By Geoff Courtney
A group of railway enthusiasts in Australia has vowed to fight for the survival of one of the country’s major railway museums, home to a prized collection of UK-built steam locomotives, after its dramatic and unexpected closure in November.
As reported in last month’s Heritage Railway, Canberra Railway Museum closed its doors on November 15, called a halt to all the railtours it operates, changed all the external gate locks, instructed restoration projects to cease, and transferred two steam engines and two heritage diesels to another museum 150 miles away.
One of the locomotives moved was recently-restored No. 6029, a 4-8-4+4-8-4 Garratt built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester in 1953 for New South Wales Government Railways and currently the world’s largest operational steam engine. The other was also a Beyer Peacock product, 1903-built 4-6-0 No. 3016.
The museum was run by the Australian Capital Territory division of the Australian Railway Historical Society (ARHS ACT), which also owned the two locomotives, while on site were three other Beyer Peacock products, 4-4-0 No. 1210 dating from 1878 – an engine of such historical significance that it is listed as a heritage object – 4-6-4T No. 3013 of 1903, and
No. 3102, a 4-6-0 built in 1912.
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