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Take a ride on the reading railroad

Transcona-built steam engine could find new home in library

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Artist’s rendering of Locomotive 2747 inside the new Transcona public library.

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Artist’s rendering of Locomotive 2747 inside the new Transcona public library.

The historic locomotive that sits alone in an empty park on Plessis Road could soon be moving indoors to a new Transcona library.

A civic committee endorsed a plan this morning by the Transcona Rotary Club to relocate locomotive 2747 into the new Transcona public library that will be built across the street.

Coun. Russ Wyatt, a member of the local Rotary club, said he and other club members were brainstorming how to better protect the old steam engine when someone suggested it be placed in the new library, which begins construction in December.

Wyatt said library staff immediately embraced the idea.

"They got really excited about it," Wyatt said. "This is all about saving 2747 and adding something of real value to the (new) library."

Locomotive 2747 was the first steam engine built at the Transcona Shops in 1926. It was saved from demolition in 1960 by the Kiwanis Club, which convinced CN Rail to donate it to the Town of Transcona and placed it on the park site on Plessis Road, now known as Rotary Park.

The locomotive is now owned by the Winnipeg Railway Museum, which has endorsed the plan by the local Rotarians.

Construction of a new $5.3 million, 14,000-square-foot library for Transcona was approved by council in December. It will be built on the northwest corner of Plessis and Kildare, on the site of the former public works yards which has been closed.

Wyatt said it the library will have to be expanded by 700- 1,000 square feet to accommodate the locomotive. The Rotarians have agreed to cover the $500,000 cost for moving the locomotive and changes to the design and construction of the library.

Wyatt said the locomotive could be placed in the library lobby or right in the heart of the new facility.

"We could have it right in the middle of the books and shelves," he said.

The proposal is dependent on the Rotary Club securing the funds before design of the library is put out for tender in the fall.

Wyatt said the new library will be part of a larger complex that includes the new YM-YWCA super recreation complex.

The Y plans to build three super rec centres across Winnipeg over the next 10 years and council agreed to fund one-third of the construction costs – $46.7 million – for the facilities.

Wyatt said the Y projects have been delayed as the group is waiting for the province to formally sign on to the plan.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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