3801 Limited

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
3801 Limited
not for profit
Founded June 1985
Headquarters Eveleigh Railway Workshops
Products Heritage railway operator
Website www.3801limited.com.au

3801 Limited is a not for profit company limited by guarantee formed in June 1985 to operate steam locomotive 3801 and its associated rolling stock.


3801 under restoration at the State Dockyard

The setting up of an organisation to manage and operate locomotive 3801 was first formalised in March 1984 when Professor John Glastonbury, representing the interested enthusiast societies, and the State Rail Authority exchanged correspondence.

At first, four parties were involved. The State Rail Authority had two roles, the first as donor of the locomotive and other equipment and the second as a trustee. In effect, 3801 would continue to be the property of the State Rail Authority and it would be leased to the trust. Three other organisations were nominated as trustees; the Powerhouse Museum, the Australian Railway Historical Society (New South Wales Division) and the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum.[1]

At that time, the restoration of locomotive 3801 was nearing completion at the former State Dockyard site in Newcastle. Out of trade apprentices worked on this restoration for over a three-year period under the direction of the Hunter Valley Training Company. One of the first assignments undertaken by the company was to raise funds to pay for the restoration and other expenses. Its stated aim was "to exhibit with pride and enthusiasm to the people of NSW the masterful preservation of a piece of their Locomotive History ... as a living, mobile, historical work".

During the restoration, the company organised regular tours of inspection at the State Dockyard.[2]

3801 enters service[edit]

3801 hauls the Bicentennial Train through Wodonga, Victoria in October 1988

In November 1986 3801 returned to service and operated as the flagship of 3801 Limited for the next 20 years.[3] In 1988 3801 and its train became the Bicentennial Train and operated tours to all the mainland capitals as part of the nation's 200 year celebrations.[4] In the latter part of 1988 and much of 1989, Flying Scotsman joined 3801 Limited and ran many very successful tours around New South Wales and beyond.[5] In excess of 500,000 passengers were carried by the company during this 20-year period.[6]

3801 departs[edit]

At the conclusion of the 20-year lease covering the operation of locomotive 3801, the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum decided not to offer a renewal with 3801 departing in November 2006.[6][7]


To provide an operational base for 3801 Limited, the State Rail Authority granted a licence to occupy the Large Erecting Shop at Eveleigh Railway Workshops.[8] This remains the company’s operating base.

The Cockatoo Run[edit]

SMR18, affectionly known as "Bob", departs Moss Vale with the Cockatoo Run in September 1997

As a result of the NSW Department of Transport seeking expressions of interest to take over the weekends only passenger service on the Unanderra to Moss Vale line as a tourist operation, 3801 Limited commenced the Cockatoo Run heritage tourist train on 19 August 1995.[9][10] Initially the train operated from a base established in the Port Kembla Locomotive Depot Complex. Steam locomotive SMR18 was leased by 3801 Limited from the Hunter Valley Training Company for the service. To enable the locomotive to haul a train from Port Kembla to Moss Vale and return with one load of coal, the coal bunker was modified.

Financial difficulties led to the suspension of the Cockatoo Run from November 1998 until March 1999, after which date the train ran between Port Kembla and Robertson only.[11][12] Furthermore, it was diesel hauled and ran for nine months of the year.[13]

3801 Limited vacated the Port Kembla Depot on 30 March 2001 and all rolling stock and equipment was relocated to Eveleigh. The Cockatoo Run was merged with another of the company's operations, the Long Lunch Train, from 4 March 2001[14] and this service currently operates from Sydney via Wollongong, Robertson, and Moss Vale on selected Thursdays and Sundays with heritage diesel locomotives.[15] It has on occasions operated with steam locomotives from the Lachlan Valley Railway and Powerhouse Museum.[16]

In March 2008 a new major tourist attraction, the Illawarra Tree Top Fly opened at Knight’s Hill near Robertson. Since that date, 3801 Limited has marketed a Tree Top Flyer ticket that includes train trip to Robertson, coach transfer to the Fly and entry.[17]

Bill Peach Tours[edit]

In the early 2000s, 3801 Limited entered into an association with Bill Peach Tours, under the name Railcruising Australia, operating 8-day train trips to western New South Wales. These tours are no longer promoted.[18]

Current operations[edit]

As well as the regular operation of the Cockatoo Run, 3801 Limited remains an operator of chartered passenger trains and "hook and pull" work for RailCorp and others, using its diesel locomotive fleet.

