Loco 3609 Finds a Home

Filed under Heritage & Historical, News, Transport ~ by Press on  16 Jan 2019

A historic 90-year-old steam locomotive built by the NSW Government Railways is travelling by road from Thirlmere to Junee.

Locomotive 3609 at Thirlmere in 1995 in lined black livery, following a repaint in 1988.
Image by kind permission of Australian Steam – follow link for detailed history and more pictures.

The 110-tonne steam locomotive ‘3609’ (36-09 thirty-six-oh-nine) will be a permanent feature at its former base, the Junee Roundhouse, which today operates as a railway museum.

The engine was one of 75 of its type to be built in NSW during the 1920s and one of only three to survive in preservation today.

This is somewhat of a homecoming for 3609,” said Transport Heritage NSW CEO, Andrew Moritz.

36-class steam locomotives regularly worked the railway line between Sydney and Albury on trains travelling to and from Melbourne and as such a number were allocated to Junee.

Thanks to the funding we receive from the NSW Government, we can now return a 36 class to Junee as a way of interpreting the region’s significant transport history.”

The locomotive will be transported by road from the NSW Rail Museum at Thirlmere using three separate trucks and is expected to arrive into Junee sometime Wednesday afternoon before being unloaded at the Junee Roundhouse Railway Museum Thursday morning.

We’re most grateful to Transport Heritage NSW for lending us this significant piece of NSW railway history,” said Regional Heritage Transport Association Curator, Ron Ison.

We can’t wait to spend the time refurbishing the engine so she’s in a condition to be displayed as a key attraction for the museum for years to come.”

Locomotive 3609 (36-09) was built by the NSW Government Railways and entered service in 1928. By the time it was retired in 1965, it had travelled more than 2.5 million kilometres on the NSW rail network.

3609 was one of 75 of this type of locomotive built for the NSW railways. Built to take long-distance passenger services and heavy mail trains and reduce the need to double head locomotives, early trials proved the class had the capacity to work from Sydney to Albury without changing engines which, at the time, was the longest run to be made by a passenger locomotive in Australia. More usually, however, 36 class locomotives worked between Sydney and Junee, and then Junee to Albury on the important Melbourne Limited and Melbourne Express trains, and proved themselves capable of reducing the travelling time on earlier timetables by up to an hour. As such, the class has an important history with the railway depot of Junee.

During a stint hauling the Newcastle Flyer, 3609 was painted green and fitted with the nameplate Hawkesbury for a short period in the 1930s, one of only two 36 class locomotives to officially carry a name while in service. By the end of 1946, it was again in black livery.

The locomotive was set aside for preservation following its removal from revenue service and has been stored at the NSW Rail Museum for decades.

An agreement with the volunteer group Regional Heritage Transport Association based at the Junee Roundhouse has seen asbestos removal occur and the locomotive transported to Junee. The volunteer team there are planning to refurbish it for permanent display in their museum.

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