From recently restored steam locomotive 3801 to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest operating steam locomotive Beyer-Garratt 6029, visitors will be spoilt for choice with a record amount of steam engines at this year’s Festival of Steam.

All locomotives listed will either feature on display in steam or operate one of the many steam train rides throughout the weekend. See locomotive allocations and departure times on the 'Tickets' page.


Locomotive 2705 was one of eight 2-6-0 tender locomotives supplied in 1913 to the NSW Department of Public Works by the Hunslet Engine Co. Ltd of Leeds. They were originally numbered PWD 1 - 8 and used for various railway construction duties. 2705 and its class were smallish locomotives and found to not be suited to curvaceous routes as they damaged their valve motion. As such, they were sent to the Narrabri West depot for use on the relatively straight and lightly laid branch lines which ran/run through the cotton growing regions.

The 27 class were replaced by the first-series 48-class diesel-electrics in 1959 and were mostly scrapped by 1966. In the 1960s, 2705 was selected by the NSW Government Railways as one of the locomotives to haul the ‘Vintage Train’ – a public relations venture that saw a train of historic locomotives and carriages tour much of NSW for community events and education over the next decade – an initiative that spawned the regional steam train visits that Transport Heritage NSW, which operates the NSW Rail Museum, is known for today. In the mid-1970s, 2705 became part of the  static collection at Thirlmere.

2705 was restored to operation in the mid-1990s as part of an initiative to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the NSW Railways in 1995 and was deployed primarily for use on the Loop Line from Thirlmere to Buxton and return. 


2705 v2
The small engine for straight lines
  • Entered service: 1913
  • Retired: 1957-1966
  • In preservation: Transport Heritage NSW

Locomotive 3265

Locomotive 3265 entered service as P 584 in 1902 and was used as a passenger express engine. It is a two-cylinder, simple, non-condensing, coal-fired, ‘Ten-wheel’ 4-6-0 steam locomotive and was ‘superheated’ in 1933. It became ‘3265’ in 1924.

Originally its livery was black but in 1933 it was painted maroon and received the nameplate ‘Hunter’, to service the Northern Commercial Limited express to Newcastle for a short time. After this, the locomotive conducted everything from express suburban runs, to country stretches, and mixed shunting work.

3265 ran for 66 years across NSW and was retired in 1968 after clocking 2,965,840km of service.

It still has its original frame, and the cab is stamped with its builder's number.

The 32-class became known as the "English express locomotives” due to their build’s origin. They were faded out of use with the rise of diesel-powered engines but are commonly cited as being one of the most successful steam locomotive designs on the NSW Railways.

3265 was restored by the Powerhouse Museum in 2009. It underwent further mechanical repairs with Transport Heritage NSW and returned to service in 2019.

3265 2
'The Hunter’
  • Entered service: 1926
  • Retired: 1969
  • In preservation: Powerhouse Museum (on storage and use agreement with Transport Heritage NSW)
3526 2
The 'Nanny’
  • Entered service: 1917
  • Retired: 1967
  • In preservation: Transport Heritage NSW

Locomotive 3526

Reclassified as the '35 class' during the 1924 renumbering program, these locomotives were originally known as the NN class, which gave rise to the nickname ‘Nanny’.

The 35-class were built by the NSW Government Railways (NSWGR) at their workshops at Eveleigh. They were originally designed to reduce the amount of 'double-heading' required for main line express train services following the introduction of heavy, twelve-wheeled corridor compartment cars, which were particularly heavy for one engine to pull.

Teething problems with the new design were overcome by several modifications throughout their service (including re-framing and re-balancing the driving wheels), seeing them develop into solid performers. The original cabs were replaced to provide the crew greater protection against the weather.

Locomotive 3526 became the first exhibit cosmetically restored by Transport Heritage NSW. 3526 is one of the few NSWGR locomotives to have been painted in blue livery for a time, while hauling the ‘Caves Express’ services from Sydney to Mount Victoria in the 1930s. It now appears in stunning Brunswick green livery with red and yellow trim. 3526 made its first appearance at the Thirlmere Festival of Steam in 2004.

Locomotive 3642

Designed to be able to operate non-stop for distances of up to 100 miles (161km), the first of the 36-class entered service in 1925. Nos 1 to 10 were built by the NSW Government Railways at Eveleigh, while the remaining 65 were constructed by Clyde Engineering. Clyde Engineering was quicker, which meant that 3610 was the last of the class to enter service.

The 36-class locomotives were originally fitted with round-top boilers, which gave them a somewhat porcine appearance, and this, coupled with difficulties in firing their narrow fireboxes and the regular repairs required to the boilers, led to the nickname 'Pig'. Most of them were re-boilered with Belpaire fireboxes and given new style cabs to match during their service lives, although the nickname remained.

With the 36 class came the introduction to the NSW railways of the 'turret' style tenders, which gave the crews better vision when travelling in reverse. It was originally painted green but with the onset of World War II and resultant austerity measures, it was painted black.

