It’s just about impossible to make it through Westfield Heritage Village in Rockton without basking in the splendour of the TH&B Locomotive 103. The hulking locomotive serves as an enduring reminder of the engineering genius of the steam power era. Many are familiar with its story, having made it to Westfield by way of Gage Park and nearly succumbing to age, weather and rust at least a half-dozen times. While the locomotive is no longer in any serious danger, the upkeep is a constant labour of love.
In recent years, Westfield’s “TH&B 103 Restoration Crew” has worked to maintain the locomotive, install an air compressor for the whistle, and finish off the Cab’s gauges. What lies ahead, however, is a serious effort to restore the locomotive’s tender. The tender is a car that sits behind the locomotive and carries the coal and water necessary to produce steam in the locomotive’s boiler and power the engine. As the coal and water stored in the tender powered this mighty locomotive along the TH&B tracks, it would be refilled at key points as needed.
The Locomotive 103 tender is a patchwork of welded metal in various states of disrepair. While volunteers continue to work with their welding equipment to keep the tender’s water tank and floor together, their efforts will soon need to be replaced by some heavy steel fabrication work. The Friends of Westfield volunteer organization has set a target of $30,000 to restore the tender to its past glory.
“The Friends are very excited to support the tender restoration and hope to complete it in time for Westfield’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in June 2014. The restored tender would complete the locomotive restoration and be a permanent reminder of the Friends ongoing support of Westfield,” said Lloyd Bailey, Friends of Westfield fundraising chair and Foundation board member. With such repairs, the locomotive as a whole will be available to people young and old seeking to explore Canada’s rich railway history for years to come.