Defiant restoration team says crisis-hit Pacific will return next year

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.

Handsome newcomer: NSW Government Railways’ Class C38 No. 3801 on January 29, 1943, a week after being delivered by its builder, Clyde Engineering of Sydney. The streamlined Pacific, which was withdrawn in 1962, has been mired on controversy because a restoration that is currently five years behind schedule and has resulted in a brand-new £600,000 boiler being discarded in favour of the locomotive’s old boiler. NSWGR COLLECTION
Handsome newcomer: NSW Government Railways’ Class C38 No. 3801 on January 29, 1943, a week after being delivered by its builder, Clyde Engineering of Sydney. The streamlined Pacific, which was withdrawn in 1962, has been mired on controversy because a restoration that is currently five years behind schedule and has resulted in a brand-new £600,000 boiler being discarded in favour of the locomotive’s old boiler. NSWGR COLLECTION

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.

Read more in the latest issue of HR

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