3642 has spent only around 15 years of its entire 96-year service life out of service. Through the 1970’s – 1990’s the locomotive was a prominent rail-tour engine, travelling extensively though NSW – including playing a notable part in the 1988 Bicentennial Train touring program, as well as making trips interstate as far as Melbourne (VIC) and Whyalla (SA). Second only to 3801, no single locomotive has travelled as extensively as 3642 – earning its well deserved place as a favourite for rail-fans – featuring regularly at the Festival of Steam since 1990. 

The 'Pig'
  • Entered service: 1925
  • Retired: 1969
  • In preservation: Transport Heritage NSW
A legend of steam
  • Entered service: 1943
  • Retired: 1962
  • In preservation: Transport Heritage NSW

Locomotive 3801

Locomotive 3801 dawned a new era in express passenger train travel when first introduced to New South Wales in 1943.

Faster and more powerful than their predecessors, the 38 class were able to haul more carriages while reducing travel times on the celebrated express services. 3801

Their modern equipment made them easy to operate. The large boiler, sometimes tiring to fire, was forgiving. Their spacious cabs with padded seats raised the bar for crew comfort. Allocated to the important express trains, only the best crews were rostered to work the 38s.

The first five were built by Clyde Engineering to a streamlined design, whilst the 25 post-war locomotives in the class were unstreamlined and built by the NSWGR at Eveleigh and Cardiff Locomotive Workshops.

On 28 June 1964, 3801 hauled a train similar to the late-1940s Newcastle Flyer in a successful attempt to break the Sydney to Newcastle rail record, until then held by a 36 class engine testing for a speed-up of the express in 1938. 3801 established a new record of 2 hours, 1 minute and 51 seconds for the 167 kilometres, and possibly could have made it in a flat two hours except for congestion when the train approached Newcastle Terminal. In October 1988 an XPT shaved 6 minutes and four seconds off the record. 

In the ‘preservation era’ from the 1970’s onwards, 3801 built upon its pre-existing icon status. The locomotive travelled extensively to every mainland state; starring in the 1988 Bicentenary celebrations; double-heading frequently with international visitor ‘The Flying Scotsman’; crossing Australia twice, visiting Melbourne four times – the locomotive has become world-famous and earnt its place in Australian history books. 3801 first visited the Thirlmere Festival of Steam in 1989 and has appeared many times since.

After an extensive and labour-intensive overhaul, 3801 was officially relaunched at Sydney's Central Station on Friday 12 March 2021 by Her Excellency, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of NSW.

Locomotive 6029

Based on the successful design by Herbert Garratt, these locomotives were manufactured by Beyer, Peacock in Manchester UK, and imported to NSW specifically for coal haulage.

The last steam locomotives introduced into NSW, the first of the class did not enter service until 1952. The original order for 25 locomotives was augmented by a second order for 25, which the railways tried to cancel a portion of due to the successful introduction of the 40 class diesel locomotives. This resulted in a total of 42 of the 60 class Garratts in service and nearly five locomotives’ worth of spare parts. Despite the desire of the railways to reduce the order, there were still Garratts in service even after the 40 class diesels had all been retired from traffic.

Because of their length and few turntables in the system with the capacity to turn them, they often ran in reverse. From 1958, a number of them were fitted with a second set of controls to allow the driver to face the direction of travel when travelling ‘bunker first’, denoted with ‘DC’ painted on the buffer beam.

Locomotive 6029 entered service in April 1954, receiving its dual control in February 1959. It was withdrawn from service in 1972 having travelled just under 100,000km during its working life. It was returned to service by the Australian Railway Historical Society (ACT Division) in 2015 and purchased in 2017 by a small consortium of steam locomotive enthusiasts. It first appeared at the Thirlmere Festival of Steam to a record-breaking crowd in 2015.

Three other 60 class Garratts survive in preservation.

6029 Delta Charlie Images
'The Garratt' - an articulated freight engine 
  • Entered service: 1954
  • Withdrawn/condemned: 1974
  • In preservation: Privately owned (on storage and use agreement with Transport Heritage NSW)
1064 Coal Grab v4
For coaling steam locomotives
  • Entered service: 1918
  • Retired: 1962
  • In preservation: Transport Heritage NSW

1064 Coal Grab CranE

1064 is a 4-wheel self-propelled vertical-boiler coal grab and was designed for coaling steam locomotives in smaller country locomotive depots which lacked more formal locomotive servicing facilities.  It was constructed by the Austral Otis Engineering Company at their Alfred Harman Works, Port Melbourne in 1918 as one of a batch of four coal grabs and entered service as LO 39 with the NSWGR in August 1918.  It was renumbered 1064 in the X-10 class of miscellaneous and obsolete machines in the NSWGR's August 1924 renumbering scheme.

1064 finished its career with the NSWGR in June 1971 when it was withdrawn from Eveleigh Depot.  It was transferred to the NSW Rail Transport Museum (now Transport Heritage NSW) in working order, however it was later dismantled for rail transport to the (then) new Museum in 1975.

The boiler has recently been overhauled to enable 1064’s return to the Festival of Steam for the first time in many years.

The reassembly and repair of this machine after years of open storage is a great example of the high-quality restoration capabilities of the volunteers and staff at Transport Heritage NSW.



For all NSW Rail Museum related enquiries, including steam train rides, call 1300 11 55 99.