Future of Sydney's vintage trains unclear as 3801 tour company evicted

 
  shaved and dangerous Locomotive Fireman

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/future-of-sydneys-vintage-trains-unclear-as-3801-tour-company-evicted-20170308-gut8gm.html

In a capacious brick warehouse in the historic Eveleigh railway precinct, hundreds of tonnes of heritage railway carriages and equipment is sitting idle after the NSW government terminated a tour company's access to the site and changed the locks.

For 30 years, 3801 Limited, a heritage rail company run by volunteers, has had almost exclusive use of the warehouse - called the Large Erecting Shop - to run its historic railway tours through the Southern Highlands and along the Hawkesbury River.

The heritage rail group's access to the site, so close to Redfern Station, has been periodically threatened. When in 2006 the former Labor government indicated it might sell the site for development, then opposition transport spokeswoman Gladys Berejiklian insisted it should continue to be used for heritage rail, and said 3801 had been doing a great job.

But in January, after years of failed negotiations and time extensions, Ms Berejiklian's government acted on its plans to convert the warehouse into a facility that could also be used by other other rail heritage companies.



http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/future-of-sydneys-vintage-trains-unclear-as-3801-tour-company-evicted-20170308-gut8gm.html
The Large Erecting Shop manager Alan Gardner climbs aboard a carriage at Everleigh Railway Precinct, Everleigh.
The Large Erecting Shop manager Alan Gardner climbs aboard a carriage at Everleigh Railway Precinct, Everleigh.  Photo: Kate Geraghty
Through its not-for-profit entity, Transport Heritage NSW, the government served 3801 Limited with a termination notice and locked the company out of the workshop, granting it restricted access only to remove its property.

As a result, 3801 has been forced to cancel its upcoming tours runs, and with lost income now mounting well into five figures, one of the state's key heritage rail operators is now in a precarious financial state.

Sharyn Gregory, chairman of 3801 Limited, said the company's eviction had let it with nowhere to go and, with no revenue coming in, no means of funding a move.

"We don't have the slush fund available to move, and we don't have anywhere to move to," Ms Gregory said.


http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/future-of-sydneys-vintage-trains-unclear-as-3801-tour-company-evicted-20170308-gut8gm.html
The Large Erecting Shop at Everleigh Railway Precinct,which has been in continual use since the 1890s
The Large Erecting Shop at Everleigh Railway Precinct,which has been in continual use since the 1890s Photo: Kate Geraghty
"At this stage there is no alternative site in NSW for any heritage operator to undertake carriage restoration work."

The situation is now at a standstill, and there is no resolution is sight.



http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/future-of-sydneys-vintage-trains-unclear-as-3801-tour-company-evicted-20170308-gut8gm.html
This diesel locomotive is among 3801 Limited's vintage fleet, which is now locked inside the Large Erecting Shed in Eveleigh.
This diesel locomotive is among 3801 Limited's vintage fleet, which is now locked inside the Large Erecting Shed in Eveleigh.  Photo: Thomas Durber
For more than a century, tradesmen have toiled and tinkered on train carriages inside large erecting shop, making it among the oldest railway workshops still in use in the country.

Since 1986, 3801 Limited has paid peppercorn rent for use of the site, located within Redfern's Technology Park, where it maintains its fleet of vintage diesel locomotives and operates its Cockatoo Run tour.

Photo gallery
Historic Eveleigh railway yard in Sydney under threat
It occupies most of the workshop, but Transport Heritage NSW also has property stored there, as do some smaller operators.

The decision to terminate 3801's access to the site was not a snap one, Transport for NSW said.

It first issued the company with 12 months' notice to leave the site in 2014, following a government review of the heritage rail network, which found the company's near exclusive use of the warehouse had "been a source of conflict in the sector".

The work required to make it a shared user facility, including bringing it into line with modern safety standards, "cannot happen until 3801 Ltd's assets are removed", a spokesperson from Transport for NSW said.

