The Curzon Story (6 of 13)
The Canadian Museum of Rail Travel Acquires the "Curzon"

As noted, the Bartels had used the car carefully as a family "heirloom", just as any cabinet or piece of furniture might become. When they were contacted as to the possibility of giving it up, they were hesitant and needed time to think about it. Garry Anderson again went to Wisconsin in 1990 to inspect the car more closely and speak directly with the Bartels. Again Francis and Dorothy Weiner assisted. Finally, in late 1990, the Bartels agreed to part with the car, as they felt their family could not hope to maintain the fragile artifact indefinitely.

A purchase price was arrived at by considering the replacement cost of about 800 square feet of space (the same as the railcar), with modern zoning, sewer, water and set-back regulations in place that would make any new building more difficult and expensive than it was in the 1930's.

Cultural Property status attained for Curzon

Garry Anderson then went about the final process of seeing if the car could be designated as "Canadian Cultural Property" by the Federal Cultural Property Review Board due to its significance to Canada. Several reasons were put forth to support its designation in the fairly lengthy application process.

Funding the move of Curzon to Canada

This process lasted nearly a year, but the Board finally designated the Curzon as cultural property based on the support of two qualified appraisers who agreed with the price determination method. This paved the way for a 80% purchase price assistance from the Review Board. This still left 20% of the purchase price, plus extra legal, insurance, financing, and transportation costs for the museum to arrange. The total project cost was about $190,000 to get the Curzon (and another car — x1413 — with the wheels and underframe) to Cranbrook. This figure did not include any restoration, that was to be additional once the car arrived in Cranbrook. Some museums, such as the Railway Museum at Green Bay were also contacted, to ensure that no local museums were interested in the car.

Thanks to an existing provincial government sharing program ("GO B.C."), $60,000 was allotted for the move. The balance was the responsibility of the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel through it "Friends of the Museum" (supported by Bingo). If the costs had been much greater, it might not have been possible for the museum to have covered its share.

This was apparently the first time that an artifact of this size had been "repatriated" to Canada, therefore separate contracts for the moving, security, legal, and technical, etc., were all made as comprehensive as possible to cover any eventuality.