A North Battleford landmark that has been under wraps for a while was presented to an interested public Friday afternoon.
The Western Development Museum’s Locomotive 1158 has been restored and refurbished after a two-year campaign to raise $200,000.
The money, WDM Chief Engineer and Restoration Manager Tim Pomeroy told the News-Optimist, went toward a number of things to restore the locomotive to 1913 condition, including remediating hazardous materials, replacing parts, refurbishing parts, sourcing parts and the lettering.
The locomotive is one of two in existence, Pomeroy said, and North Battleford’s 1158 is in better condition.
Friday’s presentation featured a group photo of various people involved with the project, and included words from Conservative MP Rosemarie Falk, Saskatchewan Party MLA Herb Cox and North Battleford Mayor Ryan Bater.
Falk said the locomotive is a symbol of “our rich cultural heritage here in Western Canada,” and understanding the area’s history “gives Canadians an understanding of how our values and viewpoints were shaped.”
Cox likewise praised the locomotive’s historical significance.
“For someone who has been dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming, I’m very pleased that there’s not one single computer chip in this whole thing,” Cox said. Pomeroy agreed.
Bater reminded the audience the locomotive was one of the first things drivers see from the highway when pulling into the city.
“North Battleford, as a municipality, specifically owes its existence to the railway,” Bater said.
Pomeroy said the locomotive, “a real treasure,” weighs about 75 tonnes, and was set up to burn oil. The restoration work was done from photos, Pomeroy said.
Pomeroy said the locomotive could run, but would likely take at least another million dollars to do so, and making the locomotive run isn’t economically feasibly.
The engine was capable of about 60 miles per hour, Pomeroy said, but in the era, 30 miles per hour “would be plenty on that little fella.”