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Letter from Clover Moore to John Watkins - 12 January 2007

The letter below was sent by the Member for Bligh to the Minister responsible for Rail concerning the treatment and lack of appropriate storage of locomotive 3801 and other heritage carriages removed from the Large Erecting Shop on RailCorp instructions.

The Hon John Watkins MP
Minister for Roads
Level 30 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place

Dear Minister

3801 Locomotive and Carriage Maintenance

I write on behalf of the group Friends of Eveleigh about maintenance of the 3801 Steam Locomotive, which was transferred to the Hunter Valley Training Company in Maitland, and eight heritage carriages transferred to Thirlmere.

Friends of Eveleigh tell me that the 3801 Locomotive has not been safely stored in Maitland. They say that it was initially stored above a pit despite evidence of structural problems. They say that the pit collapsed and could have severely damaged the locomotive. Friends of Eveleigh inform me that in order to repair the pit, the 3801 Locomotive was shifted from the pit to a position only partially under cover, exposing the locomotive to the elements.

I share Friends of Eveleigh's concern that the 3801 Steam Locomotive should be stored in a location that does not risk damage or deterioration.

Friends of Eveleigh tell me that necessary maintenance works were not conducted on the 3801 Locomotive since its transfer. They say that the pistons were not lubricated and the locomotive was not cleaned for 10 days causing ash build ups in the firebox and water in the boiler and tender. I share Friends of Eveleigh's concern that the 3801 should be properly cleaned and serviced to ensure its maintenance as a working steam locomotive.

Could you please ensure that the 3801 Locomotive is safely stored under cover and that necessary maintenance works are carried out?

Friends of Eveleigh tell me that eight heritage railway carriages recently transferred from the Eveleigh Large Erecting Shop in to Thirlmere have not been adequately housed. They say the site does not have enough space to keep all carriages under cover. Friends of Eveleigh tell me that the carriages should be protected from exposure to the elements because wind, rain and dust will damage them.

Could you please ensure that these railway carriages are stored under cover and protected from water and dust?

As former contents of the Large Erecting Shop in Eveleigh, the 3801 Locomotive and the eight heritage railway carriages form part of a current National Heritage application. I share Friends of Eveleigh's concern that the NSW Government should protect this significant heritage.

Could you please inform me what action you have taken in response to the concerns raised by the Friends of Eveleigh?

Yours sincerely,

Clover Moore
Member for Bligh