The controversial restoration of one of the world’s flagship express locomotives has received a boost with the signing of a contract to repair the Pacific’s boiler, leading to a bullish forecast by a spokesman for the team working on the frequently delayed project that the engine will return to service next year.
Former New South Wales Government Railways’ Class C38 No. 3801, one of only five in a class of 30 to be streamlined, was built by Clyde Engineering of Sydney in 1943 and saved for preservation by the Australian state’s government in 1962.
The Pacific was taken off railtour duty in November 2006 for a £1¼ million restoration that was expected to be completed by 2011, but a decade after being taken out of service and five years after it was expected to be back in steam, the 4-6-2 remains dismantled at workshops in the Sydney suburb of Chullora.
Central to the extensive delay in completing the restoration are two factors, each of which has embarrassed officials connected with the project and baffled and angered enthusiasts both in Australia and around the world.
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