The department said it had "offered support" to assist with the relocation, but insisted "the overall responsibility for finding and relocating to another site lies with 3801 Limited".

Ms Gregory said 3801 Limited was prepared to downsize to allow other operators access to the facility, but they couldn't afford to gamble leaving the site without a guarantee they would be able to be to recommence their tour operations.

She said countless meetings with Transport for NSW and Transport Heritage NSW had failed to produced any written agreements about the company's access and future licensing costs.

"It appears that discussion can't occur until after we leave the shed."

As the intransigence continues, Ms Gregory said the company's ability to stay afloat was "not good", leaving a question mark hovering over the future of the company's beautifully restored carriages.

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  Just The Tip Junior Train Controller

Location: Danger zone
10 years notice and still playing the 'woe is me' game.

Sell it to the papers to try and get sympathy.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
What other operators would require access?  There is space around Broadmeadow.
  Southern Aurora Locomotive Driver

Operators called residents. I dare say they'll have a secret grand plan of converting what's left into apartments.

Imagine the money the libs and developers would gain from the prime railestate there!
  marvin Assistant Commissioner

Location: Mars... "The Earth? Oh, the Earth will be gone in just a few seconds!"
What other operators would require access?  There is space around Broadmeadow.
x31
You have missed the point.

This would be a shared facility: cleaning / stabling / light repair shop for any heritage operator visiting Sydney. Possibly even including showers and accommodation (although some operators / consists would have on-board accommodation). A very short run from Central to overnight beddie-byes via the Engine Dive.

Think: Rail Motor Society (Patterson, in the Hunter Valley) that might want to do weekend shuttles around Sydney. It would be a secure facility for overnight Saturday.

To assess and make necessary modifications meant that 3801 Limited needed to vacate.

As other posters have said (both here and in other threads) 3801 Limited have had plenty of warning... like any tenant at the end of a lease.

Given that the Endeavour / Xplorer servicing depot is in close proximity, plus suburban stabling, and gate road entry from Erskineville into the area, I doubt that, on it's own, it would go for apartments / unit blocks.

However, my inner cynic is still very twitchy about this, though.

marvin
-------
  exarmidale Train Controller

Spot on there Marvin.
SMH has gone to dogs with such untruthful publishing.
Can't get your own way then write something that is crap and give it to the SMH.
I think all have been reasonable in there dealings with 3801 Limited.
Time to get off backsides and move on to a brighter new beginning.
  Matthew Train Controller

As far as I can figure Transport Heritage NSW wants to restore the LES and offer stabling and light maintenance space to ALL heritage operators. A 'common user' space.

3801 Ltd want to keep their exclusive use of the space for their token rent.

Both side of this dispute have locked horns and refused to move. TfNSW as the landlord of the site has acted to break the deadlock.

3801Ltd then runs off to the media and to try and drum up sympathy support.

In afraid, after the extremely misleading handouts they distributed when the 3801 lease was coming up, In an effort to force the owner of the engine to leave it in their 'care',  I've little respect for anything they say.

And the way that article headline reads - no more heritage train tours because of evil TfNSW. I think the other heritage train operators might have something to say about that....
  studdo Station Master

Matt, I have no doubt you are right. I suspect 3801 Ltd's comeuppance has been a long time coming. (with apaologies for the bad grammar).
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
With Sydney home prices going astronomical, that land is now worth Multi millions if not even a Billion for use as housing, warehousing or  even as 'Open Space' to be ignored.
If it is the intent of TfNSW to make space available to other 'interested groups', I can see from their point of view you need to start with a 'clean sheet' as lots of things have changed since the Workshops have closed.
Like it or not, everything costs BIG Dollars and someone has to pay eventually for it and its unfair to pass on all those costs to others who get no benefit from use of the facilities at all.
I have no difficulty in seeing funding made available to assist such groups or renting sites for 'Peppercorn' rentals where their presence is keeping the site 'active'' and not left to rot away as happens to 'odd' locations'.
By 'Odd Locations' I mean those that just dont fit into the 'scheme of things' like old Tram/Loco/Goods sheds etc because they have no use to anyone else (commercially) as they are.
  a6et Minister for Railways

The reality of this action has been coming for some time, and there was a big move some few years back when there was a calling together (forget the actual name it came under) of all rail heritage operators for a state registery of items each society held it came a bit earlier with the change of the RTM and set up at Thrilmere and was meant to allow all heritage operators equal access to the LES area in order to stable their loco's and trains there. NOTE that it was meant for ALL those registered heritage operators to have the access rights.

