Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum


3214 was a static exhibit when photographed in the NSWRTM Thirlmere display shed on 17 March 2003.


Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester

Builder’s Number & Year

3413 of 1892

Wheel Arrangement


No. in class



This fine locomotive represents the New South Wales Government Railways’ famous P(6) class passenger engines, one of Australia’s most successful locomotive types and the backbone of the NSWGR passenger fleet for many decades.  These fast and versatile engines were designed by Chief Mechanical Engineer William Thow in conjunction with Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester, with an initial order for 50 locomotives.  The type were immediately successful and grew to 191 examples over a period of 19 years, with most lasting in service until replacement by diesel-electric locomotives in the 1960’s.

Preserved engine 3214 was the fourteenth of the original order for 50 locomotives, entering service as P 492 on 15 June 1892, later being renumbered to P 465 and finally becoming 3214 of the (C)32 class in the 1924 renumbering scheme.  3214 was upgraded with a superheated boiler in August 1920 and received new frames in September 1939.  (After several decades of service, frame cracks emerged as a problem with the P(6) / (C)32 class.)

While most of the 191 class members were withdrawn and scrapped in the mid-1960’s, 3214 was one of a handful that survived into the 1970’s before its turn for condemnation came on 2 March 1970.  Fortunately 3214 was retained for the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum (NSWRTM) at Enfield No.1 Roundhouse, from where it was maintained as an operational exhibit and used on various tour trains around the state.  Alas the NSWRTM was later evicted from the Enfield roundhouse to make way for a proposed container depot, with 3214 assisting with relocation to the new museum site at Thirlmere by hauling 3830 and some other exhibits on its delivery run of 20 June 1975.

3214 wore an attractive lined maroon livery in the late 1970's and towards the end of its running days it also sported a decorative smokebox star as a reminder of 32 class operations on the Newcastle Express during the 1920’s.  The webmaster has fond memories of 3214 during this period, in particular some sparkling runs to Thirlmere with the NSWRTM’s string of end-platform cars (DUB set 63); the acceleration and speed of a P(6) / (C)32 often surprised me and served as an example of the revolution over horse-powered travel achieved by the introduction of steam railways.  Alas 3214 was withdrawn from operation in 1982 due to deteriorating boiler condition and the loco was placed on static display in the Thirlmere train shed.  In 1988 the rather worn and faded lined maroon livery was replaced by a quick spray coat of basic black.

Around 2005, loco 3214 was relocated to the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum, where it now occupies one of the roundhouse bays.  My visit of 28 August 2010 found 3214 receiving cosmetic repainting and static restoration by a team of volunteers.  A major achievement in 3214’s restoration was the removal of old boiler lagging by specialist contractors in June 2015, with the boiler clothing now being reapplied and the loco prepared for repainting as a prime exhibit at Valley Heights.  I understand that 3214 will be turned out in the attractive lined green livery that it wore in the 1940’s.

The website for the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum provides further historical and technical details for the P(6) / C(32) class and their exhibit 3214.

3214 as fondly remembered by the webmaster; wearing lined maroon livery, paired with DUB set 63 and active on main line tours.

If I recall correctly, this 1978 charter tour originated from Gordon and was hauled to Campbelltown by a 422 class diesel-electric.

3214 took over from Campbelltown and sparkled on the run through Menangle Park to Picton and then upgrade to Thirlmere.

3214 is seen here glistening in the afternoon sun at Thirlmere, having just been serviced in the running shed.

An exhilarating return run from Picton to Campbelltown followed.



"Locomotives of Australia" by Leon Oberg, published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd, 1982 reprint


"A Compendium of New South Wales Steam Locomotives" compiled by Alex Grunbach,

published by the Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division, 1989.


‘Steam Locomotive Data’ July 1974 edition, compiled by J. H. Forsyth for the

Public Transport Commission of NSW.


"Standards In Steam - The 32 Class" by R. G. Preston,

published in 1987 by the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum.


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Page updated:  28 September 2015

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