Safety is our number one priority. All things else are secondary. We will not compromise on this.
Volunteers and members will work as a team within the company and with other organisations. There are no individuals, and the success of the team is to be put before that of the individual.
We value our rail heritage and its role in the development of NSW and Australia. We aim to preserve it for the benefit of today’s and future generations.
The promotion of railway tours using historic locomotives and rolling stock
The maintenance of heritage locomotives and carriages in operating condition
The acquisition and lease of historic railway rolling stock
The restoration and commissioning of historic railway rolling stock
Collaboration with kindred rail heritage organizations including sharing of heritage rolling stock and joint activities
The use of heritage locomotives and crews for passenger, freight rail, work trains and restoration services on request.
In 1983 a small working party met to investigate the feasibility of returning one of the 38 class steam locomotives to working order as an initiative of the then Chief Executive of State Rail. Attention was focused on the class leader, 3801, as the best existing exhibit for restoration. At that time, the Hunter Valley Training Company were seeking job skill training work for out-of-trade power industry apprentices caused by a recession in the Hunter Valley. As a consequence, HVTC undertook the restoration of 3801 over a 3-year period from November 1983 to November 1986 during which time some 300 apprentices worked on it, learning their trade in the process.
With the locomotive set to return to service, 3801 Limited was incorporated on the 5th June 1985 at the behest of the State Rail Authority. As a company limited by guarantee, its prime purpose was the maintenance and operation of locomotive 3801 and its train for the benefit of the people of NSW. This we did with great success for some 20 years, carrying over half a million passengers and operating a regular program of tour and charter trains to a variety of destinations both in NSW and interstate. During this period, 3801 ran to destinations such as Alice Springs, Canberra, and every mainland state capital, most notably hauling the Bicentennial Train in 1988 and performing an extensive year of tours alongside the famous Flying Scotsman.
With the return of Locomotive 3801 to predecessors of Transport Heritage NSW in 2006, we continued to focus on our passenger experiences, delivering a range of tours to the public with a wide range of historic steam and diesel locomotives. We also continued to work on the restoration and maintenance of rolling stock. Recent highlights have included the return to service of lounge car CAM502 and diesel Locomotive 42101, both of which are now regular fixtures in the roster alongside the rest of our locomotive and carriage fleet.
Our Cockatoo Run, proudly operated since 1995, Hawkesbury River Express and various one-off tours that we run are what our passengers know and love. Whilst we operate many interesting and important rolling stock items that the rail community loves to see, the travelling public value the experience of our heritage rail tours, enjoying time with family and friends, and reflecting on the role that rail has played in developing Australia.
Accordingly, our name is no longer reflective of what we do. And more importantly, what we want to do in the future. It is therefore a natural time for East Coast Heritage Rail to be born.
We wish to be a safe, sustainable and collaborative organisation that works to improve and promote heritage rail, across all of Australia. We look forward to working with other groups and people to help everyone achieve their and our goals, and for the heritage rail sector to be stronger as a result.
ECHR is an organisation whose purpose is to preserve railway heritage for the enjoyment of the public by operating tour trains. We are a not-for profit company, and all surplus funds are directed to ongoing restoration and maintenance of our trains.
ECHR operates day tours and charters out of Sydney as well as scheduled services to the Illawarra and Southern Highlands. If you would like more information on these tours please visit our website, www.eastcoastheritagerail.com.au, call our office on 1300 65 3801, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.
Note to regulators, suppliers and customers:
Our legal name, ACN and ABN (64 002 951 671) remain unchanged, and all associated trademarks and brands remain the property of 3801 Limited. We remain accredited as a railway operator and registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. The transition will be a gradual one, with logos, branding and uniforms updated across our organisation as time and funding permits.
We are excited to announce that we can shortly start tours again and share our beautiful heritage trains with you, including on our Cockatoo Run tour and others.
We thank everyone for their support over the last two years. These years have been perhaps toughest of the company’s lifetime.
