How to move something that weighs over 100 tons 75 feet sideways and then about 1800 miles to Halifax, Canada – over twice the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats? So that then all you need to do is to ship it across the Atlantic.
That’s the challenge Andrew Goodman of heavy haulage specialists Moveright International has been dealt, on behalf of our museum and the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA – where A4 No. 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower has been residing since 1964.
When Andrew and his team had managed to move Dwight D Eisenhower, all they had to do was to move on to Montreal to pick up Mallard’s other overseas brother, 60010 Dominion of Canada, and move that to Halifax for onward shipment to Liverpool.
The whole Dwight D Eisenhower move finally got underway when US customs released Moveright’s box of tricks – a large container shipped from the West Midlands complete with loading ramp, jacks, chains and so on. (The ramp had been built back home in four days – it usually takes a month). On 19 July, this container arrived in amongst the ‘Cheeseheads’ (as fans of the Green Bay Packers refer to themselves – Wisconsin has a large dairy industry and supplies a lot of US cheese).
The ‘box of tricks’ was followed by the flat wagon with rails on top to transport the loco, This came from Central Canada (so, no distance in relative terms!). Then there was the small matter of going sideways 75 feet, which took about eight hours. At one stage this left the venerable A4 looking like it was piloting the US ‘Big Boy’ (if there’s such a game as ‘Fantasy Train Operations’, then that surely is a must).
Once that was done, and the ramp assembled, ‘Not A Problem’ Goodman merely had to have some substantial wheel chocks welded onto the rails on the wagon. This and a lot of chains meant that the North American rail system, not famous for its delicate handling of goods, delivered 60008 to Halifax in good order on Saturday 18 August.
Then it was a case of getting the transporter wagon and loading ramp to the Canadian Railway Museum in Montreal from Halifax – a mere 775 miles – so that 60010 Dominion of Canada could follow Dwight to the port for onward shipment, which is planned for 10 September.
Given Andrew’s long experience of moving locomotives in the UK and overseas, he had built in a good margin of time in case of problems, although the North American rail system and US customs had managed to take up a lot of the slack.
If the 2008 ‘Great Reunion’ – when four A4s were together for the first time since the 1960s – was a must see event, this ‘even greater reunion’ will make our celebrations of Mallard’s speed record even more of a reason to travel to York. After all, wherever you live in the UK. the journey will be a lot less than two of the main exhibits have taken to get to the party!