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88/4 Steam locomotive, No. 3830, iron / steel / brass, New South Wales Government Railways, Eveleigh Railway Workshops, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1949. Click to enlarge.

Steam locomotive No. 3830

Locomotive 3830 represents the epitome of steam locomotive development in New South Wales. It was the last of the 38 class locomotives to be built and the last passenger locomotive to be designed and built by the New South Wales Government Railways. The 38 class saw the last period of popular rail travel prior to the use of the domestic airlines and the increased popularity of the family car. The 38 class locomotives held off the diesel invasion for over a decade and were gradually relegated …

Parts of this object


Object No.


Object Statement

Steam locomotive, No. 3830, iron / steel / brass, New South Wales Government Railways, Eveleigh Railway Workshops, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1949

Physical Description

A steam locomotive made of iron, steel and brass, one of the the Pacific type, it features a wide grate firebox requiring manual stoking, one piece, single-cast 19-tonne steel frame incorporating integral cylinders, Boxpok driving wheels, and a combustion chamber extension of the firebox. It has been restored to steaming condition.


Class C38 "Pacific"
Number in class 30
Wheel arrangement 4-6-2
Date in service 27 Sep 1949
Date withdrawn Oct 1967
Builder's No. 182
Cylinders 2 (out)
Frames cast steel bed
Wheels diam.:
Leading 36 in (914 mm)
Driving 69 in (1 752 mm)
Trailing 42 in (1 066 mm)
Valve gear Walschaert
Valves, diameter Piston, 12 in. (304 mm)
Steam pressure 245 psi (1 688 kPa)
Weight 195 tons (198 tonnes)
Tractive effort 36 200 lbf (161 KN)
Reverse gear power assisted
Boiler & firebox 6 ft 6 1/8 in (1 984 mm) max. diameter
Heating surface 224.58 sq.ft. (20.66 sq.m.)
Grate area 47 sq.ft. (4.32 sq.m.)
Superheater 36 element with smokebox regulator



4300 mm


2950 mm


23282 mm


146468 kg



The 38 class locomotives were designed by the New South Wales Government Railways, under the leadership of Harold Young, last of the railways' "steam" Chief Mechanical Engineers. They were built during the Second World War to replace the slower 36 class engines on intrastate and express train routes. The first five of the class, road numbers 3801 to 3805, were streamlined in accordance with contemporary locomotive design. This comprised streamlined casing along the boiler top and a distinctive bullet nose with a centrally positioned headlight. Painted a wartime austerity shade, these locomotives were soon dubbed "grey nurse" after the notorious man-eating sharks off the New South Wales coast.

The first five locomotives of the 38 class were built by the Clyde Engineering Company at Granville, Sydney, between 1943 and 1945. The streamlined 38s hauled the Southern Express trains to Albury and proved so successful that a further 25 of the class, of more orthodox unstreamlined appearance, were built from 1945 to 1949. Even-numbered engines between 3806 and 3830 were built at the New South Wales Railways' Eveleigh Workshops, while the odd-numbered engines were built at the Cardiff Workshops, Newcastle.

Locomotive 3830 was the last of the 38 class locomotives to be constructed and was built at the Eveleigh Railway Workshops. It went into service on 27 September, 1949.



From their entry into service and until the extension of the electrification of the Northern line from Hornsby to Gosford in 1960, all thirty 38 class locomotives were allotted to Eveleigh. They were used on overnight express and mail trains, daylight expresses and other services that required their operational capability, speed and reliability.

These locomotives were known for their sustained high speed and acceleration, though their heavy axle load of 22.5 tons, which assisted in pulling 460 ton expresses, also limited their route availability, especially in the north of the State. Despite their size, the 38s were hand fired and required constant feed of their 48 square foot grate. A typical run from Sydney to Newcastle would consume 4 and a half tons of coal, giving the toiling fireman no opportunity to rest. As a concession only the best quality coal was used. They operated with a boiler pressure of 245 lb/sq. in (1688 kPa), the highest for any locomotive in Australia, and could haul trains at the maximum track-allowable speed of 70 m.p.h. (112 km/hr).

As with the other 38 class locomotives, 3830 was initially allotted to Eveleigh from September 1949 until January 1960. This was followed by Lithgow and Broadmeadow. Perhaps 3830's most significant journey was to haul the first standard gauge Spirit of Progress from Melbourne to Sydney in 1962. The locomotive travelled a total of 1 696 796 kilometres before being withdrawn from service in 1967 after 19 successful years on the New South Wales Government Railways. It was subsequently set aside for preservation in 1967 by the Department of Railways and then sold to the Museum by the State Rail Authority of NSW for a nominal amount ($10).

Restoration of the locomotive began in August 1992 and was jointly undertaken by the Museum and 3801 Limited, operators of steam locomotive 3801. Technical advice and assistance was provided by the State Rail Authority, in particular the removal of the asbestos. Restoration work on the boiler and tender was undertaken at the Hunter Valley Training Company, Maitland. This was made possible through the Federal Government's Jobskill programme, which provided training for out-of-trade apprentices. A dedicated team of about 12 volunteers, under museum supervision, spent about 21,000 hours working on the locomotive at Eveleigh over a 5 and half year period.

On Wednesday 22 October 1997, 30 years to the day after its farewell run to Wyong and return, locomotive 3830 was recommissioned during a ceremony at the Museum and a commemorative trip to Bankstown. Three days later, the locomotive made it first advertised journey for the public to Maitland. Since then, 3830 has been regularly operated by 3801 Limited for steam trips. While the locomotive is stored at Eveleigh with 3801, it is occasionally displayed in the Museum's courtyard.

The restoration of 3830 won an Engineering Excellence Award (Heritage Section) by the Institution of Engineers (Sydney Division).


Credit Line

Purchased 1988

Acquisition Date

4 January 1988

Cite this Object


Steam locomotive No. 3830 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 1 July 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Steam locomotive No. 3830 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=1 July 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}