New South Wales C38 class locomotive
3801 on a Newcastle Flyer charter in October 2005
The C38 class was a class of steam locomotives built for the New South Wales Government Railways in Australia.
Built between January 1943 and November 1949, the 30 locomotives in the class were designed to haul express trains. They were the only New South Wales locomotives to use the popular Pacific 4-6-2 wheel arrangement and were the last steam locomotives built for passenger train operation, all subsequent deliveries being specifically for freight haulage.
The 38 class were first conceived in the 1930s being heavily influenced by American and other streamlined locomotives of the time. The NSWGR needed a locomotive to eliminate the complications of doubleheading required on a number of fast interstate passenger trains.
The design team was headed by Harold Young, the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the NSWGR. The conditions of trackwork with frequent sharp curvature to be traversed at high speed would require six-coupled driving wheels in a 'Pacific' 4-6-2 configuration. Maintenance considerations suggested a two-cylinder simple steam locomotive.
The design was carried out by the NSWGR Locomotive Section of the Design Office and incorporated the latest developments in locomotive design from Australia and overseas. The incorporation of as many Australian manufactured components as possible was a requirement at the design stage.
In May 1939 an order for five 38 class locomotives was placed with Clyde Engineering. They suffered many delays during construction, mostly due to resource shortages caused by World War II. The first five locomotives were built by Clyde Engineering and had distinctive streamlined boiler casing. The remaining 25 locomotives were built at the New South Wales Government Railways' Eveleigh Railway Workshops (13 even number locomotives) and Cardiff Locomotive Workshops (12 odd numbered locomotives).
The Clyde Engineering built examples were delivered in wartime grey. Following the cessation of the war, all were repainted green as were the 25 unstreamlined locomotives from new. All except 3813 were repainted black in the 1950s.
Among the services they initially hauled were the Central West Express, Newcastle Flyer, Melbourne Limited, Riverina Express and South Coast Daylight Express as well as the overnight mail trains. Because of their axleload they were confined to operating between Port Kembla, Albury, Dubbo and Maitland.
Following the arrival of the 42, 43 and 44 class diesel locomotives in the 1950s, these began to take over but the 38 class continued to haul many. After the electrification of the Main Western line to Lithgow in 1957 and the Main North line to Gosford in January 1960 the 46 class electrics took over but the 38s still operated the Central West Express between Lithgow and Orange into the 1960s and the Newcastle Flyer between Gosford and Newcastle until December 1970.
They also began to haul lesser passenger and freight trains. In April 1962 3830 and 3813 hauled the inaugural standard gauge Spirit of Progress from Albury to Sydney. The first was withdrawn in 1961 with the last withdrawn in December 1970.
In August 1970, 3801 hauled the Western Endeavour to Perth following the completion of the standard gauge Trans-Australian Railway with 3813 assisting as far as Port Pirie. In April 1988, 3801 again operated to Perth during the Australian Bicentenary.
3801 featured in the 1974 short film A Steam Train Passes.
|Locomotive||Builder||Builder's No||Built||In Service||Withdrawn|
|3801||Clyde Engineering||463||Dec 1942||22 Jan 1943||19 Oct 1965|
|3802||Clyde Engineering||464||Mar 1943||08 Apr 1943||31 Jan 1967|
|3803||Clyde Engineering||465||Aug 1943||09 Sep 1943||29 Feb 1968|
|3804||Clyde Engineering||466||Jan 1944||10 Feb 1944||29 Oct 1965|
|3805||Clyde Engineering||467||Feb 1945||02 Mar 1945||Dec 1961|
|3806||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||158||1945||1967|
|3807||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||159||1946||28 Sep 1968|
|3808||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||160||1946||1968|
|3809||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||161||1946||1969|
|3810||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||162||1946||1969|
|3811||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||163||1946||1969|
|3812||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||164||1946||1965|
|3813||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||165||1946||12 Sep 1970|
|3814||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||166||1946||1966|
|3815||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||167||1947||1967|
|3816||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||168||1947||1966|
|3817||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||169||1947||1963|
|3818||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||170||1947||1968|
|3819||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||171||1947||1963|
|3820||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||172||1947||29 Dec 1970|
|3821||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||173||1948||1962|
|3822||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||174||1947||1970|
|3823||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||175||1948||1967|
|3824||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||176||1948||1969|
|3825||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||177||1948||1969|
|3826||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||178||1948||1961|
|3827||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||179||1948||1970|
|3828||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||180||1949||1969|
|3829||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||181||1949||1966|
|3830||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||182||1949||1967|
|Preserved C38 Class Locomotives|
|3801||4-6-2 express passenger||Clyde Engineering||1943||Transport Heritage NSW||Thirlmere||under overhaul||NSW Heritage Register Locomotive, Steam 3801|
|3813||4-6-2 express passenger||Cardiff Locomotive Workshops||1946||Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum||Dorrigo||Dismantled|
|3820||4-6-2 express passenger||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||1947||Transport Heritage NSW||Thirlmere||static exhibit||NSW Heritage Register Locomotive, Steam 3820|
|3830||4-6-2 express passenger||Eveleigh Railway Workshops||1949||Powerhouse Museum||Thirlmere||under overhaul||Powerhouse Museum Locomotive 3830|
- "Some Notes on the C38 Class 4-6-2 Locomotive" Young, Harold Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin December 2003 pp443-463
- The C38 Class, John. B. Thompson pp3 'Why the 38's'
- "The 38 Class Part 3" Roundhouse July 1981 page 22
- Flyer. Sydney: New South Wales Rail Transport Museum. 1970. pp. 35–40. ISBN 0-909862-16-8.
- Grunbach, Alex (1989). A Compendium of New South Wales Steam Locomotives. Sydney: Australian Railway Historical Society, NSW Division. pp. 210–229. ISBN 0 909650 27 6.
- Oberg, Leon (1984). Locomotives of Australia 1850's - 1980's. Frenchs Forest: Reed Books. pp. 168–170. ISBN 0 730100 05 7.
- Preston, Ron G (1992). 3801 A Legend in Steam. 3801 Limited. ISBN 0-646-11931-1.
- "3801 West" Railway Digest July 1988 page 250
Media related to New South Wales C38 class locomotives at Wikimedia Commons