The Western Development Museum is searching for a brass bell, stolen from a steam locomotive at the Moose Jaw location late last week.
The museum suspects that a thief climbed the barb wire fence into the secure compound on Thursday or Friday, removed the brackets and stole the heavy, solid brass bell. It’s one foot tall with a red clapper and sat atop the Vulcan, the only operating steam locomotive in Saskatchewan.
“It’s a wonderful piece of Saskatchewan history. It’s just shocked us and saddened us that someone would think that this would be something to steal,” said Education and Public Programs Coordinator Karla Rasmussen.
She’s not sure how many of these type of bells are in existence and the museum may have to find a replica or have one created, which won’t come cheap.
“We really hope that the original will turn up. Maybe someone will have a change of heart and it will show up on our doorstep,” said Rasmussen.
The Vulcan locomotive was built in 1914 and was originally used at coal mines in Alberta. It worked its way to Saskatchewan after being used at sodium sulphate mines in Alaska and in the Old Wives Lake area before the Western Development Museum acquired it in the early 1950’s. It was restored as it sat in storage and was rolled out in the 1970’s, providing rides ever since. The Vulcan was relaunched in June on the short line track in Moose Jaw after it was taken off for two years.
While the train runs most weekends, the theft of the bell is unfortunate timing for the museum. It plans to showcase the locomotive during its Blow Off Some Steam event on Saturday.
Rasmussen said police are investigating the theft.