Long-delayed ‘Oz Flying Scotsman’ restoration: still no completion date

The disappointed boss of the rail heritage organisation overseeing the troubled restoration of one of the world’s flagship preserved steam locomotives has admitted he is unable to say when the project will be completed, despite the overhaul having entered its 12th year.

Dubbed ‘Australia’s Flying Scotsman’ by many enthusiasts down under due to the streamlined engine’s high public profile, New South Wales Government Railways’ C38 class Pacific No. 3801 was taken off railtour duty at the end of 2007 for a £1¼ million overhaul that was initially expected to be completed in 2011.

The good old days: No. 3801 gets a full head of steam between Newcastle and Maitland, New South Wales, during the Maitland Steamfest in April 2007. The streamlined Pacific was withdrawn later that year for a restoration that was initially expected to be completed by 2011, but is now running seven years late.

On January 17 however, Andrew Moritz, chief executive of Transport Heritage New South Wales, which is responsible for the restoration, admitted that no firm date could be given for its return to steam.

Boiler problems have been at the heart of most of the restoration’s travails due to a change of heart early in the work that saw a brand new £600,000 boiler built for the locomotive by DB Meiningen of Germany rejected by Australian officials as ‘not fit for purpose’ and the Pacific’s old boiler was overhauled instead, causing a long delay that is still being felt today.

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