NSW Rail Museum

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NSW Rail Museum
The New South Wales Rail Transport Museum.jpg
Buxton Station Locomotive.jpg
NSW Rail Museum is located in New South Wales
NSW Rail Museum
Location in New South Wales
Former name
  • New South Wales Rail Transport Museum
  • Trainworks
Established1962 (1962)
Location10 Barbour Road, Thirlmere, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates34°12′23″S 150°34′10″E / 34.2064°S 150.5695°E / -34.2064; 150.5695Coordinates: 34°12′23″S 150°34′10″E / 34.2064°S 150.5695°E / -34.2064; 150.5695
TypeRailway museum
Nearest car parkOn site

The NSW Rail Museum is the main railway museum in New South Wales, Australia. A division of Transport Heritage NSW, it was previously known as the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum (NSWRTM) and Trainworks.[1]

Transport Heritage NSW has divisions located in Thirlmere, New South Wales, where the NSW Rail Museum is dedicated to displaying locomotives, passenger cars, and freight rolling stock formerly operated by the New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) and various private operators. The Blue Mountains division is located at the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum. The collection features steam, diesel and electric locomotives and other rolling stock. A large proportion of the collection is owned by Transport for New South Wales.

  • At Thirlmere, the NSW Rail Museum operates steam heritage trains on the Picton – Mittagong railway line between Picton, Thirlmere and Buxton. It also hosts the Thirlmere Festival of Steam in March each year.
  • In addition to this, Transport Heritage NSW regularly operates mainline tours under the NSW Rail Museum branding. These can consist of day or extended tours, usually over a weekend.
  • At Valley Heights, the co-located Valley Heights Steam Tramway runs an 1890s steam tram and trailer, and a Stephenson loco 0-6-0 CPC2 (built in 1899) with open ended carriage over track in the former roundhouse and associated access tracks.[2]


3801 at Newcastle preparing to head south with a Newcastle Flyer special in 2007

The NSWRTM was established in October 1962 with 62 members. A survey of potential sites around Sydney found Enfield Locomotive Depot to be the most suitable and in 1963 a successful submission was made to the Department of Railways. Under the arrangement the department would retain ownership of the locomotives and rolling stock and responsibility for their maintenance. As Enfield depot was still active, exhibits were sent to Enfield for storage but not able to be accessed. In 1967 the Department made an area adjacent to Petersham station available to the museum. The first locomotives outshopped were 3526 and 3609 painted blue and green.[3]

In July 1969 the NSWRTM was able to move into Enfield Roundhouse Number 3 with all exhibits transferred by September. In 1970 the museum was able to relocate into the larger Roundhouse Number 1, allowing the majority of the collection to be stored undercover. In October 1972 the display at Enfield was officially opened by Commissioner for Railways, Neil McCusker.[3][4]

3820 as a static exhibit circa 1991

The NSWRTM had always maintained a good relationship with the Department of Railways, but in 1973 it was replaced by the Public Transport Commission. The PTC under Commissioner Philip Shirley decided it wanted all steam locomotives, including those owned by preservation organisations, off the network with 3820 operating the NSWRTM's last tour to Taree in 1974. The PTC also decided it wanted nothing to do with maintaining the NSWRTM's collection and handed over the exhibits to the museum under a Deed of Gift.[3]

The PTC also wanted to demolish the Enfield roundhouses to make way for a container terminal and offered the museum a site at Thirlmere on the then lightly used Picton – Mittagong loop line.[3] Site clearing began in late 1974 and works were sufficiently advanced for the transfer of stock to begin in June 1975. While some trains were hauled by diesel locomotives, most were worked by the museum's own steam locomotives.[5]

The NSWRTM opened at its current location in on 1 June 1976.[6] Services on the loop line between Thirlmere and Buxton began on 13 June 1976.[5] Initially uncovered, the first section of roofing was completed in 1979. It was over a decade before the whole site was covered.

