Maitland will say goodbye to seven of its historic steam engines to a private collector in Dorrigo with the deal meeting final approval from the Heritage Council of NSW.
A leaked letter from the Heritage Council, addressed to the new owner Keith Jones, reveals consent to load the Class 10 engines on trucks for transport up the coast to a proposed rail museum.
The letter ends speculation the deal – for an undisclosed sum – could fall through and leave Maitland man Chris Richards without a buyer.
The transfer will take place in stages starting with two dismantled engines.
The Heritage Council will require a complete inventory of all items related to the Class 10 locomotives before they are transported.
Under the NSW Heritage Act 1977, failure to comply with the conditions of the approval could leave Mr Jones facing a fine of $1.1 million, six months imprisonment, or both.
Two of the engines, which lie dismantled, will undergo conservation treatment as soon as they arrive, in line with Mr Jones’ plans for a future museum and his application to the Heritage Council.
The Heritage Council has stipulated that Mr Jones use vegetable oil to coat and preserve all parts exposed to the weather.
Photographic evidence and written confirmation of the conservation measures are required within three months of their arrival at Dorrigo.
The Heritage Council will require Mr Jones to build a shelter for the first two engines within two years.
Mr Jones will also have to build shelters for the remaining five engines before they are moved.
“To ensure these the conditions of the determination are complied with, the Heritage Division will maintain contact with the owner of the locomotives to monitor the conservation of the items and the progress of the shelter construction,” a NSW Office of Environment and Heritage spokeswoman said.
The Class 10 engines were used to haul coal out of the Cessnock and Kurri Kurri coal fields to port at Newcastle for much of the 20th century.