3801 was established in 1985 to manage locomotive 3801 and associated rolling stock. At that time its restoration was nearing completion at the former State Dockyard site in Newcastle. Out of trade apprentices worked on this restoration for over a three year period under the direction of the Hunter Valley Training Company. In November 1986, 3801 entered service and operated as the flagship of the Company for the next 20 years.
In 1988, 3801 and its train became the Bicentennial Train for Railways of Australia and operated tours to all the mainland capitals as part of the celebrations. In the latter part of 1988 and much of 1989, Flying Scotsman joined 3801 Limited and ran many very successful tours around NSW and beyond. In excess of 500, 000 passengers were carried by the Company during this 20 year period.