NSW Rail Museum

The NSW Rail Museum is the main railway museum in New South Wales, Australia. A division of Transport Heritage NSW, it was previously known as the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum (NSWRTM) and Trainworks.[1]

NSW Rail Museum
Location in New South Wales
Former name
  • New South Wales Rail Transport Museum
  • Trainworks
Established1962 (1962)
Location10 Barbour Road, Thirlmere, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates34°12′23″S 150°34′10″E
TypeRailway museum
Nearest car parkOn site

Transport Heritage NSW has divisions located in Thirlmere, New South Wales, where the NSW Rail Museum is dedicated to displaying locomotives, passenger cars, and freight rolling stock formerly operated by the New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) and various private operators. The Blue Mountains division is located at the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum. The collection features steam, diesel and electric locomotives and other rolling stock. A large proportion of the collection is owned by Transport for New South Wales.

  • At Thirlmere, the NSW Rail Museum operates steam heritage trains on the Picton – Mittagong railway line between Picton, Thirlmere and Buxton. It also hosts the Thirlmere Festival of Steam in March each year.
  • In addition to this, Transport Heritage NSW regularly operates mainline tours under the NSW Rail Museum branding. These can consist of day or extended tours, usually over a weekend.
  • At Valley Heights, the co-located Valley Heights Steam Tramway runs an 1890s steam tram and trailer, and a Stephenson loco 0-6-0 CPC2 (built in 1899) with open ended carriage over track in the former roundhouse and associated access tracks.[2]


The NSWRTM was established in October 1962 with 62 members. A survey of potential sites around Sydney found Enfield Locomotive Depot to be the most suitable and in 1963 a successful submission was made to the Department of Railways. Under the arrangement the department would retain ownership of the locomotives and rolling stock and responsibility for their maintenance. As Enfield depot was still active, exhibits were sent to Enfield for storage but not able to be accessed. In 1967 the Department made an area adjacent to Petersham station available to the museum. The first locomotives outshopped were 3526 and 3609 painted blue and green.[3]

In July 1969 the NSWRTM was able to move into Enfield Roundhouse Number 3 with all exhibits transferred by September. In 1970 the museum was able to relocate into the larger Roundhouse Number 1, allowing the majority of the collection to be stored undercover. In October 1972 the display at Enfield was officially opened by Commissioner for Railways, Neil McCusker.[3][4]

The NSWRTM had always maintained a good relationship with the Department of Railways, but in 1973 it was replaced by the Public Transport Commission. The PTC under Commissioner Philip Shirley decided it wanted all steam locomotives, including those owned by preservation organisations, off the network with 3820 operating the NSWRTM's last tour to Taree in 1974. The PTC also decided it wanted nothing to do with maintaining the NSWRTM's collection and handed over the exhibits to the museum under a Deed of Gift.[3]

The PTC also wanted to demolish the Enfield roundhouses to make way for a container terminal and offered the museum a site at Thirlmere on the then lightly used Picton – Mittagong loop line.[3] Site clearing began in late 1974 and works were sufficiently advanced for the transfer of stock to begin in June 1975. While some trains were hauled by diesel locomotives, most were worked by the museum's own steam locomotives.[5]

The NSWRTM opened at its current location in on 1 June 1976.[6] Services on the loop line between Thirlmere and Buxton began on 13 June 1976.[5] Initially uncovered, the first section of roofing was completed in 1979. It was over a decade before the whole site was covered.

The PTC relaxed its ban on main line steam in October 1976. 3801 returned to the main line. By the early 1980s it was operating enthusiast journeys on a regular basis including a monthly service from Sydney Central to Thirlmere.[3]

In 1984 the NSWRTM became a founding member of the 3801 Limited managerial board that was created to oversee the operation of the locomotive 3801. The famous British railway locomotive 4472 Flying Scotsman visited Thirlmere in March 1989 as part of its tour around Australia.[7]

In 1993 the museum concluded a lease for the 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) Picton – Buxton railway line following its closure by the State Rail Authority.[8]

The NSWRTM was removed as a board member of 3801 Limited in November 2006 after the 20-year lease of 3801 was not renewed. The locomotive was returned to the NSWRTM.[9]


