Where is best place for In­victa en­gine?

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Letters And Opinion -

I would like to sup­port Ms Pahl’s sug­ges­tion that the In­victa en­gine should be sited at Can­ter­bury West sta­tion [Let’s not lose our lo­co­mo­tive’, Gazette, Jan 18].

There is a large block of con­crete si­t­u­ated be­tween The Goods Shed and the main line which is some­thing of an eye­sore.

The rail com­pany will not re­move it be­cause it is needed, as a safety stop, to pre­vent trains us­ing the Goods Shed sid­ing from leav­ing the track.

It would be very cheap to clad it in brick or stone to pro­vide a plinth for the In­victa en­gine, which could be en­closed in glass to pre­vent de­te­ri­o­ra­tion.

I am sorry to dis­agree with that doughty cham­pion of Can­ter­bury’s in­ter­ests Jan Pahl, but I can­not sup­port her view that mov­ing the In­victa to Whit­stable means los­ing our city’s his­toric lo­co­mo­tive.

Can­ter­bury, Whit­stable, Herne Bay and the Bridge-blean vil­lages were united into a sin­gle dis­trict in 1974. It makes no bet­ter sense to treat Can­ter­bury and Whit­stable as poles apart than it does for Bri­tain to lose the place in the Euro­pean Union it has en­joyed since 1973. Sadly, though, some grump­ies do sup­port such non­senses.

The In­victa in re­tire­ment should unite Can­ter­bury and Whit­stable, just as it was once the en­gine of the much-loved Crab & Win­kle line which linked them his­tor­i­cally. Both have an in­ter­est in pro­mot­ing pub­lic aware­ness of that pi­o­neer­ing route, and es­pe­cially of the de­vel­op­ment of Whit­stable Har­bour in or­der to serve Can­ter­bury.

I re­call vividly how, when my fa­ther drove me to Can­ter­bury as a boy, the sight of the In­victa stand­ing by the Rid­ing Gate in­spired my in­ter­est in lo­cal his­tory; al­though it has been bet­ter pro­tected from the el­e­ments in the Stour Street Mu­seum, it is a pity that it has made it ef­fec­tively invisible to peo­ple com­ing to Can­ter­bury for ev­ery­day pur­poses.

The In­victa has to be kept un­der cover; but please can it be vis­i­ble (through glass, lit up in the evening) all the time? It should be along­side the Crab & Win­kle line, but whether that is Can­ter­bury West Sta­tion or Whit­stable Har­bour is sec­ondary. It could go to whichever of their own­ers can of­fer the best, see-into build­ing to house it.

Bet­ter, if both can of­fer a suit­able home, then it should be moved be­tween them ev­ery 10 years, start­ing in 2030, the 200th an­niver­sary of the open­ing of the line. The cer­e­mony of mov­ing the his­toric en­gine by road could pull in rail­way-lov­ing tourists from around the world. And as Can­ter­bury has it now, Whit­stable Har­bour should have it for the first 10-year pe­riod Michael Steed, Ford­wich Road, Sturry

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