Museum's memorial to rail

RAIL MEMORIAL: Museum president Peter Knight with the locomotive 850 and grain hopper donated by GWA.
RAIL MEMORIAL: Museum president Peter Knight with the locomotive 850 and grain hopper donated by GWA.

A locomotive 850 and bulk grain hopper, given to the Port Lincoln Railway Museum by Genesee and Wyoming Australia (GWA), will be used by the museum as a way to book end the region's railway history.

Museum president Peter Knife said the 850 locomotive, which came to Eyre Peninsula in March 1962, was historic because it was the first diesel-electric loco on Eyre Peninsula and was also the first narrow gauge diesel-electric on the South Australian railways.

The locomotive spent its entire working life hauling grain, gypsum and general freight trains on Eyre Peninsula.

"It was one of the locos which brought the final grain train into Port Lincoln on May 31," Mr Knife said.

The donated grain hopper was also significant because it was built in Adelaide specifically for Eyre Peninsula.

Mr Knife said bulk grain hopper HAN3 which will go on display with loco 850, entered service at Port Lincoln in September in 1969.

He said the museum approached GWA a number of years ago about getting the possibility of getting the loco 850 but at the time it was still in service.

The locomotive and hoppers will be craned to the railway line closest to the museum but as the building is heritage listed is not able to be displayed directly out the front.

Mr Knife said the museum were also fundraising to build shelter over the train so it was still visible but protected from the weather and vandalism.

"It will be a real memorial to the role the railway has played on Eyre Peninsula," Mr Knife said.

"The 850 and HAN3 (bulk grain hopper) provide a permanent reminder of the importance of rail to the agriculture industry on Eyre Peninsula - they illustrate half a century of grain haulage to the ports of Port Lincoln and Thevenard."

To donate towards the display visit www.eprps.org.au/going-loco.html.