Port Alberni Vancouver Island - The Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society (WVIIHS) of Port Alberni has received a $10,000 donation to help with the preservation of an historic locomotive.
The donation from the B.C. Railway Historical Association (BCRHA) will go toward moving Locomotive 112 from Port McNeill to Port Alberni.
"It was unexpected," said IHS member David Hooper.
"Robert Turner, a member of the B.C. Railway Historical Association, informed us of their donation. We will be using it to move the No. 112 Baldwin here and will be able to preserve it thanks to these guys."
Coming from Port McNeill, the locomotive is of the same manufacturer and similar appearance as the working No. 7 that is used on regular runs in Port Alberni.
Its fate would have been the scrap yard, but the primary goal of the WVIIHS is its preservation.
The No. 112 was built in 1923 and was used by Canfor in the Nimpkish Valley for hauling log trains, the same job as the No. 7, so its similarity to local history is of importance to the members.
"First we were after the No. 113 in Woss, which worked at Camp 1 in the Alberni Valley from the 1930s to 1950s. We wanted it because of its history here, and had the funding lined up, but there was no unanimous support and it became a political hot potato."
Instead, the No. 112 was available and offered by its owner, Western Forest Products.
When the recent funding was offered, it made it that much more feasible to bring it to its new home in Port Alberni.
The challenge has been its size, which has to be reduced before it can be moved.
The money and work toward that has already been put to use.
Last weekend, a crew of WVIIHS volunteers started removing the cab and taking off the one-tonne air compressor, exterior piping, and air tanks, so it will fit under the bridge overpasses on the way to Vancouver Island.
Currently the parts are being stored in the heritage centre and roundhouse, where the complete locomotive will be kept.
The WVIIHS has no immediate plans for restoration of the vintage locomotive as it takes even more time and money.
Receiving the donation gave the WVIIHS volunteers a boost of confidence in the work they are doing, said Hooper.
"The BCRHA recognizes that we are people who look after things and preserve history," he said.
"Our equipment is a tourist attraction and having this loco as a backup for parts is like insurance. With this donation, it isn't costing us."
Hooper is unsure when the No. 112 will arrive in Port Alberni, but said the members are willing to show it to anyone who wants to see it when it is here.