How many remember the incident a little while back when LVR were denied access by 3801ltd to use the facility even though LVR had been granted approval by the powers that allow access and own the place.  I have some sympathy for 3801ltd in this dispute but its been going on for years, they knew it was coming especially after the lease of 3801 came to an end and they were kicking and screaming about that as well, and questions as to how well they maintained it anyway have arisen.

Over the years, they also had several of their diesels out on hire, they also had the cocky run to bring in money as well as the hire loco's and used the income they got from that also did other work trains as well, what happened to all that?  I honestly don't know.  

How long have they known that this day would be coming and basically it would seem they have lived in denial of it coming and perhaps they believed they had some ordained right over all other operators to the LES.

Lets not forget something else that has been shown by TFNSW is the simple fact that the LES is and has been for some years now in desperate need of serious repairs, including the safety ones.  There was huge drainage issues that had undermined parts of the building and had rendered the overhead gantry cranes out of service, old electrical standards that had not been fixed either. While that is the responsibility of the LES's owner not the renter, it is however the duty of the the tenant to vacate when advised to and the lease is up to do so, in order for the owner to do the required repairs.  

3801Ltd are saying they have no where to go, well how hard have they tried working with the other groups, or perhaps maybe even swallowed their pride by amalgamating with another group and become one entity for the benefit of rail heritage.  Lets look at how things are in NSW, LVR is like a hobo wandering around in finding a bed for their items, and still working, so not really a hobo, but their main centre has been denied to them by the closure of the line, yet they still work for alternatives such as they are doing with the old Orange depot.

Likewise ARHS Canberra have hit hard times and worked with TFNSW to lease them the garratt and 3016, they had to move out of Canberra but they at least did not cry out but worked towards a solution and have achieved that end.  Maybe that is where 3801 Ltd need to be looking and work with others even combine with them but not take them over.  NSW Rail heritage/historical societies need to be looking to what is best for the industry and people of NSW then feathering their own interests.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Thanks for that information a6et.
I have no idea how much equipment 3801 has nor the space needed to store it or the effort needed to move it elsewhere if a suitable space is available.
I can understand their reluctance to move from the centre of Sydney where they have a high visibility to a distant site where its easy to be forgotten by the public as without public support, it cannot survive.
I watched that show on either the ABC or SBS last night about the Royal Flying Scotsman in the UK and how it alone brought down 3 UK Pound Millionaires to their knees during their ownership of the Locomotive due to seen and unforseen situations that occurred.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Thanks for that information a6et.
I have no idea how much equipment 3801 has nor the space needed to store it or the effort needed to move it elsewhere if a suitable space is available.
I can understand their reluctance to move from the centre of Sydney where they have a high visibility to a distant site where its easy to be forgotten by the public as without public support, it cannot survive.
I watched that show on either the ABC or SBS last night about the Royal Flying Scotsman in the UK and how it alone brought down 3 UK Pound Millionaires to their knees during their ownership of the Locomotive due to seen and unforseen situations that occurred.
gordon_s1942
Gordon, as I said its a hard call but 3801 Ltd should have been more active in looking at alternative sites for their items, after all its not as if they have not had enough notice and warnings, it would seem as if they are being more in the mold of the tent squatters seen in the park opposite Central station, they believe because they have no where else they have the rights to those spots, many people refuse to walk through the park as a result especially at night for safety reasons.  Yet there is a lot of public sympathy for them even though in legal terms they are vagrants.

