Links to the past: The Hawkesbury River Express

Today, little do many realise the invaluable assistance that the Indigenous people provided to the fledgling European colony in its early days. Bungoree, of Guringai Nation, was an elder of the saltwater people who lived around Broken Bay. He and his people were excellent navigators of the coastal waterways, so it seemed only natural that their skills and expertise would be of great help in the development of the colony. Realising the value of his knowledge, Bungoree was involved with many ‘voyages of discovery’ including to the Hunter River and Norfolk Island, and perhaps most famously he became the first Australian to circumnavigate his own country when he assisted Matthew Flinders in the expedition of 1802-3.

On a more local level, Bungoree and his people established and traded along a network of well established trackways, which today form a significant part of our current transport network – and included amongst these is the Great Northern Railway. Today, not only does the Hawkesbury River (Deerubbun) Express provide a regular tourist operation to Broken Bay, but also enables some of Bungoree’s direct descendants the opportunity to maintain their connection to the country and share their culture with the national and international visitors. In this way, we are ‘Maroon Oomooliyan Goori Wahroong’ (still caring for our country).

Eveleigh BS: Charging Ahead

It takes a lot of commitment to keep our heritage tourist trains gracing our rails, with services like 3801 Limited’s Cockatoo Run linking the City of Sydney with Wollongong and the Southern Highlands several times each month, making a significant contribution to NSW tourism in so doing. After 30 years of operations, its fortunate that the Eveleigh Projects team have developed the know how to keep the show safely on the road – notwithstanding the surprises that come part and parcel of a running vintage fleet!
Our volunteers are currently mid way through an intensive battery box rebuilding program on each carriage of the running fleet to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of heritage carriages on the rail network.

This work involves stripping the battery box down to the last nut and bolt, and discarding any life expired timber or other components before completely rebuilding the unit. The box illustrated has just been fitted to first class compartment car XBS2158, which is currently in the process of being reactivated at Eveleigh (after many years of storage off-site) for a return to tourist train service.

 

 

Eveleigh is home to a unique team of skilled car builders who form a repository of invaluable knowledge and expertise that is becoming increasingly rare in this day and age. Our volunteers share skills with 3801 Limited, The Heritage Locomotive Company and Lachlan Valley Railway to keep the carriages under the care of each in good maintenance.

With a fresh set of well maintained batteries snug inside the new battery box, we shouldn’t have to look at this again for many years and after many more thousands of kilometres of tourist train travels.

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Stay tuned for more maintenance updates!

Contributor Snapshot

There are a huge number of different ways in which you can help with our restoration efforts at Eveleigh, a number of which may not be immediately obvious. While donations and volunteering are readily apparent, many may not know that there are plenty of other ways to play a part in helping, and to leave a lasting mark in doing so. For instance, here we see two photographic contributions made by Gary Marshall and Paul Hogan, which are proudly displayed in the lounge of CAM502. These two fantastic shots from 1988 illustrate the CAM’s working history as a crew car supporting 3801 and Flying Scotsman during the Bicentennial celebrations, and give some fantastic historical context for passengers in addition to proving a great feature of the carriage interior. 3801 Limited would like to thank Gary and Paul for their generous contributions, and encourage anybody who think they may be able to help in any way, no matter how large or small, to get in touch – your creativity is the limit!

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What’s in a name?

Many followers of the Eveleigh Projects blog would be familiar with our two regular mainline trains – the Cockatoo Run and Hawkesbury River (Deerubbun) Express – but where were their names derived from?

cockatoo-runThe scenic Cockatoo Run from Sydney Central south to Robertson and Moss Vale was a service formerly operated by the then State Rail during the 1980s. At that time, many Black cockatoos adorned the trees on the climb from Unanderra to Summit Tank, leading to the christening of the service among railwayfolk as the Cockatoo Run (the birds have subsequently resettled closer to the city however, having developed an appreciation for domesticated living and the higher echelons of the real estate market in the intervening years!)

