Full steam ahead for historic journey over harbour

NSW Government

Australia’s most beloved steam train, Locomotive 3801, made a historic journey today as it crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first time.

Minister for Transport, Veterans and Western Sydney David Elliott said this was a once-in-a-lifetime event that delighted railway enthusiasts and the community alike.

“Seeing this iconic steam train cross one of the world’s most famous structures is an experience like no other – no other train can transport you back to the golden age of rail travel quite like 3801,” Mr Elliott said.

“Not only has this been a journey back in time to celebrate our rich transport history, it also allows us to reflect on how we’ll continue to honour our heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.”

This morning, Locomotive 3801 made its north-bound crossing from Central Station, travelling across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, weaving its way down to Lavender Bay, where it paused for people to enjoy, before continuing its round trip back to Central.

Minister for Regional Transport and Regional Roads Sam Farraway said it was exciting to see 3801 in Sydney, following its successful return to passenger service in regional NSW last year.

“When first introduced in 1943, 3801 delivered a new level of service and connected communities across the State more efficiently and with style,” Mr Farraway said.

“In 2021 when 3801 was relaunched into service, it lifted spirits and put smiles on people’s faces as it travelled right across regional NSW.”

CEO of Transport Heritage Andrew Moritz said today’s event was a testament to the passion and dedication of generations of rail fans.

“This magnificent engine has been in preservation far longer than when it was in commission with the NSW Government Railways,” Mr Moritz said.

“We’re proud to have partnered with the NSW Government to bring this iconic locomotive back to life here in Sydney and can’t wait to see everyone enjoying a ride next weekend at the Transport Heritage Expo.”

When 3801 first launched in 1943, it instantly changed the image of the NSW Railways with its streamlined art-deco style. 3801 made its first journey in 1943 and operated as an express passenger locomotive and later as a freight locomotive until being formally withdrawn from service in 1962.

It won the hearts and minds of communities across the country being the only steam engine to travel to every mainland city in Australia, among many other feats.

Members of the public will have the chance to hop on board 3801 at the Transport Heritage Expo to be held at Sydney’s Central Station from 1-3 October. Tickets are on sale at the Transport Heritage Expo website.

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