The start of repair work on the Royal Hudson took a major step forward with the approval of a generous grant from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WEDC) in April.
The grant, which will be used towards materials and labour, will help put the classic steam locomotive back into serviceable condition.
According to Don Evans from the West Coast Railway Association, the grant will enable the WCRA to start the manufacture of parts needed for the repairs to #2860's boiler.
"We will start the repairs once we have completed the two major projects currently under way - the excursion train locomotives and cars for the North Coast Explorer and our Day out with Thomas train event," said Evans.
Combined with private donations of more than $40,000, the West Coast Railway Heritage Park (WCRHP) has now managed to raise over $150,000 of their $500,000 goal towards the Royal Hudson Preservation Fund.
"We're definitely looking forward to raising the other $350,000," said Evans. "Having 25 per cent of the total funding now in place enables us to more effectively leverage other donors to help us with this major project."
The WEDC grant allows the process of extending contracts to tradespeople to start to manufacture the necessary parts for the Hudson's boilermaker.
"With the Hudson, you don't just order parts off the shelf - everything has to be custom made," Evans said.
All of the work on the Hudson will be undertaken by a trained boilermaker and locomotive mechanics on site at the WCRHP.