That may seem harsh, but having seen how many act, its not an unreal call. In essence, 3801 are pretty well doing the same thing. so have they asked and co-operated with both or either TFNSW, Sydney trains, or the government in order to gain help in finding somewhere?  Their reluctance to move is without doubt understandable as they do after all have a prime site for their collection but in reality what sort of high profile do they really have?  I know the old suburban car near the entry used to have their brand on it, but the area outside the LES doors has the fueling facilities for the Explorers, and thats pretty well all thats seen there now.

The Poms and in many ways the historical side of steam railways has got many very rich benefactors that we don't have here, yet I would imagine, and never been to York but that is the best example of how an effective historical record of the railways in GB is on display, helped a degree by BR and the government and untold millionaires. Thing is that is basically central and the shops are open for the public to go in and see a real working museum, that would not have happened overnight and needed I would think the shops to be cleared out and worked on to bring it up to a public and workers safety standard much higher these days then when steam was in operation.

I have always and still do believe that with the same vision the Eveliegh precinct which includes the LES, last of the Carriage works building as well as the old CME's offices and the like that sit on the edge of the carriage works should be declared a historically important icon and brought up to a similar working museum as York is. Access for the public using the old walkway from the Carriage works side to the LES etc. Open for school escursions with the same type of overhead walk ways for visitors to see work being carried out.  It would be huge from the perspective of getting overseas tourists to it as well.

Thing for it to happen is that the place needs the upgraded safety work done as well as the other needed repairs but it also needs the whole LES to be empty to be able to even start.  If 3801 is not prepared to seek help and decides to keep their current stance they may end up losing their collection as it could be impounded on the basis of unpaid fair rental monies since they lost the rights to 3801 and therefore the access to the LES.

Care needs to be applied.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Thanks for that information a6et.
I have no idea how much equipment 3801 has nor the space needed to store it or the effort needed to move it elsewhere if a suitable space is available.
I can understand their reluctance to move from the centre of Sydney where they have a high visibility to a distant site where its easy to be forgotten by the public as without public support, it cannot survive.
I watched that show on either the ABC or SBS last night about the Royal Flying Scotsman in the UK and how it alone brought down 3 UK Pound Millionaires to their knees during their ownership of the Locomotive due to seen and unforseen situations that occurred.
gordon_s1942
What high visibility? do you think the average punter travelling past realises (or thinks or cares) about what is in those old sheds?
  Z1948 Station Staff

Location: Canberra
In the SMH article, 3801 Ltd was described as being a volunteer run organisation.   My memory of 3801 Ltd back around 2005 was that it had a paid manager and possibly a paid receptionist. Did 3801 Ltd later put off its paid staff?  Is the 'volunteer run organisation' claim a porkie?
  Matthew Train Controller

In the SMH article, 3801 Ltd was described as being a volunteer run organisation.   My memory of 3801 Ltd back around 2005 was that it had a paid manager and possibly a paid receptionist. Did 3801 Ltd later put off its paid staff?  Is the 'volunteer run organisation' claim a porkie?
Z1948
The directors are volunteers. Smile

So 'volunteer run' is accurate.
  catchpoint Assistant Commissioner

Location: At the end of a loop
I have always and still do believe that with the same vision the Eveliegh precinct which includes the LES, last of the Carriage works building as well as the old CME's offices and the like that sit on the edge of the carriage works should be declared a historically important icon and brought up to a similar working museum as York is. Access for the public using the old walkway from the Carriage works side to the LES etc. Open for school escursions with the same type of overhead walk ways for visitors to see work being carried out.  It would be huge from the perspective of getting overseas tourists to it as well.

Thing for it to happen is that the place needs the upgraded safety work done as well as the other needed repairs but it also needs the whole LES to be empty to be able to even start.  If 3801 is not prepared to seek help and decides to keep their current stance they may end up losing their collection as it could be impounded on the basis of unpaid fair rental monies since they lost the rights to 3801 and therefore the access to the LES.

