GARRATT FOR A DOLLAR
The story of Canberra Railway Museum begins in 1975 with the arrival of Beyer-Garratt locomotive 6029, which had been purchased for display at the National Museum of Australia. However, upon arriving in Canberra, it was decided the loco was no good to the museum, and so after discussions with Bruce MacDonald, it was sold to the fledgling railway museum for the grand total of $1!
After a lot of negotiation, the museum set up shop in the old goods shed, and began restoring 6029 and acquiring various other carriages and locomotives. But it would all need to be stored somewhere. Commonwealth Railways were approached and a lease was struck for an oddly-shaped patch of land wedged between their sprawling new goods yard, and a private rail depot. The first building to arrive was the main visitors’ centre, donated from the construction site at the National Gallery and arriving in 1982.
Sidings were laid progressively throughout the site, and the carriage shed was erected to protect restoration projects.
6029 and 3102 were the mainstay motive power, with the Garratt making history in 1980 as the first of its kind to travel interstate, visiting Melbourne on an excursion. Unfortunately, boiler wear forced it into retirement in 1981. 3102 was taken out of service in 1987, but 3016 was restored instead.