACT), closed its doors for possibly the last time and called a halt to railtours shortly after the society’s annual meeting on November 15.
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A statement on the museum’s website said simply: “Please note that the Canberra Railway Museum will be closed until further notice.”
In further dramatic moves, all the external gate locks of the museum, which had been open since the early-1980s, were changed, and two steam locomotives owned by the society, the Garratt and another Beyer Peacock product, No. 3016, were moved 150 miles by rail into storage at Trainworks Railway Museum in Thirlmere, south-west of Sydney.
Trainworks is run by Transport Heritage New South Wales, a division of the state government, and its chief executive officer Andrew Moritz told members that the museum had accepted the locos at the request of the society “in the interests of the greater good and spirit of the rail heritage community.”
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