Care needs to be applied.
a6et

cough cough.....remember Enfield?....cough cough

Whats left of Carriage works is already deemed to become residential, which is the reason the RailCorp collection needed to vacate the sheds at the eastern end. Temporary site fencing currently surrounds the CME buildings and works are happening there, may only be preventative maintenance for now (willing to stand corrected).

While a shared 'running' space at the LES makes perfect sense for visiting organisations, gaining a visitor- NRM York type experience is always going to be difficult to achieve due to the current operations that surround the LES.

Regards,

Catchpoint
  a6et Minister for Railways

I have always and still do believe that with the same vision the Eveliegh precinct which includes the LES, last of the Carriage works building as well as the old CME's offices and the like that sit on the edge of the carriage works should be declared a historically important icon and brought up to a similar working museum as York is. Access for the public using the old walkway from the Carriage works side to the LES etc. Open for school escursions with the same type of overhead walk ways for visitors to see work being carried out.  It would be huge from the perspective of getting overseas tourists to it as well.

Thing for it to happen is that the place needs the upgraded safety work done as well as the other needed repairs but it also needs the whole LES to be empty to be able to even start.  If 3801 is not prepared to seek help and decides to keep their current stance they may end up losing their collection as it could be impounded on the basis of unpaid fair rental monies since they lost the rights to 3801 and therefore the access to the LES.

Care needs to be applied.

cough cough.....remember Enfield?....cough cough

Whats left of Carriage works is already deemed to become residential, which is the reason the RailCorp collection needed to vacate the sheds at the eastern end. Temporary site fencing currently surrounds the CME buildings and works are happening there, may only be preventative maintenance for now (willing to stand corrected).

While a shared 'running' space at the LES makes perfect sense for visiting organisations, gaining a visitor- NRM York type experience is always going to be difficult to achieve due to the current operations that surround the LES.

Regards,

Catchpoint
catchpoint
Yeah, I remember Enfield and better than you may think.  PS, you don't have to cough as if you have some form of superiority unless its a genuine condition such as smokers cough.

While what you say with the carriage works may be correct or not, the point I am making is a personal opinion and view as to the historical significance of what is left of both the LES and Carriage works. The point being and its quite well put in what 3801 is saying, that being there is no where in the Sydney area for theirs, which also means the other operators who have a need for storage/stabling facilities, something each and every state government has blindly turned their back to.

There is no way that the LES by itself could not be an open Museum, certainly its impossible on the scale of York but easy enough to fence off the rail track side at that Redfern end and have tourists come to southern side of the works. The LES can have the main work area visible by means of a similar overhead walkway that was built at York.  Likewise they would be blocked to entering the Western end where the Explorers are fueled.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
Eveleigh could never be a York museum, especially if it is to remain an operational facility.  But a more limited amount of access, perhaps viewing platforms and a smaller display area with some interactivity and a few items would definitely act as a way of attracting interest in heritage rail, other museums and sites, and particularly operations running from Sydney.  

Frankly having visited several railway centres in Britain, Thirlmere with its dusty shed as NSW's best interpretation of rail heritage is a bit embarrassing.  A smaller museum like the GWR centre at Swindon that is very much about living history of a railway workshop could provide some great inspiration for what could be done in a small part of the workshop at the Sydney end.  It only has a few locomotives and a couple of carriages but tells the story of railwaymen's work, the workshops and travelling on the railways very well.
  catchpoint Assistant Commissioner

Location: At the end of a loop
Yeah, I remember Enfield and better than you may think. PS, you don't have to cough as if you have some form of superiority unless its a genuine condition such as smokers cough.
a6et

In no way was I suggesting that I am superior to you nor was I deriding your memory of Enfield. And thank you for your concern, but I do not smoke, you really are quite hilarious...

