Irreplaceable historical artifacts tracing Canberra's history – including carriages that took men off to two world wars - will next month go under the hammer and be lost.
The firesale will quell creditors of the Canberra Railway Museum, but concerned citizens warn the losses cannot be calculated in financial terms.
Despite concerns, the liquidator said great efforts had gone into preventing a number of "prime assets" going under the hammer.
One former volunteer has called on the Canberra community to rally in a bid to save the precious history before the selloff.
The Canberra Railway Museum shut its doors in November after its freight company – started to subsidise popular but expensive heritage train trips – collapsed, leaving more than $700,000 in debt.
It is understood about $100,000 is owed to employees, while $170,000 needs to be paid to the Australian Tax Office.
Before its closure, the museum – which is home to Australia's oldest and largest steam locomotives - had operated from the Kingston site for 34 years.
Deloitte was called in to sort out the financial mess and plans to sell-off a number of historical items to pay off creditors.
Forty items have been already listed online at the auctioneer's webpage, including 100-year-old carriages, a historic crane, and other items.
Former Australian Railways Historical Society ACT branch member John Davenport said that among the items were carriages that transported men from their homes to two world wars, and then brought the wounded home again.
"Many … families would have enjoyed vintage trains trips from Canberra over many years on trains operated by the volunteers of the Australian Railways Historical Society ACT branch," Mr Davenport said.
"All these services have ceased and some of the assets of the society are to be sold off by the liquidator to recover the debts the society owes to creditors.
"The alarming thing is that it appears that next month, many of the historic carriages will be sold off on site at Kingston to the highest bidder and these historic vehicles can never be replaced, once they leave Canberra."
Deloitte Financial Advisory restructuring services partner Eddie Senatore said the objective had been "to keep as much as possible open and operating".
"To say we're selling assets without regard to the heritage values is incorrect," he said.
"We recognise it's an important community organisation to maintain that and we're trying to protect as much [stock] as possible, but we need to balance that with creditors rights.
"The prime assets have been quarantined, stock with greater historical significance."
Mr Davenport urged Canberrans to write to politicians and The Canberra Times letters page with constructive ideas before the selloff.
"We would all like to once again have a Railway Museum in Canberra and to ride behind a steam engine in historic carriages on a Sunday excursion to Bungendore and beyond.
"What can the ACT government and the citizens of Canberra do to achieve this?"
A spokesperson for Environment and Heritage Minister Mick Gentleman said the government would not supply a last-minute rescue package to prevent a selloff.
"Many of the debts are commercially related and it is not the role of government to assume responsibility for commercial debts," the spokesperson said.
"The liquidator has a formal role to fulfil in managing the affairs of the organisation, and we need to allow that process to proceed."
The spokesperson said the ACT government had worked with the Australian Railway Historical Society ACT division to help them through a number of issues.
"We understand the liquidator is focussed on retaining enough of a collection to enable a new organisation to be established and to continue sharing the history of rail in this region.
"The ACT government will not be purchasing any rolling stock from the liquidation sale, but understands the historical significance these objects have to the Canberra region.
"As such, we have been working with the museum member representatives and the liquidator to identify the best way to support such a new organisation."