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Locomotive generates new revenue for Fort Steele

Steam train at Fort Steele — photo courtesy Trek Earth.

National historic site Fort Steele is getting a $160,000 boost from the sale of a Scottish locomotive that is returning to the United Kingdom. 

Proceeds from the sale, supported by the Friends of Fort Steele Society, will be invested back into Fort Steele Heritage Town, located 16 kilometres northeast of Cranbrook, strengthening tourism in the region.

By agreeing to sell the Dunrobin locomotive to the Beamish Museum in the UK, the steam engine is returning to a place where it will attain greater historical significance, said Margaret MacDiarmid, minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment.

In March 2010, the Beamish Museum in northeast England offered to purchase the Dunrobin and its parlour car, and to bear the costs of shipping and insurance.

The locomotive was brought to British Columbia in 1965 by a businessman intending to start a private museum. Instead he sold it to the B.C. government for $15,000. It has been at Fort Steele since 1967 and in recent years has been inoperable.

“The sale of the locomotive will provide funds to restore equipment, including our No. 1077 locomotive, that is more representative of B.C.’s heritage,” said Laura Williams, CEO of the Friends of Fort Steele Society.  

Fort Steele is one of 11 provincial heritage properties open to the public and is operated and managed by the Friends of Fort Steele Society in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment.

In 2009, over 81,000 people visited Fort Steele Heritage Town. More information about Fort Steele can be found at http://www.fortsteele.ca/.