My reference was simply, that we once had a perfect situation when the RTM set-up there originally. Within the Sydney environs, centrally located, would have (ultimately)  been able to have been adapted for integrated visitors "experience" safely within.

Joe-Public assimilates better with a "Roundhouse" scenario based on childhood memories / media / books / movie-tone news items rather than, a "Running Shed" scenario and the LES was never that. The name (and history) itself implies that it was only ever an "erecting shop".

Granted (and perhaps we should be thankful) the closest we have got to the York scenario is the western facing, reflective glazed portion of the Roundhouse viewing platform / walkway that has been provided at the refurbished Thirlmere.

Why the public is separated by glass from the action / sight / sound and smells, is disappointing outcome especially in the afternoons I do not know? Designed by a committee? Or did have more to do with current WH+S requirements (nanny state) or was it keep the foam out / or from persons unknown overhearing sensitive discussions on the shop floor that might dispersed as rumor innuendo or hearsay on the interwebs?

The FISH cites GWR at Swindon as a suitable precedent for the a possible LES working museum / Perhaps the GWR Running Shed at Didcot Railway Cente might be another?

Regards,

Catchpoint
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Eveleigh could never be a York museum, especially if it is to remain an operational facility.  But a more limited amount of access, perhaps viewing platforms and a smaller display area with some interactivity and a few items would definitely act as a way of attracting interest in heritage rail, other museums and sites, and particularly operations running from Sydney.  

Frankly having visited several railway centres in Britain, Thirlmere with its dusty shed as NSW's best interpretation of rail heritage is a bit embarrassing.  A smaller museum like the GWR centre at Swindon that is very much about living history of a railway workshop could provide some great inspiration for what could be done in a small part of the workshop at the Sydney end.  It only has a few locomotives and a couple of carriages but tells the story of railwaymen's work, the workshops and travelling on the railways very well.
TheFish
Regrettably there is not the interest nor the money needed to imitate places like the UK museums and while I have never been to Thirlmere, it was my understanding it was run as best possible by the group.
Lots of people stand and wave their hands about when they see a Steamer pass but not much else once its past by.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
Regrettably there is not the interest nor the money needed to imitate places like the UK museums and while I have never been to Thirlmere, it was my understanding it was run as best possible by the group.
Lots of people stand and wave their hands about when they see a Steamer pass but not much else once its past by.
gordon_s1942

Yet there is enough interest to make Thirlmere popular?  From what I have seen internationally, with better interpretation comes more interest.  The great thing about a museum like Swindon is that it provides an experience that people not necessarily as interested as we are in railways will enjoy and find informative, an interesting day they can relate to.  As Catchpoint point's out (no pun intended) Didcot is also a good role model, a great example of living history presented in an operational environment.

I'm a member of Transport Heritage NSW and Thirlmere is run well, but that's not to say it couldn't be better. It has too many exhibits in the great hall to make any of them well interpreted, has too much signage that is only interesting to history and rail enthusiasts and does not adequately tell the stories in an interesting way of the men that actually worked on the trains.  

The one part of the site that I think has better interpretation is the exhibition building and particularly the theatrette.  

A small 'discovery centre' as part Eveleigh to go along with the other interesting historical features of the technology park would cost a relatively small amount of money, would generate interest in other sites like Thirlmere, could be a place where tickets for trains are sold and would help educate the next generation.  It is a wonderful location and its potential should be maximised.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Regrettably there is not the interest nor the money needed to imitate places like the UK museums and while I have never been to Thirlmere, it was my understanding it was run as best possible by the group.
Lots of people stand and wave their hands about when they see a Steamer pass but not much else once its past by.

Yet there is enough interest to make Thirlmere popular?  From what I have seen internationally, with better interpretation comes more interest.  The great thing about a museum like Swindon is that it provides an experience that people not necessarily as interested as we are in railways will enjoy and find informative, an interesting day they can relate to.  As Catchpoint point's out (no pun intended) Didcot is also a good role model, a great example of living history presented in an operational environment.

