MARYBOROUGH'S Locomotive 299 is back in the custody of the Whistle Stop organisation, but it will be a while before it is up and running.

Vice President of the Whistle Stop organisation Warren McPherson confirmed the iconic steam train was back in the care of the group, after the Model Engineers and Live Steamers' Association handed over responsibility last Saturday.

MELSA said the group was "much better positioned to care for 299 as they already have in place the 'Museum' and QR status' required to cover her future.”

But Mr McPherson said the group needed to dispel rumours that the 299 would be up and running in a short period of time, with the group currently looking at preservation

"We have come up with a plan to make her more open to the public, but it's very expensive to get her back up and running at the moment,” he said.

"The money donated and raised is great, but it's not the $1 million needed to make the 299 run again.

"At this stage, funds are being put to use on preservation, including keeping her condition up to scratch.”

The current vision for the group involves putting the Loco 299 on show for local residents, primarily to generate interest in the Maryborough community and to utilise her in education programs.

"The initial vision we have is security, preservation and restoration; when we get to the stage of restoration, she will get a complete rebuild,” Mr McPherson said.

But he assured the community she wouldn't be going anywhere.

"She stays in Maryborough - that's the most important factor of the lot,” he reassured.



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