We are packing – Can you help?

As part of their response to the “Fresh Start” report, Transport for NSW have committed to relaunching the Large Erecting Shop (LES) at Eveleigh (our home for the last 30 years) as an open access, multiuser running shed for any and all heritage operators to use. We look forward to using the new facility along side other heritage rail operators, with whom we share our passion and work with on a regular basis to support each other.

So that the LES can be assessed by an engineering team and the much needed works completed, we need to pack up as much of our property as we can so that we can move it to off-site storage locations. With the LES being our home for the past 30 years our collection of heritage items is extensive.

We are asking you for ant any donations that you could give us in support, such as heavy duty storage boxes, transport assistance (eg trucks), other packing or transport materials, and if you so wish, your time to help us pack up the vast wealth of items we have to support the running and restoration of our heritage rail fleet.

We are in discussions with Transport for NSW and Transport Heritage NSW to determine an interim solution that will allow us to continue to run our operating fleet on the tours that you love to join us on, and more. Please check our website, and social media pages for further updates.

Please contact us at GM@3801limited.com.au if you would like to make a donation and help 3801 keep serving the public, and preserving its rail heritage. Please also share this post to spread the appeal.

Links to the past: The Hawkesbury River Express

Today, little do many realise the invaluable assistance that the Indigenous people provided to the fledgling European colony in its early days. Bungoree, of Guringai Nation, was an elder of the saltwater people who lived around Broken Bay. He and his people were excellent navigators of the coastal waterways, so it seemed only natural that their skills and expertise would be of great help in the development of the colony. Realising the value of his knowledge, Bungoree was involved with many ‘voyages of discovery’ including to the Hunter River and Norfolk Island, and perhaps most famously he became the first Australian to circumnavigate his own country when he assisted Matthew Flinders in the expedition of 1802-3.

Bungoree (~1775-1830) on Gubba Gubba (Middle Head) - Augustus Earle

On a more local level, Bungoree and his people established and traded along a network of well established trackways, which today form a significant part of our current transport network – and included amongst these is the Great Northern Railway. Today, not only does the Hawkesbury River (Deerubbun) Express provide a regular tourist operation to Broken Bay, but also enables some of Bungoree’s direct descendants the opportunity to maintain their connection to the country and share their culture with the national and international visitors. In this way, we are ‘Maroon Oomooliyan Goori Wahroong’ (still caring for our country).

Bungoree’s direct descendant Brett Rowling poses with the train's new headboard, highlighting the Indigenous cultural connection.

Charging Ahead

It takes a lot of commitment to keep our heritage tourist trains gracing our rails, with services like 3801 Limited’s Cockatoo Run linking the City of Sydney with Wollongong and the Southern Highlands several times each month, making a significant contribution to NSW tourism in so doing. After 30 years of operations, its fortunate that the Eveleigh Projects team have developed the know how to keep the show safely on the road – notwithstanding the surprises that come part and parcel of a running vintage fleet! Our volunteers are currently mid way through an intensive battery box rebuilding program on each carriage of the running fleet to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of heritage carriages on the rail network.

This work involves stripping the battery box down to the last nut and bolt, and discarding any life expired timber or other components before completely rebuilding the unit. The box illustrated has just been fitted to first class compartment car XBS2158, which is currently in the process of being reactivated at Eveleigh (after many years of storage off-site) for a return to tourist train service.

Eveleigh is home to a unique team of skilled car builders who form a repository of invaluable knowledge and expertise that is becoming increasingly rare in this day and age. Our volunteers share skills with 3801 Limited, The Heritage Locomotive Company and Lachlan Valley Railway to keep the carriages under the care of each in good maintenance.

With a fresh set of well maintained batteries snug inside the new battery box, we shouldn’t have to look at this again for many years and after many more thousands of kilometres of tourist train travels.

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Stay tuned for more maintenance updates!