I'm a member of Transport Heritage NSW and Thirlmere is run well, but that's not to say it couldn't be better. It has too many exhibits in the great hall to make any of them well interpreted, has too much signage that is only interesting to history and rail enthusiasts and does not adequately tell the stories in an interesting way of the men that actually worked on the trains.  

The one part of the site that I think has better interpretation is the exhibition building and particularly the theatrette.  

A small 'discovery centre' as part Eveleigh to go along with the other interesting historical features of the technology park would cost a relatively small amount of money, would generate interest in other sites like Thirlmere, could be a place where tickets for trains are sold and would help educate the next generation.  It is a wonderful location and its potential should be maximised.
TheFish
The biggest problem that heritage and those old dungy looking buildings have is that of how many people who go past those buildings, both sides of the lines have anything generally positive things to say or think about railways? The vast majority only would have negative views of railways owing to their travel experiences which is in the main commuting. To get away from the Sydney basin life they go by car or fly on holidays.  They all I would say over 98% would also have no idea about the history of railways and the role and benefits it played in the development not just of NSW but of the nation overall.

When I was in High school 1959 - 1962 we had reasonably good Australian History taught, and it included how rail was used to develop the state, basic stuff but captured the thrusts of going past our explorers.  How long since that was stopped? Interestingly our 14 year old Grandson and his dad asked me around 3 weeks ago what books I had that could help the grandson in an assignment he had to do and due last Monday. The topic blew my mind a bit and the topic was on the history and affects of steam locomotives and how they worked in conjunction with the overall train.  I sat down with him asked in what areas were they looking for and basically the brief.

While all the books that I have left from my driving days are packed up we sat for around 3/4 hour talking and explaining, last weekend he got into & assume he got it all done, my son and grandson thanked me and found the information totally new and even though my son was affected by my weird working hours etc when driving, a new interest had come.  Yet this was the first he had heard of anything beyond the basics of the industrial revolution.

York I understand has annual commemorative days that tell the history of how rail was used during the world wars, as well as a Battle of Britain day, they have excursions for schools all year along with the special events, on one news item I read they said how these school excursions had brought new appreciations to the young people as well as many of them both male and female who applied to become apprentices and the list was a long waiting one, no longer the shortages in their own specialised arena but also for outside industries as well.  The very same thing that the old country single dorms over in the Carriage works side at the northern end had for youth to come down and learn an apprenticeship, some stayed on the railway while many returned to the bush and became tradesmen there, it provided tradesmen where there was no openings in the bush.

The whole of the LES and even what's left of the carriage works side, is nothing more than lamented and forgotten history, even the small memorial that sits in one of the sections of other large building commemorating what work was carried out at Eveleigh during WW2 for the war effort is basically shoved aside, at least the last I saw of it was more like a small matter of fact thing anyway.  What has been lost goes back not just to that of Eveleigh, LES and Enfield but across the board, what is left at Central concourse to highlight the interest in rail history? Even the old apprentices 36cl is gone, there is no real information section that used to be there either.

In my last years as driver, and relief on the XPT, hardly ever saw anyone even young boys come near the cab to try and peer in, rare also to see a young child wave either, and when on freight well the looked the other way. Yet, when steam was working and going past any station even on the dirty standard goods engine, kids would run to watch, wave and jump for joy as you passed. Working a garratt on Glenlee coalies we went through with loaded coal trains even in the peak hours, and stations like Villawood Leightonfield and Chester Hill you were watched by young and old as you slugged up the grades, the women stood back owing to cinders.

To watch how much interest there still is in steam is to see the numbers at Maitland Steam fest. the amount of people that turn up in rural towns, such as at Taree when LVR went up there with their Baldwyn and the 32.  The sell out crowds to travel behind 6029 at Gosford - Hawkesbury River and return likewise the the full and crowded stations to watch what was going on.

