Maintenance Update: To Port!

In 2017 we moved on from Eveleigh due to changes in and around the site and the tenure arrangements. We’re setting ourselves up in the Illawarra and enjoying some great tenure with fantastic supporters like Bluescope and UGL. Down in Port Kembla in particular, we have made the most of the COVID downtime.

Our Port Kembla team have been busy repainting the train from one end to the other. Huge thanks to our friends at Dulux for the kind supply of Gloss Enamel oil based paints. Worth doing, worth Dulux!



Its more than just prettying them up – a good paint system protects the steelwork and the carriage structure. Fresh paint does look good too though! To save the cutting in, we just slip the fittings off and put them back on at the end:



After several months painting the running set, it’s a reminder the CPJ lounge car needs some love later on – watch this space!

We didn’t stop at the bodywork though – the frames were next, and the steps came off for stripping. We went with gloss black, and high vis yellow non-slip treads:



The slack adjuster bracket didn’t go without its share – gloss white was used to highlight the position of the slack adjuster at a glance, to help our maintenance team doing pre-trip inspections. Gloss black frames and fresh gloss white lettering look the goods, now the bogies stand out though!



We didn’t stop at the frame either – we pressure cleaned, primed and glossed the under floor of the carriages to protect the steel work:

We’re an inclusive mob at ECHR – the bogies didn’t go without in the end…

But we didn’t stop there, all the battery boxes on the carriages received freshly rebuilt battery boxes. These were full strip downs, back to the basic metal components and fresh structural ply:



Working from home is nothing new to us!

Brett and Chris reckoned the easiest cars to re-fit battery boxes by far were the 12 wheelers with their 4 truss rods:

But we didn’t stop there either! The SFN received a plumbing upgrade, from the old rusty steel water pipes to fresh modern poly pipes. We also moved away from the troublesome air operated water service units, upgrading to an electric water pump – we’ll work through upgrading the other cars too as time permits. Also installed were some new stop cocks that help us isolate the toilets, something we could have done with in the past! Thanks to our friends at Rob Lemme plumbing for provision of their excellent plumbing services.



Inside the cars, Chris made up some new in house quick release fasteners for the emergency steps:

Life after Eveleigh isn’t all bad – life’s what you make it, and our hunger to keep our heritage trains running helps to promote regional tourism and linking the city with the regions! Stay tuned for more maintenance updates with the new ECHR Projects blog – until next time!

And now for something completely different…

Our Eveleigh Projects volunteers have recently spent a weekend working on the iconic Red Rattler carriage situated in the Australian Technology Park. Known as a ‘Sputnik’ power car, of late 1950s vintage and having been manufactured by Comeng in Granville, C3704 has stood sentinel inside the gate since the ATP’s inception in 1995 and has functioned invaluably as the office for 3801 Limited. However, some years of relentless 24/7 exposure to the elements had understandably begun to take its toll on the old stalwart of late, so it was decided that it was once again time re-seal the roof of the car, both to maintain appearances and ensure it was kept fully weathertight and functional.

To this end, our fantastic suppliers at Blackwoods and Tremco most generously donated their Brushable Hydroseal to re-seal the carriage roof. Brushable Hydroseal is a heavy bituminous, fibre reinforced, rust inhibiting sealing compound, and is specially designed to be brushed thickly to any surface. When dry, the Hydroseal is tough and waterproof, and possesses excellent weathering qualities. The Australian sun certainly has put the product to the test over the years and we can most definitely attest to its effectiveness for the job at hand! After a couple of days’ work, the car not only looks vastly better than it has in some time, but is also now far better equipped to stand up to the elements for some years to come. Now for the bodywork we suppose… Watch this space!


3801 Limited gratefully acknowledges and appreciates the ongoing support of Blackwoods and Tremco with our rollingstock projects:


January Update

Eveleigh has been a multi-user facility since 1987. In that time, many items of rollingstock have called Eveleigh home, including world-renowned steam locomotive #4472 Flying Scotsman during Bicentennial celebrations in 1988. We can see that this culture of sharing the Eveleigh LES site continues even now, with items of rollingstock shown including:

  • Lachlan Valley Railway FS car undergoing repairs
  • Goodwin Alco 4501
  • Lachlan Alco 4464
  • Government owned 4401 undergoing reactivation works
  • 3237 having mechanical work performed
  • Lachlan Valley Railway 47 class undergoing restoration
  • Government owned dining car AB91 in under-cover storage for Transport Heritage NSW
  • Privately owned MFA carriage
  • 3801 Limited’s L516

Many of the Sydney Trains and NSW Trains Explorer and Endeavour railcars have used the LES for various maintenance, repair and replacement works over the years. But the spot light this week is on The Heritage Locomotive Company’s recently repainted 42101 locomotive.

Repainted in its original Indian Red livery, also affectionately known as “cats whiskers”, The Heritage Locomotive Company have invested thousands of dollars of private money to provide the heritage railway community with a fully restored, immaculately presented 421 class locomotive that looks as good if not better than the day it was first delivered to the NSWGR for railway traffic.

No matter which angle you look at it from, this is a stunning example of how the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well at our Eveleigh workshop, with 42101 setting an amazing benchmark to compare other restoration projects. Much praise goes to the team of dedicated volunteers that have seen out this long awaited restoration project. 42101 is now available for hire on heritage traffic, which can be arranged by contacting the 3801 Limited office on 1300 65 3801 or by visiting the website

Further down the shed, L516 continues on its journey, with the all the shutter fittings being sorted and arranged ready for polishing or replating where necessary.


