Locomotive, Steam 3801 | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Locomotive, Steam 3801

Item details

Name of item: Locomotive, Steam 3801
Type of item: Movable / Collection
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Locomotives & Rolling Stock
Primary address: Thirlmere Railway Precinct, Thirlmere, NSW 2572
Local govt. area: Wollondilly
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Thirlmere Railway PrecinctThirlmereWollondilly  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Locomotive 3801 has significance as the class leader of a very important class of locomotive on the NSWGR, and the ultimate development of the express passenger steam locomotive. The 38 Class had the highest boiler pressure of any locomotive in Australia and the first in NSW to be equipped with roller bearings. The design represented an advancement of the one-piece cast-steel frame by incorporating the cylinders, main air reservoir, and even the bracket for mounting the air compressor. The class is significant as it illustrates the increase in locomotive power and the improvements in passenger services in the post-World War 2 period. Locomotive 3801 is historically significant as the first steam train to cross Australia from east to west, and for its role at the head of the Bicentennial Train, reaching every mainland capital. It has a distinctive and attractive steam-lined form influenced by contemporary overseas designs from the late 1930s in Britain and the USA, as part of a promotional strategy to make train travel seem modern and fast. Locomotive 3801 has a high level of social significance. In ‘preservation', Locomotive 3801 has particular significance to the NSW rail preservation community and to the population generally, through its use on rail tours since the mid 1960s and, following its overhaul in 1983-86, its subsequent lease to 3801 Limited. The 38 Class made extensive use of a number of technical improvements and innovations developed on earlier engines for performance enhancement and reliability. Locomotive 3801 also has the potential to reveal information about the practice of streamlining. Technically, and apart from the streamlined nose and cowling, it has all the features of the class including the 25 non-streamlined locomotives. It is also representative of a high-technology mid 20th Century express passenger locomotive, in use up to the introduction of diesel-electric power.
Date significance updated: 13 Nov 09
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Harold Young, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the NSWGR and others
Builder/Maker: Clyde Engineering Pty Ltd, Granville NSW
Physical description: EXTERNAL
3801 is a two-cylinder simple, non-condensing, superheated, ‘Pacific’ 4-6-2 express passenger steam locomotive. The boiler has been clad in conventional metal sheeting, with the addition of fairing plates and a casing over the boiler top centreline which conceals the chimney, steam dome and other boiler mountings. The smokebox features a bullet-like nose-cone with a central light. The locomotive has an enclosed cab of similar style to other NSWR designs dating from 1929. It is currently painted green, with yellow lining, and features a Waratah above the central light on the smokebox door. It has standard NSWR ‘contractors’ style chromed cab-side road numbers, with numbers painted in white on the front buffer beam and in yellow on the rear of the tender in normal NSWGR fashion.

MECHANICAL
The locomotive is of conventional configuration, with two outside cylinders supplied with superheated steam via piston valves in steam chests above the cylinders, actuated by outside Walschaert valve gear. The locomotive has a cast steel frame monolithically cast with the two cylinders and smoke box saddle. The locomotive features the 4-6-2 or ‘Pacific’ wheel arrangement, and was the only NSWGR design to use this wheel arrangement.

The boiler is of riveted construction, fitted with a Belpaire firebox and fired through a Franklin air-operated fire door. It has a squat steam dome and a very short fabricated steel chimney, much shorter than that fitted to the NSWGR 36 Class and earlier classes. The cab, the boiler diameter and mountings such as chimney and steam dome are all sized so as to exploit the NSW loading gauge to the maximum.

The 4-6-2 wheel arrangement allows a configuration which places the firebox above the trailing axle, thus allowing a much wider firebox than the earlier classic 4-6-0 wheel arrangement widely used for passenger locomotives up to that time. This wide firebox design allowed a larger and more efficient firegrate, and so the boiler could be designed to provide what was considered to be the maximum power that could be generated by manual firing. The engine is coal-fired by hand from a large bogie tender of the usual (for the time) riveted construction. The locomotive has 5’9" diameter driving wheels, allowing a nominal design speed of approx. 110 km/h while providing reasonably high tractive effort to cope with the heavy grades found on NSW main lines. The driving wheels are of the cast Boxpok design, while the leading bogie and trailing truck wheels are of a disc pattern. Extensive use has been made of roller bearings for the main axle bearings, the crank pin and rod linkages being fitted with bushes.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Operational Status: Undergoing Restoration
General Condition: Good Condition
External Condition: Good Condition
Internal Condition: Good Condition

