Conservation Management Plan for Eveleigh Railway Workshops (Large Erecting Shop)Steam Locomotive 3526Werris Creek Station
Office of Rail Heritage – Projects

Conservation skills

3801 locomotive overhaul

The Project: Historic steam locomotive 3801 is undergoing a major overhaul so that the locomotive can continue to operate. The overhaul is being managed by 3801's custodian and operator, the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum (NSWRTM).
  • The mechanical overhaul is being managed by 3801's custodian and operator, the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum (NSWRTM).

  • The locomotive frame and running equipment are being overhauled by a team of volunteers at Chullora.

  • The tender tank has been overhauled by apprentices at the Hunter Valley Training Company's V-Tec site at Maitland.

  • The overhaul of the bogies, valve and cylinder liners in the main cylinders was undertaken by a Ainsworth Engineering Group [link -] at Goulburn.

  • Dampflokwerk Meiningen, part of Deutsche Bahn AG, won the contract with RailCorp to design and manufacture the replacement boiler for 3801

Current status: For more information on this project see the NSWRTM's site

  • June 2013: Rectification work is continuing in  Deutsche Bahn’s (DB) Meiningen workshop on the 3801 boiler rectification process and stay welding. RailCorp’s engineer’s representative is scheduled to visit in July to confirm that the barrel and stay welding is continuing to be undertaken in accordance with the design and welding procedures; that they have been mounted correctly in preparation for final welding; that the boiler remains the correct dimensions and all work will be acceptable for Australian WorkCover certified boiler inspectors. A further and final visit will be to witness the hydrostatic testing. 

    The project is currently on schedule for the boiler to return to Australia in 2013, and the locomotive to return to service in late 2014.

  • March 2013: Deutsche Bahn (DB) has advised RailCorp of a milestone in the 3801 boiler rectification process with delivery of the conical boiler courses from its German subcontractor to its Meiningen workshop. While DB has reported some recent delay due to the impact of a seasonal flu epidemic, work on the stays is continuing.

  • January 2013 Boiler rectification work is continuing in Germany.
    DB is having a new tapered boiler barrel manufactured.

    RailCorp is closely monitoring rectification progress with DB through regular communication and periodic inspections. The process of ensuring the new boiler barrel meets the required technical standards has taken longer than originally expected and the boiler is now expected to return to Australia by the end of 2013.

    Meantime, at Chullora in Sydney, the volunteer team managed by the NSW Rail Transport Museum (the custodian and operator) is continuing an extensive mechanical overhaul.

    When the boiler arrives from Germany NSW Rail Transport Museum will then fit it into its frame, fit a digital radio and painting the locomotive before passenger operations recommence.

Background: Locomotive 3801, introduced to service in 1943, is the sole surviving example of the five streamlined Class 38 'Pacifics' that were followed by 25 'non-streamlined' examples, of which 3820, also in RTM's custody, and the Powerhouse Museum's 3830 are the only other remaining intact examples.

The C38s were the ultimate development of express steam locomotion on the NSWGR and became the principal motive power for most major express passenger trains across the State. They worked under the highest operating pressure of any steam locomotive in the country and allowed for the introduction of heavy air-conditioned expresses, leading to new levels of service and comfort after World War II. 3801 itself travelled over 2,090,000 km until it was withdrawn from service in 1962.

Updated June 2013


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