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3801 LTD Briefing Paper to Volunteers, 27th October 2006

[This Briefing Paper was produced by 3801 Ltd and given to Volunteers and staff at a special meeting on 27th October 2006. It provides an update on the issues facing 3801 Ltd, its staff and volunteers].
  • Widespread public concern regarding the future of 3801 Limited, the Large Erecting Shop Eveleigh arid locomotive 3801.
  • Legal opinion from. Piper Alderman:

1.       Locomotive 3801 is owned by the NSW Government.

2.       The NSW Rail Transport Museum as a previous custodian has no legal rights in this matter.

3.       3801 Ltd as the current custodian has some significant residual legal rights.

4.       On behalf of the Government, it is for the Minister to make a determination regarding the future disposition of locomotive 3801.

  • Minister Watkins announced the O'Rourke Advisory Group "to determine how the 3801 should be best managed in the future and by whom."
  • On 20th September 2006, the 3801 Ltd Board met with the O'Rourke Advisory Group, tabled extensive documentation and presented an exciting new way forward for rail heritage in NSW. This involved the concept of “The Rail Heritage Company Ltd”.
  • On 21st September 2006, 3801 Ltd wrote to Minister Watkins reporting on the meeting with the Advisory Group and requested: -

"ln the meantime, we have a timing problem. As the existing lease comes to an end on 26 November 2006, to enable the existing operations and bookings beyond that date to be maintained pending resolution of all issues to the Government's satisfaction, we request an extension of time to enable the Advisory Group's recommendations to be considered and acted upon. We would need six months to unwind the existing operations in a methodical and responsible manner should the panel decide on such a course of action. We would be grateful. for your assistance in this matter and look forward to your early reply."

No reply has been received to date (27/10/06)

On 26th September 2006, 3801 Ltd wrote to the Premier detailing the concept of The Rail Heritage Company Ltd and requesting the extension of time as in Minister Watkins letter of 21/10/06. No reply has been received to date (27/10/06)

  • On 3rd October 2006, John Hearsch on behalf of the O'Rourke Group undertook a full day of discussions and inspections of 3801 Ltd activities and was favourably impressed.
  • On 18th October, Mr Vince O'Rourke visited the Large Erecting Shop & was taken on an inspection of cars and 3801; freshly painted & being fitted with the new tyres on the leading truck. He was very favourably impressed. Congratulations to the Maintenance team
  • On 23'd October 2006, 380]. Ltd wrote to the Premier (with a copy to the Minister Watkins) as follows: -


We refer to our letter of 28 September 2006 in which we drew your attention to a timing problem with regard to the continuance of the lease of locomotive 3801 to enable our operations and forward bookings to be maintained. To date, we have not received any reply to our letter.

I am afraid that I must now advise that my Board of Directors can sec no alternative than to appoint a voluntary administrator to take over the affairs of the company unless the Government is willing not only to extend the locomotive lease to enable us to continue in service but also to underwrite short-term financial support of up to $300,000 to give us time to restructure our heritage rail operations as discussed with the Minister's Advisory Group. We would need a firm commitment by 31 October. "

No reply has been received to date (27/10/06).

  • On Tuesday 24th October the O'Rourke Group met to finalise their report to the Minister.
  • On Wednesday 26th October, Mr Vince O'Rourke was invited to attend the 3801 Ltd Board meeting to be held on Tuesday 31st October. He declined stating, "the Advisory Committee is still in the process of developing its advice to the Minister and it would not be appropriate for me to attend. It is my intention to meet again with both the Boards of 3801 and RTM as part of our process."

JRG 27/10/06

3801 Limited Suite G01 National Innovation Centre Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh 1430. Postal Address: PO Box 333 Alexandria NSW 1435 Telephone 1300 65 3801, Fax 02 9698 4553 Email: Website: