After years of failed rejuvenation attempts and high costs now needed for repair, Locomotive 5080 will chug along to a new home in Alberta.
Ownership of the iconic landmark at the Prince Albert Exhibition Grounds was recently transferred to Aspen Crossing Railway Corporation - a train-themed destination outside Calgary.
The proposal stems from an October council meeting where Arne Lindberg of the train's restoration committee, made an impassioned plea for the city support on the move, as the train close to the end of the line in its salvageable life.
The owners of Aspen Crossing believe it will cost around $1 million to repair the locomotive over the course of four years. The team in Alberta is willing to flip this bill, alongside the $100,000 moving costs. The vehicle will be moved before March 31.
The locomotive was given to the city by the Canadian National Railway in 1961 to commemorate Prince Albert’s centennial anniversary in 1966. It was built in 1914 in Montreal and is one of only 61 built between 1914 and 1918. It serviced a line between the Hudson's Bay junction and The Pas.
As part of the deal, the city’s coat of arms along with the wording 'City of Prince Albert' will be added to the train. A plaque with the names of the mayor and council will be on the engine, accompanied by a “generous supply” of Prince Albert tourism items for visitors, according to agenda documents.
John Diefenbaker’s private business car is also housed at Aspen Crossing. The two cars are expected to be near each other on site.
Support to move the centre-old locomotive comes after numerous failed attempts since 2008 to resurrect the machine. Talks have included discussions about everything from dining car service and transportation with Carlton Trail Railway, dealings with various casino services, the Western Development Museum and applications for federal grants. Sadly, everything has fallen by the rails. While neglected, the train has faced its fair share of vandalism and is losing a battle to the elements.
While council previously expressed a desire to see it stay, all agreed money is tight and moving the train to a proper home is preferred to it rotting away.
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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