October 5th, 2015

Jennifer Comes To Ongar

Jennifer, and tank engine, at Ongar

Jennifer has been hired until January to cover the current steam shortage. (Picture: Tony Goulding)

The Epping Ongar Railway has agreed a hire, courtesy of the Llangollen Railway Trust, for the Hunsley & Clarke built 0-6-0 tank engine, Jennifer.  The locomotive will be with us until next year, and will feature in the New Year Gala on 1 & 2 January 2016.

Built by Hudswell Clarke & Co in 1942, she spent her working life as Samuel Fox & Co Ltd’s No. 20. Jennifer was donated to Llangollen Railway Trust Ltd. in 2001.

September 23rd, 2015

Diesel Running Days – 26 & 27 September

We will be running a diesel-only service this weekend, using visiting loco 33202 on Saturday 26, and our own class 37 (D6729) on Sunday 27.

33202 will also operate Saturday’s evening dining train.

A recent boiler inspection highlighted that our large Prairie, 4141, needs some unexpected maintenance, before it can be put to work again. We don’t yet have a clear timescale for when this work will be completed. In the meantime, we are in communication with our contacts in the heritage railway industry for a short-term hire, that will allow us to continue to run steam until either 4141 is back in traffic, or our smaller saddle-tank engine, Isabel, completes her overhaul.

August 16th, 2015

Runaway Success For 3rd Real Ale Fesitval!

After having to organise additional beer deliveries, the 3rd Epping Ongar Railway Beer Festival, held at North Weald station, has been declared a runaway success. Over the first weekend of August, visitors sampled their way through 74 casks of ale, and 20 boxes of cider – nearly double the amount of last year’s festival.

Suiting ale-related attire

Volunteers behind the on-board bar; note Alex’s suiting attire.

Each day this this year, the crowds were entertained with music, with bands appearing on the train both Friday and Saturday evenings.

On board entertainment

‘Stumble Fingers’ and ‘The Dog Jammers’ entertained passengers throughout the weekend.

As is tradition, drinkers had the chance to pick their favourite tipple – this time going to One Mile End brewery for their ale Hospital Porter. Attendees also donated over £350 to the Friends of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice, our nominated charity for the weekend.

Busy Bar, Busy marquee

The marquee was packed on Saturday – extra casks had to be ordered to meet demand.

If you missed out, don’t worry – our on train bar, The Flag and Whistle, is open for all special events, dining trains and even some Saturdays. Please use the enquires email for more information.

August 13th, 2015

Building Bridges

Many of our recent visitors will have noticed the changes at the Eastern end of North Weald station. With donations nearing our target – including one very generous and substantial amount, for which we are extremely grateful – work has begun on the footbridge, and is progressing at a rapid pace.

After much “behind-the-scenes” planning, the stretcher plates have been fitted, and coated with protective red-oxide, before the final green top coats applied. The platform 2 side of the bridge has also had the top rail installed.

At 12:42 on August 12 2015, our first shipment of wood arrived. Whilst this is a short while off being installed, it just goes to show how your donations have helped bring this project closer to completion.

Footbridge wood is delivered

Special Delivery – the wooden planking arrives for the footbridge.

The wood will be stored, and treated prior to being fitted.

The wood will be stored, and treated prior to being fitted.

Stretcher Plates affixed

Meanwhile, the stretcher plates have been fitted to both sides of the bridge.

Platform 2 side nearing completion

Platform 2 has also had the top railing attached. The lattice panels will been installed presently.

We’re all excited to see the completed bridge, and will keep you updated with developments.

(Photographs courtesy of Gregory Kiteos)

June 14th, 2015

Diesel Days

Fantastic news for fans of our diesel fleet – our classes 31 and 37 are now poised to work services on the last two Saturdays of June (20 and 27), then every weekend* in July, alongside the regular timetabled steam service.

Class 37 in the woods

The class 37 is coming out to play!

Thanks to the success and fantastic support that has been shown at our Diesel Galas, the Diesel Department has been given the opportunity to get their big toys out again, across 6 weekends in June and July 2015.

BOTH engines will be working on Saturdays during this period, top and tailing all services to Epping Forest, whilst alternating on the diesel diagram trips to Ongar. In addition, Sundays in July* will see ONE of the two locos operating the diagram’s round trips from North Weald, with resident Thumper 205205 remaining on Epping Forest shuttles throughout.

31438 will take charge of Sundays July 5 and 26, with 37029 operating on Sunday July 19.

