Editor's Note: As of February 2020, the majority of the urgent and high priority repairs (as outlined in the conservation report by GP Heritage Consulting) as been completed. The main focus of work moving forward will be detail work inside the locomotive, as well as fundraising for a covered structure. The Transcona Museum and Save 2747 Committee will oversee the sandblasting and repainting of CN 2747 in late spring / early summer 2020. Poor weather preventing this work from happening last autumn 2019. Fundraisers in support of the SAVE 2747 Campaign will be held throughout the year. Please fill out this volunteer application form if you are interested in volunteering with CN 2747.
CN 2747 was the first locomotive built in Western Canada at the Transcona Shops, which makes it unique and special to this community. The locomotive was built in 1926 when most people in town were employed by the shops or knew someone who was. It was a train that was built through the efforts of a community.
For close to 60 years, CN 2747 the locomotive has sat on permanent display in Rotary Heritage Park. Unfortunately, it has been heavily weathered and vandalized. No covering over the engine and tender means that it has dealt with weather conditions from heat and humidity to rain and hail, to snow and ice.
When the locomotive was acquired by the Transcona Museum in 2015, the museum started its preparations for a preservation project. The museum was informed by GP Heritage Consulting (who complete a conservation report on CN 2747 in May 2017) that CN 2747 had a lifespan of 10 years if no work was undertaken on the locomotive. The museum needed to act right away. A committee was formed and the "SAVE 2747" campaign launched to raise money for repairs and shelter for the train.
Since 2018, preservation work has been undertaken by a group of volunteers from the community. The work completed so far includes cleaning of the cab and tender of debris, repairs to the body of the engine and tender, new wooden components to replace the rotting ones, and weather-proofing for the winter months. Unfortunately, many of the original components inside the cab have either been broken or stolen by vandals, including dials and levers used to operate the train. Later this summer, the museum has plans to sandblast and paint the exterior of CN 2747.
The museum has made the decision to preserve and not restore CN 2747. This means the locomotive will not be restored to an operational state, as this would be a practical impossibility at this point. CN 2747 will be preserved back to the state it was in when first placed on display in Rotary Heritage Park in 1960.
For more information or to get involved with the preservation of CN 2747, please contact the Transcona Museum by phone or email.
Photographs courtesy of the Transcona Museum and Jim Kolson (Save 2747 Committee member).
Conservation Assessment of CN 2747 provided by GP Heritage Consulting.
Historical information on CN 2747 provided by Transcona Museum and Archives.