Push Gathers Steam to Restore a Historic Loco
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One of six remaining historic steam trains will become an iconic entry to Pinjarra, if council votes to purchase and revamp it tomorrow.
Shire of Murray councillors will vote at their next meeting on a proposal to spend $100,000 to purchase, refurbish, transport and then permanently station a historic PMR 735 Steam Train Locomotive as an entry statement into Pinjarra.
The train was built in 1950 and is 20 metres long. However, the Shire said commercial confidentiality meant it could not reveal the seller.
A report to council on Thursday reveals the train is available to purchase and would serve as “a great entry statement located at the Pinjarra Rail Heritage precinct”.
Staff say there’s a lot riding on the decision - rating the risk level as moderate - as the chance to a delay to buying “such a valuable rich cultural asset” could result another buyer railroading the idea.
The train the Shire plans to purchase and refurbish. Credit: Shire of MurrayA total of 35 of the PMR trains helped power the state’s economy between 1950 and 1972.
While they were initially meant to take passenger services, their independently sprung driving wheel meant the ride was too rough and they couldn’t run on time.
The route changed and they were relegated to fast freight trains on the Eastern Goldfields and Great Southern lines.
The train the Shire is considering buying was displayed at Bennett Brook Railway in the 1980s before being resold to Hotham Valley Railway and then being placed in private hands.
Steam trains in their glory days. Credit: Shire of Murray
Shire staff say the train would pay homage to Pinjarra’s history, with the Pinjarra station opened in 1893 as the interim terminus of the South Western Railway from Perth.
The engine shed in Pinjarra is understood to be the oldest in WA and its carriage shed could be the last surviving one in the state.
Extending railway to Pinjarra led to the development of the town and surrounding area.
For the past year, the Shire has been developing a plan for the Pinjarra Rail Heritage precinct.
This article first appeared on www.perthnow.com.au
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