The Way Forward for Two Much Loved Steam Locomotives
11 September, 2015
Two iconic 38-Class locomotives will return to steam over the next two years following an
announcement today outlining the way forward for locomotives 3801 and 3830.
“Returning these historic locomotives to service is a major engineering, conservation and
operational task, demonstrating our commitment to the community benefit of our steam
heritage,” said Transport Heritage NSW CEO, Andrew Killingsworth.
“Built in the 1940s, both locomotives were the pinnacle of the NSW Railways steam fleet
and are a lasting tribute to Australian engineering at the time.”
“Steam trains remind us of a romantic era of rail travel – today they are the star attraction
at our community events across Sydney and regional NSW.”
Management of the 3801 project was transferred to Transport Heritage NSW (THNSW)
in February 2015 after the locomotive’s new boiler was returned to Australia.
“As the new project managers, we undertook a thorough assessment of the 3801
overhaul project including both the original boiler and the new German made boiler.
“Now this assessment is complete, we are pleased to announce plans to have
locomotive 3801 back on the tracks in the second half of 2017.”
“We are also delighted to be announcing a new partnership with the Museum of Applied
Arts & Sciences (MAAS) that will see locomotive 3830 returned to heritage service in the
second half of next year.”
This new partnership between THNSW and MAAS will see THNSW provide significant
funding to overhaul locomotive 3830 at Thirlmere whilst respecting the conservation
imperatives of MAAS.
“The Museum looks forward to working with Transport Heritage NSW to balance the
ongoing care and preservation of this important locomotive with opportunities for the
people of NSW to experience the wonder of steam travel,” said MAAS Director, Rose
A new project page has been established to provide regular updates as well as
information on the planned works to restore locomotive 3801 at the THNSW website:
Locomotive 3801 was built in 1943 by Clyde Engineering and has been in preservation
since its retirement from the NSW Railways in 1962.
The locomotive was withdrawn from heritage service in 2007, as it required major boiler
repairs. It was decided at the time a brand new boiler would be built for the locomotive. A
German manufacturer won the contract to build the new boiler through an open,international tender process.
The new boiler was shipped to Australia in 2010. A number of technical issues were
identified with the new boiler which meant it did not comply with Australian Standards. It
was returned to Germany in 2011.
A decision was made in late 2014 by a steering committee with representatives from
THNSW and Transport for NSW to bring the new boiler to Australia so that further works
on the new boiler could be more closely managed and overseen.
The new boiler arrived back in Australia in January 2015 and THNSW specialists have
since conducted thorough inspections on both the new boiler and the original boiler,
which was removed from locomotive 3801 in 2007.
After weighing up the options, detailed work plans have now been developed to repair
the original boiler to ensure it meets safety and operational requirements and is able to
be used to return locomotive 3801 back to service in the shortest possible timeframe.
Once locomotive 3801 returns to service, the German made boiler will also be brought to
Australian Standards for certification so that a spare boiler will be available to keep
locomotive 3801 in service into the future.
Locomotive 3801 is expected to return to heritage service in the second half of 2017.
Locomotive 3830 & the THNSW / MAAS Partnership
Locomotive 3830 was built in 1949 by the NSW Railways at Eveleigh and has been in
preservation since its retirement from operational service in 1967. Owned by the
Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, the locomotive was restored by the Museum and
used for heritage services between 1997 and 2009.
The current boiler in Locomotive 3830 is the first 38-class boiler ever built. Completed in
1941, the boiler is nearly 75 years old and needs attention to the firebox crown sheet,
tube plate and replacement of crown stays, tubes and flues.
All of this work will be performed at THNSW Thirlmere Workshop using a novel repair
approach that doesn’t require the removal of the locomotive’s boiler from the locomotive
Locomotive 3830 is expected to return to heritage service in the second half of 2016.
The THNSW / MAAS partnership also includes the MAAS owned locomotive 3265.
Further details regarding this locomotive’s operating future will be provided following a
Frequently Asked Questions about 3801 Project here.
Background to 3801 Project here.
Download the PDF version of this media release here.