Going free to a good home - a 91-year-old steam engine that spent more than 40 years buried in mud.
The 1922 Glasgow-built steam engine known as the Taranaki Flyer needs a new home after the Taranaki Flyer Society shut up shop.
Now rusty and in pieces, the locomotive is being offered free to another society, as long as they pay for its removal, Taranaki Flyer Society member Neil Shotter said.
He has received several inquiries about the locomotive and has a group from Wellington coming up during the weekend to have a look.
Lack of funding and a drop in society membership meant the train had sat in the shed untouched for the last two years, he said.
The final straw came when the Stratford District Council decided to sell the building and told the society they had to be out by Christmas.
"It's very disappointing," Mr Shotter said of having to part with the Ab745.
The train started out hauling freight from Whanganui to New Plymouth. Occasionally it was used as a passenger train.
Then, one rainy night in July 1956, the Ab745 - carrying frozen meat from the Patea freezing works - derailed at a washout and toppled into a gully near Hawera.
The locomotive lay buried until November 2001, when it was dug up by train enthusiasts.
At first it was owned by members of the Hooterville Heritage Charitable Trust, which was based in Waitara.
The trust had plans to restore the old engine, but was wound up after losing money in an investment scam. The Taranaki Flyer Society also had big plans and spent $9000 sand-blasting and priming the boiler.
However, the project has proved too big and the best result would be for another group to take over.
It would be terrible if he had to give it away for parts, but the worst case scenario would see the Ab745 end up as scrap, Mr Shotter said.
"It's a shame its had to come to this."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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