‘U-turn’ denial as UK-built Garratt offered for sale

By Geoff Courtney

AUSTRALIAN preservationists and enthusiasts who are reeling from the shock closure of one of the country’s leading railway museums and the controversial auction in August of two of its locomotives, and other rolling stock, have received another major blow with the decision by the museum’s liquidator to sell the museum’s most-prized asset, UK-built Garratt No. 6029.

Giant of the track at rest: The massive proportions of No. 6029 are illustrated by this view of the UK-built Garratt at Canberra Railway Museum on February 25, 2015 when, having returned from restoration, it was named City of Canberra. The glory and excitement of that day now seem far distant as the 4-8-4+4-8-4 faces an uncertain future following the collapse of its owner, the ACT division of the Australian Railway Historical Society, and the closure of the museum, where it was based. HOWARD MOFFAT

The decision to sell the restored standard gauge 4-8-4+4-8-4 was made by Eddie Senatore, of global accountancy firm Deloitte.

He was appointed liquidator to oversee affairs after the museum’s closure last November and the collapse of the ACT division of the Australian Railway Historical Society, which ran the museum and owned a number of its assets, including No. 6029.

A Deloitte spokesman told Heritage Railway in June that No. 6029 was not for sale, but on August 28 the company announced that offers were being invited by way of expressions of interest.

The sale is being handled on behalf of Deloitte by Slattery Auctions of New South Wales, which also held an auction of some of the museum’s assets on August 2 that raised $400,000 (£241,000) which will go towards settling some of the debts of the society and museum that total about $700,000 (£425,000).

Read more in Issue 233 of HR – on sale now!

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