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On the 24th of January 2020, steam locomotive 3801 reached a major milestone in its restoration. The locomotive, now with Transport Heritage NSW, lead a transfer train on the Southern Mainline from Chullora to Thirlmere.
3801 was the first of thirty 38 class locomotives built in 1943 by Clyde Engineering and has been in and out of preservation since its retirement from the New South Wales Government Railways in 1962.
The locomotive was withdrawn from service in 2007, as it required major boiler repairs.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 had the contract to build the new boiler.
The new boiler was completed and shipped to Australia in 2010 however a number of issues were identified with the new boiler, which meant it did not comply with 3801 or Australian Standards and was subsequently returned to Germany in 2011.
A decision was made in late 2014 to bring the new boiler back to Australia so that further works on it could be closely managed and overseen.
The new German built boiler arrived back in Australia in January 2015 and thorough inspections on both the new and original boiler were undertaken.
After weighing up the options, detailed work plans were developed to repair the original boiler to ensure it meet safety and operational requirements and used to return locomotive 3801 back to service in the shortest possible time frame.
Repairs to the original boiler were completed in Goulburn, Southern New South Wales, with the boiler returning to Chullora in July 2019. The boiler was then reunited with the locomotive and certified in October 2019.
For more information about the locomotive, please visit: