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Locomotive number 3522 located on Main Street in Bienfait - Date unknown Photographer unknown.
1 June 2017
The Effort Continues
to Restore Bienfait Locomotive


Bienfait Saskatchewan - Locomotive number 3522 continues to stand proudly in Bienfait, providing a look to the history of coal mining in the southeast.
 
But years of exposure to the elements necessitated some repairs and renovations for the retired steam engine.
 
The locomotive is among those featured in "The Locomotives of Bienfait", a documentary that profiles three steam engines that were used in the mining industry in southeast Saskatchewan.
 
And a Go Fund Me campaign has been started by Heather MacKenzie, who co-produced the project with her husband, William Fraser.
 
Fraser also directed the documentary.
 
"Locomotive 3522 resides at the end of Main Street in the town of Bienfait, Saskatchewan," Mackenzie wrote for the Go Fund Me page.
 
"Built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1907, she finished her working life hauling coal trains in the Bienfait area in 1965. She was one of the last commercially operated steam locomotives in Canada. Now, she's a memorial to miners who worked the coal fields from the turn of the 20th century."
 
Locomotive 3522 has been on display for 48 years, and is in need of repairs, stripping, and paint, MacKenzie said.
 
The campaign has raised $2,815, as of Monday morning.
 
Fraser and MacKenzie set a goal of $10,000.
 
"I think it will go a long way to fixing it up," said Fraser.
 
There was a very good initial response to the campaign when it was launched following the movie's premiere at the Orpheum Theatre in November, and donations continued to come in for a while.
 
Then they tapered off.
 
Fraser noted they received some donations recently in memory of the late John Yakomovich and Louis Belanger, two people from the Estevan area who shared their memories about the locomotives and the mining industry for the film.
 
"Some donations were made in their memory to the Go Fund Me campaign, and also to the Town of Bienfait," said Fraser.
 
"Luckily they were able to make it to the film premiere in November. We watched it together, and it was a great experience. We feel fortunate that they were able to see the film. The feedback I got was that they really enjoyed it, and felt as though they made a significant contribution."
 
Belanger was a fireman on those locomotives and was the last known crew member for Locomotive 3522, while Yakomovich grew up in Taylorton, which was one of the mining camps spotlighted in the picture.
 
Once the renovation on Locomotive 3522 begins, Fraser is hopeful some businesses in Estevan will donate materials or expertise towards the project.
 
Fraser and MacKenzie have promoted the fund raising, but they will leave decisions on how to proceed with the renovation up to the town.
 
Fraser said they have been speaking with the Orpheum Theatre about showing the movie at the theatre in late June or early July.
 
It would also be a fund raiser for the restoration project in Bienfait.
 
"We're looking at it as the wrap-up of our fund raising efforts," said Fraser.
 
"We'd like to bring that total up if we could, and once that's over, we're going to turn the money over to the Town of Bienfait."
 
DVDs will also be available at the showing.
 
Admission will be free, but Fraser said they will be accepting donations towards the restoration of Locomotive 3522.
 
Locomotives of Bienfait continues to receive positive feedback, Fraser said.
 
They have been selling DVDs online and in a few stores.
 
"We're really happy with the way it turned out, and people's response to it," said Fraser.
 
The documentary not only profiles the history of the locomotives, but offers a study into the history of mining in the area.
 
Fraser believes the documentary provides a good look into the small mining camps and villages that used to be part of the southeast landscape.
 
David Willberg.

Quoted under the provisions in Section 29
of the Canadian Copyright Modernization Act.
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