Current locomotive fleet[edit]

4908 at Wagga Wagga in June 2006

44 Class[edit]

Built between 1957 and 1968 by AE Goodwin for express passenger and freight train haulage these are the most regularly used locomotives in the 3801 Limited fleet being capable of hauling large trains at mainline speeds. 4401 is a member of RailCorp's heritage collection[19] while 4464, 4473 and 4486 are hired to 3801 Limited by the Lachlan Alco Locomotive Group.

45 Class[edit]

Built in 1962 by AE Goodwin for main line passenger and freight train haulage this class of locomotive is renowned for its heavy haulage ability. An extensive restoration of 4501 was completed in 2007 and the locomotive is now being employed on heritage and commercial duties. 4501 is hired to 3801 Limited by Goodwin Alco Pty Ltd.[20]

48 Class[edit]

Built in 1961 by AE Goodwin for branch line passenger and freight train haulage this class of locomotive is capable of running on all NSW rail lines. 4833 has previously been a regular performer on the Cockatoo Run but has been more recently hired out for shunting duties with other groups. 4833 is hired to 3801 Limited by Goodwin Alco Pty Ltd.[20]

49 Class[edit]

Built between 1962 and 1964 by Clyde Engineering for branch line passenger and freight train haulage this class of locomotive is capable of running on all NSW rail lines. 4918 is a regular performer on the Cockatoo Run but is also used for mainline tours. 4918 is owned by 3801 Limited. It also owned 4908 until this was sold in July 2007.[21]


  1. ^ "3801 to Recapture Past Glory" Railway Digest May 1984 page 138
  2. ^ Preston, Ron (1992), 3801 - A Legend in Steam, 3801 Limited, ISBN 0-646119-31-1 
  3. ^ "Re-Commissioning 3801" Railway Digest January 1987 page 30
  4. ^ Gogarty, Tony; Preston, Ron (1990), A Diary of the Bicentennial Train, Eveleigh Press Matraville NSW, ISBN 0-646-00505-7 
  5. ^ Flying Scotsman's Australian Visit O'Neill, Shane Australian Railway History Society, August 2008 pp265-272
  6. ^ a b Annual Report June 2007 3801 Limited
  7. ^ "RTM Mail February 2006". 3801 Limited. Archived from the original on 29 Oct 2013. 
  8. ^ About Us 3801 Limited
  9. ^ Annual Report June 1996 3801 Limited
  10. ^ "3801 Ltd's Illawarra Tourist Railway Commences" Railway Digest September 1995 page 6
  11. ^ "Cockatoo Run to Cease in November" Railway Digest October 1998 page 9
  12. ^ "Cockatoo Run relaunch Next Month" Railway Digest February 1999 page 9
  13. ^ Annual Report June 1999 3801 Limited
  14. ^ Annual Report June 2001 3801 Limited
  15. ^ The Cockatoo Run 3801 Limited
  16. ^ More Steam Returns to 3801 Limited 3801 Limited Newsletter March 2009
  17. ^ Illawarra Fly 3801 Limited
  18. ^ Annual Report June 2004 3801 Limited
  19. ^ 4401 Railcorp Heritage Register
  20. ^ a b Rollingstock Goodwin Alco
  21. ^ Extracts from the 3801 Limited Annual Report 3801 Limited Newsletter October 2008