The sorry part of it all is that, while the majority see railways in a generally negative way, there is still something in the history and of seeing the way things were that will attract the crowds.. And here is where the sorrow that came as a result of Shirley and selling off of Enfield, pushing the RTM to Thirlmere which basically is a very non rail centric point as far as accessibility is concerned.  Unless there is a special train to Thilmere, what other means of Public Transport is there that can get the travelling public. overseas tourists and the like to there.  

The isolation from Sydney CBD where the tourists stay hampers them with a day out any day of the week, and that is if they know about it.  That same isolation, meaning that volounteers have to drive themselves or car pool to go there, and for those who work as maintenance types such as fitters unpaid it makes it hard on them as well.  As such Train Works at Thrilemere really should only be an adjunct to where the real museum aspect of rail Heritage NSW should be located at, and that is at Eveliegh.

If what is left of what was the locomotive works, the LES which was where the overhauls and construction aspects of the loco's were carried out, along with the other sections as you walkd from Redfern towards the LES was also brought back into a type of working (where possible) museum with signages at Central Concourse and even the bill boards in the undergrand using the screens with a history view point, then those daggy whats behind them may be realised.

The other aspect is a repeat of what I have said previously. Eveliegh is highly visible, it has easy access to it by all the EMU services as well as country rail services, therefore it could be far more accesible for people to go there and work in either paid or volountary work. How much easier for someone from Penrith - Hornsby. and other surrounding areas to get to Eveliegh for a days work there than to Thirlmere?

Trouble is that the governments past and present have provided nothing more than Rip Van Winkle sleeping pills to Rail heritage and doing as much as possible to hinder its progress which in affect is regressive than to promote it an make it progressive. Why make it so hard in simple things in the busy areas of removing the water column availability at Gosford #2 platform and at Hawkesbury river? Where's the next Column available beyond the one in Gosford 1&2 loco roads which are often blocked by stabled EMU's

Wasted assets is basically what is on show. or not on show really
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

I have made the trip from Newcastle to Thirlmere several times taking my grandchildren with me, but it is just too far to consider this as anymore than a rare visit.
Since the introduction of Trainworks a lot of the exhibits are no longer accessible.
10 years ago the children could sit in the cab of most of the locos but this is no longer the case, probably due to vandalism I suppose.
What a great tourist attraction a similar museum to Trainworks would have been had it been closer to the CBD but alas real estate prices will always dictate that this cannot happen
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
I have made the trip from Newcastle to Thirlmere several times taking my grandchildren with me, but it is just too far to consider this as anymore than a rare visit.
Since the introduction of Trainworks a lot of the exhibits are no longer accessible.
10 years ago the children could sit in the cab of most of the locos but this is no longer the case, probably due to vandalism I suppose.
What a great tourist attraction a similar museum to Trainworks would have been had it been closer to the CBD but alas real estate prices will always dictate that this cannot happen
Showtime
Very likely the access today is restricted to the cab is due to insurance coverage as you can bet all you need is one kid or adult to fall over or bruise themselves on something and the Group gets sued.
  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hello a6et and others,

Interesting how modern rail managements are generally antipathetic to rail enthusiasm. Probably part of the I know everything and I will ensure that by locking out those who may know an equal amount or more.

Some years ago I attended a lecture by a former Festiniog volunteer who said their railway had developed a series of programmes to encourage a develop new and young volunteers. This has been so successful that other UK preserved railways have adopted at least some of these programmes. One programme that Festiniog has ongoing succes with is multi skilling platform and on train volunteers in all aspects of train operation. As a result their volunteers are now sought out by the Train Operating companies due to their experience and flexibility. The fact that York Museum cannot keep up with demand for engineering apprentices is also a positive development. Hopefully those who miss out find another employee willing to give then ago.

Like a6et and others the State owned utilities once provided excellent training facilities and jobs, pretty much all gone now, especially as private business will readily poach fully trained staff but refuses point blank to any training themselves , unless there is a tax deduction and many businesses have learned to effectively scam those arrangement for profit.

Best wishes and regards, Radioman

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