In 2006 the Government of New South Wales endorsed the Sustainable Rail Heritage Asset Management Strategy to ensure the collection of the State’s rail heritage assets are maintained and conserved by dedicated volunteers and shared with the public for current and future generations to appreciate and enjoy. In 2007 RailCorp’s Office of Rail Heritage commissioned the development of a concept design for the NSWRTM’s upgrade. This saw ownership in the NSWRTM vested in Trainworks Limited, a 100% subsidiary of RailCorp.[10]

A major redevelopment saw the locomotive depot relocated to a roundhouse built at the southern end of the site opening in November 2009.[11] To create room for stage two of the development of the museum, some of the exhibits were moved to Broadmeadow and Goulburn in 2009. Work on stage two began in December 2009, which included demolition of the existing locomotive maintenance building, construction of a new major exhibits building and other works. The New South Wales Rail Transport Museum re-opened in April 2011.[12]


The museum has over 2,300 members, including an active volunteer workforce of over 400 and a small number of full-time staff.[4] It is administered by a voluntary Board and a Management Committee. The museum is accredited as a rail operator under the NSW Rail Safety Act 2002 meaning it has network access rights on the NSW main line rail network. It also has accreditation to operate in Victoria.[13]


In May 2013, the Minister for Transport announced Transport Heritage NSW, a new not-for-profit company, would be established to manage rail heritage in NSW following an independent review of rail heritage commissioned by the NSW Government. The new company will take responsibility for the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, Trainworks and RailCorp's Office of Rail Heritage.[14][15]

Museum exhibits

The Museum has an extensive collection of railway locomotives, carriages, wagons and other railway equipment from both the NSWGR and privately operated railways:

Steam Locomotives
10210-4-0T saddle tankManning Wardle1896Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 1021
10332-4-0T passenger tankBeyer, Peacock and Company1885Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 1033
10340-4-0T 4T craneDübs and Company1886Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 1034
10640-4-0 3T coal grabAlfred Harmon[16], Melbourne1918Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 1064
12194-4-0 passengerDübs and Company1879BroadmeadowstoredLocomotive, Steam 1219
13014-4-2T passengerBeyer, Peacock and Company1877Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 1301
13084-4-2T passengerBeyer, Peacock and Company1877Valley Heightsparts onlyLocomotive, Steam 1307
17094-4-0 passengerVulcan Foundry1887ThirlmereoperationalLocomotive, Steam 1709
18030-6-0T passengerVulcan Foundry1884ThirlmereThomas the Tank EngineLocomotive, Steam 1803
19050-6-0T goodsBeyer, Peacock and Company1877Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 1905
20292-6-4T passengerEveleigh Railway Workshops1911Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 2029
24192-6-0 goodsDübs and Company1891Goulburn Roundhousestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 2419
25102-6-0 goodsBeyer, Peacock and Company1882Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 2510
26062-6-2ST mixed trafficDübs and Company1891BroadmeadowstoredLocomotive, Steam 2606
27052-6-0 mixed trafficHunslet Engine Company1913ThirlmereoperationalLocomotive, Steam 2705
30014-6-0 mixed trafficBeyer, Peacock and Company1903Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 3001
31374-6-4T passengerEveleigh Railway Workshops1916Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 3137
32034-6-0 passengerBeyer, Peacock and Company1891BroadmeadowstoredLocomotive, Steam 3203
32144-6-0 passengerBeyer, Peacock and Company1891Valley Heightsstored
35264-6-0 passengerEveleigh Railway Workshops1917ThirlmereIn serviceLocomotive, Steam 3526
36094-6-0 passengerEveleigh Railway Workshops1928ThirlmereStoredLocomotive, Steam 3609
36164-6-0 passengerEveleigh Railway Workshops1928ThirlmereStored
36424-6-0 passengerClyde Engineering1926ThirlmereBeing OverhauledLocomotive, Steam 3642
38014-6-2 express passengerClyde Engineering1943Thirlmeremajor overhaulLocomotive, Steam 3801
38204-6-2 express passengerEveleigh Railway Workshops1947Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 3820
50962-8-0 goodsClyde Engineering1907BroadmeadowstoredLocomotive, Steam 5096
54612-8-0 goodsClyde Engineering1915Valley Heightsstatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 5461
55952-8-0 goodsClyde Engineering1912Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 5595
57114-8-2 goodsClyde Engineering1929Valley Heightsstatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 5711
59082-8-2 goodsBaldwin Locomotive Works1952Goulburn Roundhousestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 5908
59102-8-2 goodsBaldwin Locomotive Works1952Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 5910
59162-8-2 goodsBaldwin Locomotive Works1952Goulburn Roundhousesectioning proposed
60404-8-4+4-8-4 goodsBeyer, Peacock and Company1956Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 6040
180-6-0 mixed trafficRobert Stephenson and Company1865Thirlmerestatic exhibit
780-4-2 mixed trafficEveleigh Railway Workshops1877Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam 78
PWD 790-6-0 Saddle TankHunslet Engine Company1938Thirlmerestatic exhibitLocomotive, Steam PWD79
20N0-6-0 ST mixed trafficKitson and Company1870Newcastle Museumstatic exhibitlong-term loan .[17]
Jack0-4-0TKrauss-Maffei1908Lake Macquarie Light Railoperationalleased[18]

