The original plan for the restoration of Locomotive 6167 in Guelph, Ontario as approved by Guelph City Council in 2002 specified that the locomotive was to have a protective fence built around it. After a six-year long restoration beginning in 2008, which saw the locomotive meticulously restored by a small group of volunteers, at a cost to the City of Guelph of $350,000 Guelph Museums recently decided that no fence will be constructed around the locomotive, in effect leaving the locomotive, now on display at its new location on Farquhar St., "fenceless and defenceless."
The locomotive is on display at the dimly lit end of a dead end street located in a rough part of town, near the heart of the city's bar and nightclub district, which also has a noticeable homeless population.
Guelph Museums feels that no fence gives "best access" to the locomotive, but in the process makes the locomotive vulnerable to countless acts of theft, graffiti and vandalism.
This also makes the locomotive a public safety hazard. At 15.5' tall, were someone to climb up the locomotive, a fall from that height would result in serious or fatal injury. In the event of an injury or death, the city would be liable. The locomotive also becomes an irresistible "attractive nuisance" who may be tempted to play on or next to the locomotive, oblivious to countless sharp edges and to cut themselves and fittings to sustain head injuries on. The City of Guelph must exercise due diligence in order to prevent personal injury.
The museum states that a fence is really only a "psychological" barrier, yet a psychological barrier is probably better then no barrier at all. On the other hand a psychological barrier, paired with adequate lighting and security cameras may do a considerable amount to deter unlawful activity at the site, verses no fence, no cameras and poor lighting.
Furthermore, there have already been numerous incidents of vandalism in the immediate area this year alone. The site was tagged shortly after our temporary construction fence was taken down, AND the locomotive has already been tagged once before, in 2010, shortly after it was moved to the new site.
The Museum's other claim is that a fence impedes the ability of photographers to take pictures of the locomotive. I have photographed the locomotive on numerous occasions at the old site, with its 6ft chainlink fence and it did not obscure the locomotive at all.
At 15.5 feet tall, a 6ft fence would not even cover the top of the wheels! Leaving 9.5 feet of the locomotive visible.
Even the Civic Museum and McCrae House have specified hours of operation, and are even closed to the public on certain days of the week. As the "Third Site" of Guelph Museums, why should it be treated any differently? The locomotive is an historic artifact and NOT a piece of playground equipment and should be treated as such.
I have included photos of the old and new site below.
In The News
A Note Of Thanks To The Restoration Committee
Mayor Karen Farbridge's Blog, July 8, 2014
Museum Going Big
Guelph Tribune, July 24, 2014
Love Helped Restore Locomotive 6167
Guelph Mercury, August 4, 2014
Locomotive Restoration All For Naught
Guelph Tribune, August 5, 2014
Volunteer Calling For Action To Protect Locomotive 6167
Guelph Mercury, August 23, 2014
CNR 6167 News - 2014
Railway Preservation News - Interchange Forum
Locomotive 6167 Circa 2007 with fence
Locomotive 6167 Circa 2014 without fence, but with guards on all ladders
Locomotive 6167 Circa 2014 showing ladder guards on front of locomotive
Locomotive 6167 Circa 2014 showing ladder guards on cab and tender of locomotive
Locomotive 6167 Circa 2014 showing ladder guards on tender of locomotive