The PTC relaxed its ban on main line steam in October 1976. 3801 returned to the main line. By the early 1980s it was operating enthusiast journeys on a regular basis including a monthly service from Sydney Central to Thirlmere.[3]

In 1984 the NSWRTM became a founding member of the 3801 Limited managerial board that was created to oversee the operation of the locomotive 3801. The famous British railway locomotive 4472 Flying Scotsman visited Thirlmere in March 1989 as part of its tour around Australia.[7]

In 1993 the museum concluded a lease for the 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) Picton – Buxton railway line following its closure by the State Rail Authority.[8]

The NSWRTM was removed as a board member of 3801 Limited in November 2006 after the 20-year lease of 3801 was not renewed. The locomotive was returned to the NSWRTM.[9]


In 2006 the Government of New South Wales endorsed the Sustainable Rail Heritage Asset Management Strategy to ensure the collection of the State’s rail heritage assets are maintained and conserved by dedicated volunteers and shared with the public for current and future generations to appreciate and enjoy. In 2007 RailCorp’s Office of Rail Heritage commissioned the development of a concept design for the NSWRTM’s upgrade. This saw ownership in the NSWRTM vested in Trainworks Limited, a 100% subsidiary of RailCorp.[10]

A major redevelopment saw the locomotive depot relocated to a roundhouse built at the southern end of the site opening in November 2009.[11] To create room for stage two of the development of the museum, some of the exhibits were moved to Broadmeadow and Goulburn in 2009. Work on stage two began in December 2009, which included demolition of the existing locomotive maintenance building, construction of a new major exhibits building and other works. The New South Wales Rail Transport Museum re-opened in April 2011.[12]


The museum has over 2,300 members, including an active volunteer workforce of over 400 and a small number of full-time staff.[4] It is administered by a voluntary Board and a Management Committee. The museum is accredited as a rail operator under the NSW Rail Safety Act 2002 meaning it has network access rights on the NSW main line rail network. It also has accreditation to operate in Victoria.[13]


In May 2013, the Minister for Transport announced Transport Heritage NSW, a new not-for-profit company, would be established to manage rail heritage in NSW following an independent review of rail heritage commissioned by the NSW Government. The new company will take responsibility for the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, Trainworks and RailCorp's Office of Rail Heritage.[14][15]

Museum exhibits[edit]

The Museum has an extensive collection of railway locomotives, carriages, wagons and other railway equipment from both the NSWGR and privately operated railways:

Steam Locomotives
No Description Manufacturer Year Location Status Ref
1021 0-4-0T saddle tank Manning Wardle 1896 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 1021
1033 2-4-0T passenger tank Beyer, Peacock and Company 1885 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 1033
1034 0-4-0T 4T crane Dübs and Company 1886 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 1034
1064 0-4-0 3T coal grab Alfred Harmon, Melbourne 1918 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 1064
1219 4-4-0 passenger Dübs and Company 1879 Broadmeadow stored Locomotive, Steam 1219
1301 4-4-2T passenger Beyer, Peacock and Company 1877 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 1301
1308 4-4-2T passenger Beyer, Peacock and Company 1877 Valley Heights parts only Locomotive, Steam 1307
1709 4-4-0 passenger Vulcan Foundry 1887 Thirlmere operational Locomotive, Steam 1709
1803 0-6-0T passenger Vulcan Foundry 1884 Thirlmere Thomas the Tank Engine Locomotive, Steam 1803
1905 0-6-0T goods Beyer, Peacock and Company 1877 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 1905
2029 2-6-4T passenger Eveleigh Railway Workshops 1911 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 2029
2419 2-6-0 goods Dübs and Company 1891 Goulburn Roundhouse static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 2419
2510 2-6-0 goods Beyer, Peacock and Company 1882 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 2510
2606 2-6-2ST mixed traffic Dübs and Company 1891 Broadmeadow stored Locomotive, Steam 2606
2705 2-6-0 mixed traffic Hunslet Engine Company 1913 Thirlmere operational Locomotive, Steam 2705
3001 4-6-0 mixed traffic Beyer, Peacock and Company 1903 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 3001
3137 4-6-4T passenger Eveleigh Railway Workshops 1916 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 3137
3203 4-6-0 passenger Beyer, Peacock and Company 1891 Broadmeadow stored Locomotive, Steam 3203
3214 4-6-0 passenger Beyer, Peacock and Company 1891 Valley Heights stored
3526 4-6-0 passenger Eveleigh Railway Workshops 1917 Thirlmere In service Locomotive, Steam 3526
3609 4-6-0 passenger Eveleigh Railway Workshops 1928 Thirlmere Stored Locomotive, Steam 3609
3616 4-6-0 passenger Eveleigh Railway Workshops 1928 Thirlmere Stored
3642 4-6-0 passenger Clyde Engineering 1926 Thirlmere Being Overhauled Locomotive, Steam 3642
3801 4-6-2 express passenger Clyde Engineering 1943 Thirlmere major overhaul Locomotive, Steam 3801
3820 4-6-2 express passenger Eveleigh Railway Workshops 1947 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 3820
5096 2-8-0 goods Clyde Engineering 1907 Broadmeadow stored Locomotive, Steam 5096
5461 2-8-0 goods Clyde Engineering 1915 Valley Heights static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 5461
5595 2-8-0 goods Clyde Engineering 1912 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 5595
5711 4-8-2 goods Clyde Engineering 1929 Valley Heights static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 5711
5908 2-8-2 goods Baldwin Locomotive Works 1952 Goulburn Roundhouse static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 5908
5910 2-8-2 goods Baldwin Locomotive Works 1952 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 5910
5916 2-8-2 goods Baldwin Locomotive Works 1952 Goulburn Roundhouse sectioning proposed
6040 4-8-4+4-8-4 goods Beyer, Peacock and Company 1956 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 6040
18 0-6-0 mixed traffic Robert Stephenson and Company 1865 Thirlmere static exhibit
78 0-4-2 mixed traffic Eveleigh Railway Workshops 1877 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 78
PWD 79 0-6-0 Saddle Tank Hunslet Engine Company 1938 Thirlmere static exhibit Locomotive, Steam PWD79
20N 0-6-0 ST mixed traffic Kitson and Company 1870 Newcastle Museum static exhibit long-term loan .[16]
Jack 0-4-0T Krauss-Maffei 1908 Lake Macquarie Light Rail operational leased[17]

