Winnipeg Manitoba - The Canadian National Railway (CN) has historically been a significant employer of Transcona residents.
My grandfather, father, other relatives and friends worked there.
I have fond memories growing up with the CN Shops as a neighbour.
Each noon the whistle would blow, signalling me home for lunch.
After we moved to South Side, we'd walk through the main thoroughfare of the yard, crossing many tracks, sometimes running to beat a moving train.
For fun, we'd put coins on the track and wait for the trains to drive over them, producing flattened treasures.
I understand why pedestrian traffic is no longer allowed.
Like many Transcona residents, we are proud of our train heritage, and that pride is why the Transcona Museum took ownership of Locomotive CN 2747 in 2015.
CN 2747 was the first steam engine built in Western Canada, in the Transcona CNR shops in 1926.
The shops built 32 more steam engines up to 1938, and CN 2747 was in service for 34 years.
Upon its retirement, CN donated CN 2747 to the Kiwanis Club.
It was brought to its new home on Plessis Road, Kiwanis Park (now Rotary Heritage Park) in 1960.
To get it there, a temporary track was built from the main line.
Some 57 years later, the engine is in need of some tender loving care.
Weather and vandalism have contributed to its decline.
The Transcona Museum is working to restore this beauty and preserve it for future generations.
On 30 Jun 2017, Wyatt Dowling Insurance Brokers at Plessis Road and Devonshire Drive hosted a fundraising hotdog lunch to support the restoration of CN 2747.
For every donation, they contributed an equal amount.
At the lunch I spoke with Jack Toet, chair of the 2747 committee, and Peter Martin, president of the museum.
They explained the engine needs a variety of repairs, sandblasting and repainting, metal re-fabrication, replacing rotting wood, and more.
They said they would love to find the bronze signboard that was on the front of the engine but which has since gone missing.
They'd also like to build a covered structure and install better lighting.
In conjunction with the fundraiser, museum staff were at the park to open the gates and allow the public in for a closer look at CN 2747.
It was a neat opportunity to see the engine without the obstruction of the chain link fence that surrounds it.
The engine and tender (where coal was stored) are an impressive 14 feet high and 69 feet long.
The museum has contracted GP Heritage Consulting to conduct a condition assessment of the engine.
Its report will provide a breakdown of all the restoration needs and estimated project costs.
There are no known photos of 2747 in operation.
If you have any, or know of anybody with a story about CN 2747, Transcona Museum would love to hear from you.
The museum is also looking for people to help with the restoration process, and of course monetary donations are needed.
Contact them at www.transconaMuseum.mb.ca.