Locomotive 3801 is currently undergoing a major restoration involving replacement of the boiler. A new condition report should be provided following the completion of this work and the return of the locomotive to operational condition.
Date condition updated:21 Sep 09
Modifications and dates: early 1943 - built by the Clyde Engineering Company at their Granville plant, as works number 463
22 January 1943 - entered service
1943 - 1965 - six boiler changes.
1965 - boiler failure and withdrawal
1966 - major overhaul by RTM
1970 - A transition-type auto-coupler was fitted at the front
1986 - overhauled by the Hunter Valley Training Company and other contractors with the assistance of the State Rail Authority at the former New South Wales Shipbuilding and Engineering Undertaking (State Dockyard) in Newcastle
During the restoration in the mid 1980s significant changes to the fabric of the locomotive occurred. At this time the complete tender body, bunker and tank were newly fabricated being all welded, not riveted as in the original construction. A new all-welded fabricated inner firebox was fitted as part of this restoration, leading to boiler de-rating to 215 lb psi.

Various modifications were made to bearings and bushes on class members during their service life. However no major changes have been recorded during service life to significantly change the nature of the locomotive. The paint scheme has alternated over the years between various shades of green lined in yellow and black lined in red, and also to a wartime grey colour.
Current use: NSW Government Railways Collection
Former use: Pacific Class Locomotive

History

Historical notes: Locomotive 3801 was built by the Clyde Engineering Company at their Granville plant, as works number 463. Built to the design of the Department of Railways, the locomotive was completed in early 1943 and entered service on 22 January 1943. The class leader, 3801 emerged with a streamlined casing, one of five built by Clyde and delivered in this form.

The 38 class were intended to replace the smaller C36 class on interstate and other express services. The class immediately took over the Newcastle and other important expresses and ran these with a phenomenal degree of success until supplanted by diesels and electric traction in 1970. The class eliminated the wasteful and expensive practice of double-heading passenger trains, though some services, namely the Melbourne expresses, still required assistance due to heavy loadings.
During the course of a long service career the locomotive received six boiler changes, the most of any in the class. Following boiler failure and withdrawal in 1965, the RTM paid for a major overhaul in 1966 which saw it return to service, both revenue and on tours. Following withdrawal from general service 3801 was involved in a number of tours and civic celebrations, notably including the Western Endeavour, the first steam train to cross Australia from east to west. This activity ceased with the advent of the Public Transport Commission, resulting in a ban on steam being imposed in 1974. The locomotive was then displayed and operated on tour trains by the NSW Rail Transport Museum, firstly at Enfield and then, following the transfer of the Museum, at Thirlmere. Locomotive 3801 assisted with the move in 1975, and tours were run from Thirlmere from 1975 to 1976. In 1986 the engine was overhauled by the Hunter Valley Training Company and other contractors with the assistance of the State Rail Authority at the former New South Wales Shipbuilding and Engineering Undertaking (State Dockyard) in Newcastle. The locomotive was then used to haul tour trains under the management of 3801 Ltd, an operating company with representation from a number of entities including State Rail, the RTM, the ARHS and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. In 1988 as part of the celebration of Australia's bicentenary, 3801 headed the Bicentennial Train, reaching every mainland capital, including Perth again. It also double-headed with 'Flying Scotsman' in 1989 during its visit to Australia.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Shaping inland settlements-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Railway work culture-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Utilising timber for railway purposes-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Transporting coal and minerals-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Remembering railway accidents-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Railway celebrations and commemorations-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Servicing and accommodating railway employees-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Manufacturing defence equipment and munitions-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Locomotive 3801 has historical significance as the class leader of a very important class of locomotive on the NSWGR, and the ultimate development of the express passenger steam locomotive. The class is significant as it illustrates the increase in locomotive power and the improvements in passenger services in the post-World War 2 period. On introduction, the 38 Class became the principal motive power for all major expresses, until later displaced by diesel-electric power, finishing their days on goods trains. Locomotive 3801 is historically significant as the first steam train to cross Australia from east to west, and for its role at the head of the Bicentennial Train, reaching every mainland capital.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Locomotive 3801 has special associations with a number of events of significance including being part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations in 1988, where it headed the Bicentennial Train, reaching every mainland capital, including Perth. It also double-headed with the 'Flying Scotsman' in 1989 during its visit to Australia.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Locomotive 3801 has aesthetic significance for its distinctive and attractive steam-lined form influenced by contemporary overseas designs from the late 1930s in Britain and the USA, as part of a promotional strategy to make train travel seem modern and fast. The ‘streamlined’ 38s were clearly patterned on US designs, in particular the 1937 New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad’s I-5 4 6 4 design, as distinct from the British LNER A4 (eg Mallard) of 1935 or the 1939 LMS ‘Duchess’ Class streamlined designs. With its large diameter boiler with wide firebox, the result was an imposing locomotive. Earlier NSWGR designs had generally followed more mainstream English trends with tall chimneys and domes whereas the 38 Class had a very squat chimney and dome to enable the boiler to be built to the limits of the loading gauge. The cab design bore a strong family resemblance to the 57 Class cab, later carried on with the rebuilt 35 Class, the rebuilt 36 Class and the 58 Class.