Cameron is continuing to refurbish the former Zig Zag panels to fit to the lounge end of L516. Each panel has to be completely disassembled to strip the panels back to bare wood.


Cameron is continuing to refurbish the former Zig Zag panels to fit to the lounge end of L516. Each panel has to be completely disassembled to strip the panels back to bare wood.


This is where we are heading though, each super panel needs to be test fitted to see where it fits and check that the fielded panels match the window spacing. This sometimes requires re-working and re-machining the panels, which is a lot of work but the results will be worth it.


Elsewhere in the car, panels are appearing also. A wide-angle lens warps space (and time?) to show Steve’s recently completed panels in the small corridor leading up to the lounge.


A bit later on in the day, the little doors were fitted, providing access to the low voltage DC switching circuits and sub circuits. This is where the carriage attendants operate the light, fans and other electrical services.


The timberwork at the end of the corridor is complete. This space was originally a small cupboard – not sure what they would have put in there – but it has been turned into a bin and it just needs 2 holes drilled out to provide access to the bin ahead of final painting.


The Masonite has been laid in all the compartments now ahead of vinyl flooring.


We’ve opted to keep with tradition by laying vinyl flooring throughout the car and have attracted the kind support of Polyflor. They claim they cover the world and now they cover TAM sleeping carriages too. This commercial grade vinyl flooring has been selected for its resistance to wear and long life. It is high performance and heavy duty using a polyurethane reinforcement to facilitate a low-cost, lifetime polish-free maintenance regime. We have gone the extra mile here and lifted each seating frame clear of the floor so we can use a single vinyl sheet. This will further reduce the effort required to keep this car clean when it is back in service. Polyflor are kind sponsors of the L516 restoration project and it is great that they are supportive of such a worthwhile community oriented cause.


Contrary to common belief, the 3801 Limited’s carriage restoration team is well represented by the younger generation, with more than half of the group under the age of 30. This diverse team includes engineers and qualified wood machinists. While many hands make light work, a successful restoration project actually only needs a small number of the right people underpinned by a culture of strong governance.

Judging by the beaming smiles on their faces, this young and ambitious team of volunteers are proud to represent the best of NSW rail heritage in taking Eveleigh forward with 3801 Limited.

ATP Heritage Community Days (May 2014)

On Friday 16th and Saturday 17th, 3801 Limited participated in the Australian Technology Park Heritage Community Days weekend.

We opened the doors of our Large Erecting Railway Workshop for the enjoyment of the general public, providing the chance to explore the restoration works as well as inspect the collection of locomotive, and carriage rollingstock that was on display.

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The volunteers talked to the visitors, answering questions about the history of railways in NSW, as well as explaining the valuable role of heritage trains in today’s modern society. The open display within the Large Erecting Shop was a part of a grand tour of the whole ATP complex. This coordinated by the Australian Technology Park.

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Aside from the heritage exhibits in both the Large Erecting Workshop, Blacksmiths Workshop, Pumping House and around the ATP facility, an assortment of Jane Bennett’s artwork was on display also.

There really was something for everyone at the ATP Heritage Community Days event – keep an eye out for the next one!

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More photos from the weekends event can be found on the ATP Flickr page.

Autumn Progress

With four reconditioned fans bearing down on us, Brian and Daniel have been busy manufacturing and preparing the new timber mounting discs to replace the old ones that had fallen apart. When the paint is dry next week, we will look at installing the fans using these discs.

L516AutumnProgress - Pic01

In the mean time, fitting new felts to one side of each window becomes the bread and butter for the boys. The other side of each window will have felts fitted too when the windows are being installed, as each window it fitted individually – they are all a little different.

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The half-sized TAM windows have a polished nickel plated handle fitted on the left hand side, so young Cameron gets busy fitting those using his keen carpentry skills.

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But the focus has been to resolve the troublesome problem on the lower edge of the sub letter board. Over their long operational life, the crisp lines of timber cars invariably succumb to the elements and end up looking rather ordinary. So we’ve taken the time to rout out a section of timber the full length of the car on both sides and replace it with brand new timber like this.

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This is no small task, but at least big jobs make the days go quicker.

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When it is sanded and the screw holes are filled with wood filler, the satisfying crisp lines return to our old TAM once again.

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This same problem has been approached on other cars using an alternate approach of installing timber fillets immediately below the letter board with successful results. 3801 Limited are supplying funds and resources to reactivate HFA703 in the near future.

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Currently, the mechanical work is the main priority. Each bogie is receiving a full overhaul, compliments of our skilled mechanical team.

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There are normally several projects on the boil at Eveleigh at any given time. The Lachlan Valley Railway are using the workshops for their original purpose by carrying out mechanical works on both 5917 and 3237.

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In fact, quite a few groups call Eveleigh home. 42101 is finally nearing the completion of its restoration, which has been long and extensive.

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Lachlan Alco’s 4464 and her 2 siblings 4473 and 4486 all enjoy shelter in between operating trains out of Eveleigh.

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As do 4501 and 4833, which are both having ICE radios installed to meet modern radio requirements. Running heritage trains is not as laid back as it might have once been.

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4918 also has ICE radio installed so that we can continue bringing the train to the people of NSW.

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We look forward to riding behind the old 49’r aboard L516. But not until all the restoration works have been completed on L516 – more updates soon.