Never say members of the Komoka Railway Museum are idle do-nothings. Even before their last expansion in complete, they've taken another large step towards making their museum one of the best.
It's been just over a year since the museum took on the restoration of a 1913 Shay steam locomotive. They've constructed a new building to house it, and work on the engine itself has just begun.
It isn't finished. But it hasn't stopped the Komoka museum from moving a mothballed 70-ton Canadian National Railway baggage car to its Queen Street site.
The CN baggage car was almost lost to the museum, however. After sitting on a siding near Hamilton for months, it was scheduled to be sent to the Prairies for demolition.
Museum spokesperson Ron Davis says the quick action of several people allowed the museum to get the baggage car to Komoka. It hasn't been easy, but it's been worthwhile, he indicated.
The car had to be moved from the Komoka siding near the mill, across the township's former landfill site, and located on tracks at the museum. It wasn't a small task because the car is over 74 feet long and 70 tons in weight.
According to Mr. Davis, the acquisition will be a valuable one. It will free up space in both the original station and in the Shay building.
"We're going to start on the inside first," he said. "They used horsehide as insulation and we have to strip that, and the panelling, to get at the outside panelling."
Once this is completely restored, the front portion (closest to Queen St.) will be used as a mini-theatre for slide-shows. It is also to have television and video tape capabilities, he explained.
"The rear part of the car is going to be set aside for the musuem's model railway display. Currently in the front room of the station, it will be moved as soon as possible," Mr. Davis stated.
Once this is accomplished, the station's front room is to be converted into a library, resource, and souvenir centre. "We have material all over the station, this will allow us to bring it all together."
In addition, the office computer will be removed from the station office and relocated. "It doesn't fit the theme we're trying to create with the authenticity of the rest of the station."
"Nothing will suffer with the baggage car project," says Mr. Davis. It could have before, when the museum had just 15-20 members. The museum now has nearly 80 members, all divided in to various committees.
"The Shay restoration is not affected. The only delay has come from the illness of the committee chairman. We'll be working on the building this summer and work on the engine is to continue throughout the winter."
The Komoka Railway Museum hasn't been idle. It will also continue an active role in preserving railway history. Ron Davis and the rest of the museum's members will make sure of that.
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