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This is a two-cylinder simple, non-condensing, superheated, ‘Pacific’ 4-6-2 express passenger steam locomotive and based on Australia's best known and most widely travelled steam locomotive in NSW that haul express trains such as the Newcastle Flyer and the Melbourne Limited for the New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR)
She was built by Clyde Engineering as a prototype in 1943 during WWII, 3801 on the other hand was the first of 30 38 class locomotives built to haul express trains and replace the 36 class on these premium workings. 3801 - 3805 were built in Sydney by Clyde Engineering to a streamlined design based on the Baldwin locomotives called The New Haven I-5 4-6-4 which was introduced in 1937 and people had absolutely loved them for their sonic speed and style, sadly with the introduction of the diesel locomotive 109's that came up in 1941 and more was purchased from 1948 - 1949 the Famous sonic streamlined steam engines of the New Haven were retired by 1951 and eventually scrapped.
The 38 class were first created in 1938 all from the prototype 3800 but they had suffered many delays during construction which is mostly due to the Second World War. 3801 was the first engine completed late 1942 and entered service in January 1943 to little fanfare. It became known at the time as the "Grey Nurse" due to its drab, all grey colour scheme which is a wartime economy.
When 3801 was joined by 3802 in April, these engines were allotted to working the Melbourne and Melbourne Limited expresses between Sydney and Goulburn. In early 1947, 3801 was given a heavy overhaul and was painted in its standard colour scheme of green with yellow lining. A Waratah emblem was added to the top of the nose cone in later years. In 1955 3801 was overhauled again, being painted black with red lining as a cost-cutting measure. But when the diesel locomotives appeared on the rails in NSW they took the the "glamour workings" away from the 38 class, who would be confined to all-stations passenger and even goods trains. In December 1956 3801 was the first in its class to reach 1,000,000 miles (1,600,000 km) of service at sonic speed which was the fastest train alive from Sydney to Newcastle.
In 1960, 5 of the 38 class which includes the prototype were transferred from Eveleigh to Broadmedow sheds due to the Gosford electrification (opened 23 January 1960) and in 1962, 3801 was slated for withdrawal. A "final run" was organised in September 1962, however 3801 continued working into December but the prototype had retired.
In early 1963 3801 was given a major overhaul, returned to green paint and to service. 3801 was often used on special services operated by railway heritage organisations, and kept on going as the survivor of the Streamlined 38 class locomotives until it had some boiler problems in October 1965 and 1966 but it kept on going with a new boiler sacrificed from 3819, During this time it operated a train celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Newcastle Flyer on 31 May 1969, as well as the Western Endeavour special across the continent to Perth between 22 August and 12 September 1970. From the end of April 1974 all steam trains were barred from NSW rails, however during June and July of that year 3801 was allowed back to be used as the star of the award-winning film A Steam Train Passes.
However it still kept on going until December 1976 when boiler problems forced it to become a static exhibit. 3801 was then restored in 1980 to 1988 by David Hill Chief Executive of the State Rail Authority meaning that 3801 had kept on going on track until it was withdrawn in 2007 because of boiler problems, so a new boiler is coming from Germany and then 3801 will be back on the rails soon.
However we would like to see the Lego 3800 in stores to be preserved and operational at the Sydney Desk Railway. So please, please support this project as fast as possible and it will then be in stores for the Sydney Desk Railway.
Here's the instruction Manual of the 3800 steam engine.