Class 31 loco at North Weald

31438 will also be in service across the next six weekends.

Our rover tickets are – as always – valid all day on all of these dates, so with a steam service alongside, and vintage buses running to Epping and Shenfield stations, they are excellent value for money.

We look forward to welcoming you aboard some heritage diesel traction.

June 11th, 2015

Richard Goulding

Richard Black 5

Richard Goulding on the Black 5

One of the Railway’s volunteers, Richard Goulding, died suddenly on the evening of 21 May at home. Richard will be remembered in part for the restoration alongside his son, Anthony, of not one, but two Andrew Barclay tank engines.

The first was No. 8 Andrew Barclay 2157 built in 1943. The restoration took place at Mangapps Railway Museum over 5 years from August 1999. No. 8 remains the mainstay of steam operations at Mangapps.

Subsequently the father and son team turned their attention to another Andrew Barclay engine, ‘Victory’. This is an ex-dockyard locomotive built in 1945 – an Andrew Barclay build 0-4-0ST built to the standard 12” class pattern. In preservation it worked at the Epping Ongar Railway, made a fitting appearance at the Chatham Dockyard and presently resides at the Whitwell and Reepham Railway.

In addition to his work in restoration, Richard was a lifelong volunteer in the heritage railway movement having spent time at a number of railways including Mangapps, East Anglian Railway Museum (Chapel and Wakes Colne), Colne Valley Railway, Havering Model Railway club and latterly the Epping Ongar Railway.

Richard joined the Epping Ongar Railway in late 2011 and was pivotal in providing technical advice on the purchase of the Railway’s Hall class locomotive, Pitchford Hall, and repairing Isabel ensuring she was fit for service with the EOR. He was one of the Railway’s first drivers and the Railway was privileged that he drove the first passenger
services, hauled by 6430 on 25 May 2012.

Roger Wright, Managing Director of the EOR, said,

“Richard first came to the EOR in 2011 along with the engine he shared with his son Tony. It is fair to say that without Richard the EOR would not be where it is now and for that I am forever grateful. I will miss him and his expertise and I know that the volunteers of the Railway were very sad to hear of his passing.”

Richard will be cremated at Southend Crematorium tomorrow and a large number of the Railway’s volunteers will be attending.

April 27th, 2015

150 Years for the Epping Ongar Railway

Plaque unveiling at Ongar

Left to Right, Mr David Campbell Bannerman MP, Cllr Tony Boyce, Mr Eric Pickles, Mr Roger Wright & Ms Wendy Fisher

On 24 April 2015, the Epping Ongar Railway celebrated 150 years to the day since the Great Eastern Railway opened the line from Loughton to Ongar.

The Railway welcomed guests from the Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Society, children from the Chipping Ongar Primary School, Mr Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Cllr Tony Boyce, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, and David Campbell Bannerman MEP amongst others.

At 10:40 a packed train arrived at Ongar from North Weald to brass music, children waving flags and cheers from the crowd. This was followed by speeches by Mr Pickles, Cllr Boyce, Mr Campbell Bannerman MEP and Mr Roger Wright, Managing Director of the Epping Ongar Railway. This was followed by the unveiling of a commerative plaque at Ongar Station.

Roger Wright, Managing Director said,

“Everyone has worked very hard to restore the line to its present condition over the past few years. However today, when I see the tremendous support there is for the Railway, especially after we have nudged that much closer to Epping Station, I look forward to the next 150 years with pride and to the day when we have a connection with the Underground at Epping.”

The official ceremony was followed by a three day special ‘Eastern Steam Gala’ celebrating the steam locomotives that would have run over the lines operated by the Great Eastern Railway and its successors. This event was a great success and attendance at the event was very high.

Dean Walton, Business Development Manager said,

“We knew it was important to mark this event and hoped that it would be a fantastic three days and it has been. We are delighted by the support from enthusiasts and local people. The Railway is holding a second 150th Anniversary-themed event at the end August which will be a Victorian Bank Holiday Weekend.

Dave Horsley, Chief Mechanical Engineer, said:

“The steam crews have worked hard over the past three days to an intensive timetable. We have all enjoyed working the visiting locomotives, the J72, Y7 and N2. The N2 will stay with us until late August.”

“My attention is now turning to our ‘Western’ – themed gala on 5-7 June. We have already confirmed 7820 ‘Dinmore Manor’, the GWR Pannier Tank 6430. I am in discussions with the owners of a third locomotive but can’t confirm which loco that is yet.”