Stored at Trainworks, Thirlmere


3616 within the display hall at the NSWRTM Thirlmere on 6 March 2005; at this stage it was displayed behind 3609 at the head of a mail train.

The Giesl ejector is partially obscured by a weather cover and the connecting rods have been removed.



The Clyde Engineering Co Ltd,

Granville NSW



Builder’s Number & Year

400 of 1927



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class



Successors to the (C)35 class 4-6-0 on top passenger duties where the larger and more powerful (C)36 class, designed by New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) under CME E. Lucy for hauling the newly introduced stock of heavy passenger carriages without resort to double-heading and with a high capacity tender to allow 100 miles running without stops for servicing.  Passenger duties on NSWGR main lines called for a large, free steaming boiler to meet the demands of steep and curvaceous routes, and the (C)36 class were supplied with large round-top boilers at 180 psi together with 23” diameter pistons and 69” diameter driving wheels producing 30,500 lbs tractive effort, providing good hill climbing and a fast turn of speed.  Walschaerts (outside) valve gear was also specified to make lubrication and maintenance easier.  Construction was divided between the NSWGR Eveleigh Workshops (10) and Clyde Engineering Co, Sydney (65).

The (C)36 class were nicknamed ‘Pigs’ by railwaymen, perhaps due to the appearance of the large diameter boiler and smokebox.  They were superseded on top link passenger trains by the (C)38 class Pacifics from the late 1940’s but found further use on secondary passenger and mail duties, together with some fast freight work.  In time the original round-top boilers became due for renewal and almost all class members were rebuilt in the mid-1950’s with Belpaire boilers at 200 psi, together with new cabs; as rebuilt the traffic effort increased to 33,880 lbs.

Late in the steam era the class were being increasingly used for fast freight, banking and pick-up good services, leading to crew complaints about heavy reversers, so six class members (3638, 3642, 3644, 3651, 3652 & 3654) were fitted with power reverse gear salvaged from withdrawn locomotives of other types.  These six were among the final (C)36’s in revenue service, with 3642 becoming the last when officially condemned on 28 November 1969 but retained for historical purposes.

The authorative ‘Steam Locomotive Data’ (July 1974 edition) provides the following milestones for loco 3616:

In Service:

28 February 1927

Rebuilt with Belpaire boiler

4 November 1953


17 November 1967

Distance Travelled:

2,799,988 km

3616 is one of four (C)36 class locos (together with 3602, 3615 & 3617) painted in Royal Blue with yellow and black lining for duties connected with the 1927 Royal Tour of the Duke and Duchess of York.  However it is better known as the only Australian steam locomotive fitted with a Giesl ejector which is identifiable by the distinctive oblong chimney.  This drafting arrangement was fitted as a trial in 1957 and found to improve steaming & efficiency; 3616 retains this interesting innovation to this day.  However the NSWGR did not fit further locomotives with the Giesl ejector, presumably due to licence costs and investment instead being directed towards diesel locomotives.

3616 had been statically restored to lined green livery by NSWRTM volunteers by the early 1970’s and was displayed in this condition at the original NSWRTM Enfield Roundhouse museum site.  I believe 3616 may also have done some limited service as a tour loco early in its preservation career.  It was towed to the new museum site at Thirlmere in 1975 and placed on static display, however the Thirlmere site originally lacked roof over and 3616’s livery became faded and rust-streaked.  In 1988 the loco received a quick spray coat of unlined black to hide this deterioration.

3616 was removed from public display during redevelopment of the Thirlmere museum to become ‘Trainworks’ and has since been stored undercover near the workshop area.  3616 still has its old boiler lagging and I expect this is the reason it is not available for public display.

From time to time there has been discussion among NSWRTM volunteers about returning this loco to service and in recent years some components were removed as part of an assessment for the likely restoration cost (as seen in the photos below).  In the meantime, the old boiler lagging would need to be removed by specialist contractors as the first step to 3616 being returned to static display or for further restoration; hopefully funding can be found for this purpose in the near future.

Another view of 3616 within the display hall at the NSWRTM Thirlmere on 6 March 2005.

The builder's plate attached to the tender paired with 3616.

The older green livery is just visible under the lip of the builder’s plate, following 3616’s quick respray to black in 1988.

Joel Turner has kindly contributed this view of 3616 stored at Trainworks on 10 December 2012.

Some footplating has been removed to provide access to the cylinders.

The air compressor, markers lights and other fittings have also been removed.

I believe this work was associated with 3616 being assessed for suitability for repair.

A closer view of the Giesl oblong ejector.

Photo courtesy of Joel Turner and dated 10 December 2012.



‘Locomotives of Australia - 1985 to 2010’ (Fifth Edition), by Leon Oberg,

published 2010 by Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd.


‘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.


Wikipedia entry for the NSWGR (C)36 class, retrieved 17 March 2016.


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