The campaign to preserve a popular Transcona landmark isn’t just for the benefit of the community, but for all Canadians, says a past president of the local museum.
Peter Martin, co-chair of the Save 2747 committee, told 680 CJOB that the Transcona Museum and other stakeholders want to see CN 2747 — a train engine built in 1926 that has been displayed on Plessis Road for decades — kept in good condition for all Canadians to appreciate its historical value.
“It was the first steam engine built in western Canada, built in our Transcona CNR shops,” said Martin.
“It was used in Alberta, it was used in Manitoba, it did a lot of work, and it was retired in 1960. It’s a historical piece for Canada, not only Transcona.”
The engine, Martin said, has been owned by the museum since 2015 and has undergone some renovations, but needs a more permanent solution to keep it safe from the elements.
“The first thing we did is understand the artifact that we have, and see what makes it tick.
“We hired an organization to come and do an assessment, and they said it has less than 10 years left if we do nothing… and we can’t let that happen,” he said.
“Our role as a museum is to preserve artifacts, especially something like this that’s so historically significant, and we need to preserve it for future generations.”
A restoration job last year gave the engine some more time, he said, but a fundraising campaign is ramping up to pay for a more permanent solution: a structure built around the train to keep it safe.
“We’re at a point now where it’s going to stay like this for a while, but it’s not going to last forever,” he said.
“We have to protect it, keep it in shape, so it’s pristine for everyone to see.”
The details of the structure — which Martin said will include a roof, a back wall, and three open sides — will be unveiled on April 19, to commemorate the 95th anniversary of CN 2747’s construction.
“It’s going to really highlight the engine, and it’s going to be something highly visual in the park. It’ll be accessible, so it can be visited by the folks.”
People can get involved — both as volunteers and to help out with the upcoming fundraising campaign, at the Transcona Museum’s website.
“It’ll be something you can drive by and be very proud — and it’s to attract people, not just from Transcona, but from all over Canada… to stand next to a massive engine and get a feel for what it was like.”