Other Locomotives[edit]

  • 40 Class diesel locomotive 4001 (operational)
  • 41 Class diesel locomotive 4102 (Broadmeadow)
  • 42 Class diesel locomotive 4201 (repair completed to traction motors at Maintrain as of 2017) (operational)
  • 43 Class diesel locomotive 4306 (operational-stored awaiting repairs)
  • 44 Class diesel locomotives 4403 and 4490 (operational)
  • 442 Class diesel locomotive 44211 (operational limited duties)
  • 45 Class diesel locomotive 4520 (needing repairs)(operation)
  • 46 Class electric locomotive 4601 (Valley Heights), 4638 (Broadmeadow)
  • 48 Class diesel locomotive 4803 and 4807 (operational)
  • 49 Class diesel locomotive 4916 (under restoration and repair )
  • 71 Class electric locomotive 7100 (Broadmeadow)
  • 73 Class diesel hydraulic locomotive 7350 (operational) (Broadmeadow)
  • 86 Class electric locomotive 8646
  • X200 Class diesel hydraulic locomotive X206 (operational) (Valley Heights)
  • D1 (operational)
  • CPH 18 (operational)
  • RM 623/723 (under restoration at Goulburn) on loan to Lithgow State Mine
  • 3016 and CPH 27 (operational) (on loan from former ARHS ACT division due to luquidation)
  • 6029 (operational)
  • 3830 (on loan to nsw rail museum)(under restoration)
  • 3265(operation)(just had restoration on steam trials) owed by power house museum (on loan to Nsw rail museum)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bennett, David (January 2017). "Introducing the NSW Rail Museum Brand". Roundhouse. Vol. 54 no. 1.
  2. ^ "Tram 103a at Valley Heights Steam Tramway". Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The New South Wales Rail Transport Museum; The First Thirty Years" Roundhouse January 1994; page 4
  4. ^ a b "About The NSW Rail Transport Museum". Archived from the original on 22 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Museum on the Move" Roundhouse July 1976 page 5
  6. ^ Geier, Matthew (1996). "New South Wales Rail Transport Museum". Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Gala Day 1989" Roundhouse April 1989 page 28
  8. ^ "Rail Transport Museum Set to Lease Loop Line" Railway Digest August 1993 page 316
  9. ^ 3801 Limited RTM Mail February 2006
  10. ^ Annual Report 2010/11 RailCorp 30 June 2011
  11. ^ Upgrade Evolution Trainworks
  12. ^ "Museum Development Upgrade Information". NSW Rail Transport Museum. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  13. ^ Accredited Rail Operators Transport Safety Victoria
  14. ^ Fixing the trains: A fresh start for Rail Heritage Transport for NSW 17 May 2013
  15. ^ Rail Heritage Review - All Aboard! A fresh start for Transport Heritage in NSW Transport for NSW 17 May 2013
  16. ^ "Steam engine returns to Newcastle". www.theherald.com.au. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Jack". lmlr. Retrieved 9 January 2014.

External links[edit]