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Carbonear to bid ‘farewell’ to locomotive 803

By Mark Squibb/November 25, 2022

One of Carbonear’s most iconic landmarks is heading to the scrapyard.

Canadian National Railway Locomotive 803 has sat the on the train track outside the Town Hall for as long as anyone can remember, a relic of the bygone days when the railway was the quickest ways to bring goods to and from Harbour Grace and the capital city.

Over the decades, the train has fallen further and further into disarray, going the way of bellbottoms and vinyl records. But unlike those other staples of eras past, the 803 never made a comeback.

Judging restoration costs to be too high a burden on taxpayers, council, back in 2019, requested expressions of interest “including but not limited to suggestions and ideas for restoring the locomotive, repurposing the locomotive, other organizations outside the Town of Carbonear that may have an interest in the locomotive and any ideas that can be considered by Council before making a final decision on Locomotive 803.”

That request appears to have run out of track as the Town has made the decision to scrap the car.

Councillor Ray Noel brought forward the motion on behalf of the Recreation, Special Events, Culture and Tourism committee during this week’s public meeting.

“Whereas the Town has exhausted all efforts to maintain the train, and whereas, the condition of the train has become a safety concern, be it resolved to approve removal of the train by an approved metal recycling company,” read Noel. “I would like to add, Mr. Mayor, that there have been discussions with the Heritage Society about this, and we’ve exhausted all means. Unfortunately, it has come to this. But this being a safety concern, we all know that it has to be a high priority, so therefore the committee suggests this motion, and we feel strongly about this motion.”

Deputy Mayor Sam Slade second the motion, which passed unanimously without any further discussion.

There was no indication of when the landmark will be removed.

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