By the early 1990s, State Rail were looking for a new operator to take over the service as a tourist train, and in stepped 3801 Limited. The rest, as they say, is history – and the service has proven a mainstay of the company’s operations ever since, having operated formally under the name since its relaunch in 1994, and becoming well known and loved under the banner once coined as a colloquialism for over twenty years.

hawkesbury-river-express-4833The Hawkesbury River Express passes through the land of the Guringai people, whose domain was once bounded to the south by North Head, by the Lake Macquarie entrance to the north, and Mangrove Mountain to the west. Many of the current place names in the area are derived from their dialect, including Cowan (uncle), Patonga (oyster shell), and Woy Woy (deep lagoon). The Guringai name for the Hawkesbury River itself is ‘Deerubbun’, to which the train’s headboard also bears witness. Our next Deerubbun Express departs on the 23rd November – why not take the opportunity to have a fantastic day out and indulge in a journey of cultural enlightenment in the process?

Eveleigh LES Open Day

You’ve all heard about the work that Eveleigh Projects do and followed our various ongoing restorations, but now the chance has finally arrived to come and see them for yourselves! The Large Erecting Shop at Eveleigh will be open on Saturday 22nd October between 10am-4pm, and on display will be a selection of heritage rollingstock, including the carriages featured regularly in this blog. Take a step back in time, enjoy the fruits of our labours and come along to meet the people that make it all happen. Admission is free and access an easy walk from Redfern Station, the LES being situated through the ATP and at the end of Locomotive Street. We look forward to seeing you there!

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MBR2078: A Silver Lining

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Our long-serving Buffet car MBR2078 ‘Woronora’ has recently been treated to a resealing of its roof, a necessary part of the rigorous regular maintenance program which is required to keep our cars in ‘first class’ operating condition, achieved with the support of our long term supplier and supporter Davco. This government owned car is an indispensable and popular fixture in our regular Cockatoo Run and Hawksbury River Express trains which are run for the enjoyment of Sydney tourists each month, and has hosted thousands of local and international tourists while keeping them all well fed – no mean feat when considering it has simultaneously covered thousands of kilometres! It has thus earned itself well deserved facelift indeed.

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With more carriages soon to follow, it is at this point that the Eveleigh Projects team wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to our equally valued, ever reliable suppliers Davco, without whom such ongoing work would not be possible. This November marks an astonishing 30 years that we have been using their Ormonoid Silvershield™ product to seal the roofs on our heritage rollingstock, and it has withstood the rigours and challenges of life ‘on the road’ with great aplomb, as well as looking fantastic to boot! In addition to being an important supplier, Davco is also a proud supporter of 3801 Limited, for which we are most grateful. We will certainly continue to seal the roofs of our carriages using Davco’s Ormonoid Silvershield™, and look forward to appreciating the benefits of its excellent protective finish and weatherproofing performance qualities for some time to come. Cheers guys – here’s to another 30 years!

Next time you’re in the market for primer, waterproofing or adhesives, head to http://www.parexdavco.com.au and pay them a visit!

And now for something completely different…

Our Eveleigh Projects volunteers have recently spent a weekend working on the iconic Red Rattler carriage situated in the Australian Technology Park. Known as a ‘Sputnik’ power car, of late 1950s vintage and having been manufactured by Comeng in Granville, C3704 has stood sentinel inside the gate since the ATP’s inception in 1995 and has functioned invaluably as the office for 3801 Limited. However, some years of relentless 24/7 exposure to the elements had understandably begun to take its toll on the old stalwart of late, so it was decided that it was once again time re-seal the roof of the car, both to maintain appearances and ensure it was kept fully weathertight and functional.

To this end, our fantastic suppliers at Blackwoods and Tremco most generously donated their Brushable Hydroseal to re-seal the carriage roof. Brushable Hydroseal is a heavy bituminous, fibre reinforced, rust inhibiting sealing compound, and is specially designed to be brushed thickly to any surface. When dry, the Hydroseal is tough and waterproof, and possesses excellent weathering qualities. The Australian sun certainly has put the product to the test over the years and we can most definitely attest to its effectiveness for the job at hand! After a couple of days’ work, the car not only looks vastly better than it has in some time, but is also now far better equipped to stand up to the elements for some years to come. Now for the bodywork we suppose… Watch this space!

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3801 Limited gratefully acknowledges and appreciates the ongoing support of Blackwoods and Tremco with our rollingstock projects:

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