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This article was published 22/7/2014 (1126 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Rotary Club of Winnipeg-Transcona is trying to get a piece of the neighbourhood’s history on track to move.
The Canadian National 2747 locomotive, currently located at Rotary Heritage Park on Plessis Road, may take up residence in the new Transcona Library building across the street. The 2747 was the first steam locomotive built in western Canada, and was completed at the Transcona Shops in 1926.
Club president Tom Hallas explained with the train engine outdoors, it is at the mercy of the elements and "really rusts from the inside out". The train was restored last year and placed back in the park, known colloquially as Train Park, last fall.
Hallas said the club has always looked for a way to shield the train from the effects of the outdoors, but up to this point had only considered options that kept the train in the park. However, Hallas said that between prohibitive costs and "ugly" design, none of the options presented were ever seriously considered by the group and the Winnipeg Railway Museum, which owns the train and has been co-operative in attempts to protect it further. City council voted to allow the move at its July 16 meeting.
Hallas said this past winter, Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona), a club member, came up with the idea to attempt to fold the project into the construction of the new library. Wyatt hopes to see the project, which would be part of the new Park City Plaza, begin construction in December.
Hallas feels teaming up with the new library would be a worthwhile partnership that would not only allow visitors to daydream about how Canada was built, but also inspire the next generation of young engineers — like he was once upon a time.
"The young minds, the young engineers, the young ladies, the young men, they might go to the stacks like I did when I was a kid, and read about how these are made, read about foundries, steam, all of that — it would be an exciting adventure," he said.
The move wouldn’t come cheap, as early estimates clock in the transportation of the train and design changes to the library to accommodate it are pegged between $500,000 and $750,000.
The City of Winnipeg is open to the plan as long as there is no cost to it, and Hallas feels the club’s entrepreneurial spirit, shown in both its event planning and grant writing, will serve it well.
"If we can somehow use our skills and abilities as a diverse group of Rotarians to somehow facilitate the moving of the train across the street, putting up somewhat of a little bump in the library, wouldn’t that be an amazing thing?"
Wyatt stressed the fundraising will be difficult, and he hopes the costs come down from the initial estimates. He did say the efforts are worthwhile, though.
"Canadian heritage is what we’re trying to save," he said.