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Should City of Truro steam again?

Stuffed and Mounted?

Last year I asked the NRM to say whether it was true that the money that was going into the bottomless pit that is 4472 would prevent City of Truro from being overhauled after it suffered boiler problems last year.  They said that this was definitely NOT the case and that Truro was going to be re-tubed for its final year and that money was available for this.

I was surprise, therefore, to hear from them that Truro has been withdrawn with tube problems and that it will now be a static exhibit for an unspecified period of time.  They said:

“It is highly unlikely that City of Truro will return to steam. As the locomotive reputed to have been the first to reach 100 mph, its place at the heart of the National Collection and as a historic artefact we have an obligation to preserve it for the long term benefit of the public.  Therefore, we have agreed that we should withdraw it with dignity now and turn our attention to conserving it and making it ready for public display.” (email received today)

They further said that, “If we continue to overhaul the locomotive it compromises its integrity as a historic artefact and as the first reputed to reach 100 mph our curators feel we have an obligation to preserve it.”

In my reply I have said the following, “Compared with other locos in the national collection, Truro’s integrity as a historic artefact is already compromised. It was withdrawn in 1931 by which time it had been rebuilt in a number of respects that make it quite substantially NOT the locomotive that famously (and arguably!) did 102.3 mph in 1904.

Additionally, it was first restored to traffic in 1958, I think, so it has been working as a museum piece for over 50 years, longer than it was in traffic on the GWR.  That makes its preserved status almost as important as its record breaking historical status, in my view, so you could argue that it should be overhauled and restored to traffic precisely in order to preserve its historical integrity as a travelling ambassador for the NRM and GWR!  …  I am fairly sure that the enthusiast community could and may well be willing to fund money for Truro’s overhaul.”

Helpfully, I have been given a phone number to discuss this issue so I shall do this and let everyone know what ensues.  However, I do think the GWR community should be proactive about this and decide what they want so I shall arrange another poll to gauge opinion in the next couple of days.

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