Locomotive 3801 has technical significance as an excellent example of the 38 Class with the highest boiler pressure of any locomotive in Australia and the first in NSW to be equipped with roller bearings. The design represented an advancement of the one-piece cast-steel frame (introduced to NSW in 1929 with the 57 Class) by incorporating the cylinders, main air reservoir, and even the bracket for mounting the air compressor. The class also represents the culmination of the development of the steam locomotive in Australia. The 38 class made extensive use of a number of technical improvements and innovations developed on earlier engines for performance enhancement and reliability. The end result was a class of locomotive with unparalleled performance and availability, right up to the end of the steam era.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Locomotive 3801 has a high level of social significance. In ‘preservation', Locomotive 3801 has particular significance to the NSW rail preservation community and to the population generally, through its use on rail tours since the mid 1960s and, following its overhaul in 1983-86, its subsequent lease to 3801 Limited. The class has always had special appeal to railway enthusiasts, and Locomotive 3801 has considerable significance to the members of the NSWRTM, who preserved, maintained and operated it following its withdrawal from revenue service, contributed towards its overhaul in 1966, and subsequently contributed to its overhaul in 1983-86. The locomotive has social significance associated with its role in 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations, where it headed the Bicentennial Train, reaching every mainland capital, including Perth again. It also double-headed with the 'Flying Scotsman' in 1989 during its visit to Australia.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Locomotive 3801 has a high level of research significance as it represents the culmination of the development of the steam locomotive in Australia. The 38 made extensive use of a number of technical improvements and innovations developed on earlier engines for performance enhancement and reliability. Locomotive 3801 also has the potential to reveal information about the practice of streamlining.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Locomotive 3801 is rare as it is one of only 3 survivors (4 including 3813) of a highly significant class of locomotive, and is the only remaining streamlined example of the class.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Locomotive 3801 is an excellent representative example of the five members of class built as ‘streamliners.’ Technically, and apart from the streamlined nose and cowling, it has all the features of the class including the 25 non-streamlined locomotives. It is also representative of a high-technology mid 20th Century express passenger locomotive, in use up to the introduction of diesel-electric power.
Integrity/Intactness: Locomotive 3801 has a moderate/high level of integrity and intactness. The locomotive is intact and retains those aspects from which the above criteria of significance arise. However it has been subject to major restoration work in preservation, including substantial intervention to its fabric.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
SRA Heritage Rolling Stock Stage 2b Heritage Assessments2000 David Sheedy Pty Ltd Architects and Heritage ConsultantsSteven Adams Yes
S170 Rolling Stock Review2009 NSW Department of Commerce  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDavid Sheedy Architects Pty Ltd2007NSWRTM Rolling Stock Condition Reports, Part 2
WrittenGrunbach, A1989A Compendium of New South Wales Steam Locomotives
WrittenRTM2006Locomotive, steam 3801CMP
WrittenThompson, J.B199238- The C38 Pacific Locomotives of the NSWGR

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4807230


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