Other Locomotives

  • 40 Class diesel locomotive 4001 (operational)
  • 41 Class diesel locomotive 4102 (Broadmeadow)
  • 42 Class diesel locomotive 4201 (repair completed to traction motors at Maintrain as of 2017) (operational)
  • 43 Class diesel locomotive 4306 (operational-stored awaiting repairs)
  • 44 Class diesel locomotives 4403 and 4490 (operational)
  • 442 Class diesel locomotive 44211 (operational limited duties)
  • 45 Class diesel locomotive 4520 (needing repairs)(operation)
  • 46 Class electric locomotive 4601 (Valley Heights), 4638 (Broadmeadow)
  • 48 Class diesel locomotive 4803 and 4807 (operational)
  • 49 Class diesel locomotive 4916 (under restoration and repair )
  • 71 Class electric locomotive 7100 (Broadmeadow)
  • 73 Class diesel hydraulic locomotive 7350 (operational) (Broadmeadow)
  • 86 Class electric locomotive 8646
  • X200 Class diesel hydraulic locomotive X206 (operational) (Valley Heights)
  • D1 (operational)
  • CPH 18 (operational)
  • RM 623/723 (under restoration at Goulburn) on loan to Lithgow State Mine
  • 3016 and CPH 27 (operational) (on loan from Capitol Region Heritage Rail)
  • 6029 (operational)
  • 3830 (under restoration)
  • 3265 (operational)


See also


  1. Bennett, David (January 2017). "Introducing the NSW Rail Museum Brand". Roundhouse. Vol. 54 no. 1.
  2. "Tram 103a at Valley Heights Steam Tramway". Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  3. "The New South Wales Rail Transport Museum; The First Thirty Years" Roundhouse January 1994; page 4
  4. "About The NSW Rail Transport Museum". Archived from the original on 22 February 2013.
  5. "Museum on the Move" Roundhouse July 1976 page 5
  6. Geier, Matthew (1996). "New South Wales Rail Transport Museum". Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  7. "Gala Day 1989" Roundhouse April 1989 page 28
  8. "Rail Transport Museum Set to Lease Loop Line" Railway Digest August 1993 page 316
  9. 3801 Limited RTM Mail February 2006
  10. Annual Report 2010/11 RailCorp 30 June 2011
  11. Upgrade Evolution Trainworks
  12. "Museum Development Upgrade Information". NSW Rail Transport Museum. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  13. Accredited Rail Operators Transport Safety Victoria
  14. Fixing the trains: A fresh start for Rail Heritage Transport for NSW 17 May 2013
  15. Rail Heritage Review - All Aboard! A fresh start for Transport Heritage in NSW Transport for NSW 17 May 2013
  16. Alfred Harmon
  17. "Steam engine returns to Newcastle". www.theherald.com.au. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  18. "Jack". lmlr. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
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