We recently re-located some of the fleet to a private siding in the Hunter Valley with ready access to the main line. We are also working on other stabling sites to support our operations, and to which we can take the remaining non-operational vehicles from the Large Erecting Shop.
1. We are financially stable.
2. We are accredited.
3. We continue to be supported by our locomotive partners.
4. We are planning tours and will release dates for these soon.
What is next?…….
To support these tours, we are reconnecting with our volunteers and will soon start retraining and requalification activities with them.
If you would like to volunteer with us (even if you have not worked with us before), please contact us through our website. Key roles include train crews, passenger attendants, and carriage preparation teams.
We are also looking for people who may wish to join the management team in a range of roles (particularly operations and technology). Please contact us if you are interested (also via the website).
All roles are on a voluntary basis for the foreseeable future.
We also look forward to working closer with other heritage organisations for the betterment of the industry on the whole and believe that there are many opportunities for collaboration to make this happen.
When further information becomes available it will be passed onto you. We look forward to working again with you and promoting rail heritage!
The Board and Management Team
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.
As some of our loyal rail heritage enthusiasts may be aware of, this June Long Weekend will see the annual Transport Heritage Expo play host at Central Railway Station. With Steam train shuttles, vintage bus rides around the CBD, Devonshire Teas aboard the Southern Aurora, and also the reappearance of the famously preserved red rattler “F1” set, we at 3801 Limited are delighted to announce we will have our wonderfully restored projects on display at Central Station along side these other ironic heritage items.
Vintage EMD Diesel Electric “42101” and our restored Ken Butt lounge car “CAM502” will be on show at Central for the general public to see, taking part of the Transport Heritage Expo festivities.
This would not of been possible without the tireless volunteers providing much of the legwork and labour for free.
Most surplus money made from ticket sales is ploughed directly into running costs, insurance and repairs to keep our fleet operational. To undertake restorations, such as our most recent project lounge carriage CAM502, requires significant financial backing. For this we thank all our donors no matter how small or large as without your support we would not be able to undertake the restoration nor share the results of our labour with you.
Some of our key sponsors are recognised below. If your name or business is not there we ask you to consider whether you too would like to become involved either voluntarily or financially.
Well it has been an incredible journey. But we are delighted to say that our little pet project of 8 years was recently completed last December, just in time for Christmas!
Last November, the Assets Standards Authority within TransportNSW department granted permission for CAM502 to operate on the rail network for the purpose of trials. Locomotive 42101 was utilised for the first trial journey along with the support of two of our other carriages. The test journey occurred on Tuesday 24th November 2015 from Eveleigh to Waterfall and return.
Only a few minor bugs were found but otherwise it performed satisfactorily to our travelling maintenance team and passed successfully. This would be the green light for the carriage to start operating on mainline tours.
Up next, on Sunday 13th December 2015 we had our annual christmas volunteers party to Robertson on the Cockatoo Run tourist train. On this day we got to show case the car to our fellow volunteers, colleagues, family and friends, as well as to our friends at the Robertson Heritage Railway Station. This would prove to be a very joyous day for everyone involved, not only within the restoration team, but also for every volunteer, past and present who contributed to this fantastic project.
Since then, “the CAM” lounge car been used on several mainline tours and charters. One successful event soon after our christmas party trip was on Thursday 17th December 2015. The car being utilised within the consist for the new Hawkesbury River Express to Brooklyn, just north of Sydney.
Special guests were invited, included the Mayor of Hornsby Shire Hon. Mr. Steve Russell, as well as the family of one of our late founding directors, Mr Ken Butt.
Special mention must be made to the Butt family for their contributions to this restoration project. As a tribute to the late Mr. Butt, the carriage has been named after him as the Ken Butt lounge.
So there you have it. One complete 1920s vintage lounge car, ready for service in the 21st Century.
But keep watching this space, as we may have a few more tricks up our sleeves.. Thanks for reading!