Welcome to the Fleet, X54!

East Coast Heritage Rail is proud to announce the purchase of former Victorian Railways third series X class locomotive X54. We plan to return X54 to operational condition, which will allow us to expand our tour offerings.

Photo: Bob Richardson

X54 was built by Clyde Engineering at their Rosewater plant in Adelaide, and entered service with the Victorian Railways in June 1976. Working on both broad gauge and standard gauge, the X class could be found all over the Victorian Railways system, working both freight and passenger trains. Members of the class on broad gauge could often be found on the Melbourne to Adelaide corridor, working both The Overland passenger train or the ‘Jet’ express goods services between the two cities.

The third series X class were the first Victorian locos to venture into NSW under the ‘through working’ arrangement, and in the early 1980’s could often be seen on interstate express passenger trains such as the Southern Aurora, Spirit of Progress and Intercapital Daylight between Sydney and Melbourne.

When the Victorian Railways restructured in 1983, ownership of the X class passed to V/Line. All remained in Government ownership until 1999 when V/Line Freight was privatised and sold to Freight Victoria, later becoming Freight Australia as their operations expanded in 2000. In 2004 Freight Australia was purchased by Pacific National. As a condition of this sale, X54 was one of two X class locomotives that were gifted to the then newly established Queensland Rail National, to help with their start-up of interstate standard gauge operations. It remained in service with QR National (becoming Aurizon in 2012) up until Aurizon ceased operating intermodal freight in December 2017. It saw use for a brief period in 2018 to support Aurizon’s Hunter Valley coal and grain operations, however it was placed into storage in late 2018 and has not been used since.

We look forward to reactivating X54 and bringing it to you on our future tours – watch this space!

Farewell C3704

The more eagle-eyed observer on a Redfern train this morning may have noticed the plaza at South Eveleigh looking a little barer than it did yesterday… After more than 20 years of faithful service as both our office and an important part of the South Eveleigh’s rail heritage, it was sadly time to say goodbye to our Sputnik motor carriage C3704 last night as redevelopment of the site by Mirvac has necessitated our relocation elsewhere.

Rest assured the carriage has departed for a peaceful retirement in private ownership on the rural North Coast of NSW, and our operations will continue as normal despite this change. Given our greatly increased use of technology we are now able to operate our tours with less of a physical office presence, and will continue to deliver the heritage rail experiences that we know our passengers love!

Below are some photos of the carriage being loaded onto a truck for its trip north.

A New Chapter – East Coast Heritage Rail


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.

A New Beginning

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.

Some facts…
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.

Transport Heritage Expo 2016

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 have 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. We invite you to consider becoming involved either voluntarily or financially!