April 7th, 2017

Spring 2017 Diesel Gala Lineup

Firstly, apologies for not getting the locomotive lineup out sooner, but its been a challenge to say the least in getting final confirmation of loco availability. However, we are pleased to confirm that the lineup for the weekend of April 22 & 23 will now be:

20001 (Courtesy of Class 20 Locomotive Society)
33002 (Courtesy of South Devon Diesel Traction Ltd.)
117/121 DMU hybrid

Unfortunately due to RSS’s commercial commitments we were unable to secure a suitable Class 08 however we have been promised a ‘winning’ 08 for our September Gala. Class 45 Peak 45132 will be on display and, although not operational, the the loco will be available for cab and engine room visits.

Hopefully, to make up for the loss of the 08, we will have managed to resurrect 03119 and have this shunter be involved in a Gala for the first time in several years; if available, 03119 will do several runs from North Weald to Epping Forest hauling our DMU hybrid.

As usual, we will be running an intensive 3-train-service throughout the weekend, with late running Beerex services on Saturday. All trains will be running in conjunction with our fleet of Heritage buses, which will be operating between Ongar, North Weald, Epping Underground and Shenfield Main Line stations.

Our on train bars will be serving a selection of local draught beers and ciders as well as a range of wines, lagers and soft drinks.

And for those who would like to see the line from the unique vantage point of a loco cab, we will be offering our unique and popular cab rides for a fiver. These can’t be pre-booked, so just approach the driver on the train you wish to travel on. Driver-for-a-Fiver will also be available using 03170 at North Weald.

Gala tickets are on sale now, and any tickets purchased in advance are discounted.

If anyone wishes to attend with a sales stand, then please email Marco via marcoc@eorailway.co.uk

Train and bus timetables, along with locomotive allocations, will soon be available – so watch this space.

April 1st, 2017

Ambitious Extension Plans towards Chelmsford Announced

The Epping Ongar Railway is proud to announce plans to extend its services from Ongar to Dunmow as part of an ambitious plan to complete the line to Chelmsford, a feat that defeated the Great Eastern Counties Railway in the 1860s.

Year on year increases in passenger numbers and plans for the building of large numbers of homes in the local area mean that demand for the Railway’s unique range of steam and diesel heritage services are forecast to soar. To celebrate this the soon to be renamed Epping and Chelmsford Railway has installed a commemorative sign at the existing terminus to signify the birth of this line. The plaque itself was unveiled at a special ceremony earlier in the week.

The Railway remains committed to securing an extension towards Epping but progress on that has been slower than hoped. However civil engineers from an international firm with strong local links discovered the original surveys in an archive. Miraculously most of the proposed track bed is still free meaning that the costs of the scheme are genuinely affordable. The ambitious plans also include an innovative scheme for avoiding any disruption to the Ongar Churchyard and cemetery which thwarted expansion plans in the 19th century and a proposal to relocate the white scorpion colony at Ongar to a specially prepared site closer to their natural habitat in Harlow.

The local councils have given their blessing to the plans as it is felt that this will assist in overcoming local opposition to large house building programmes in the area by demonstrating that these will not inevitably lead to gridlock along the A414 and surrounding areas.

More information about the plans are here .

March 15th, 2017

Steam Gala Cancelled

It is with regret that we announce that, owing to a lack of suitable and available locomotives, our May Bank Holiday Steam Gala has had to be cancelled. As mentioned on our social media channels, it has also been reported that it will not be possible for our flagship steam locomotive, 4953 “Pitchford Hall”, to return to the Railway in time for this event also.

This was a difficult decision to take, as the event is not only one of our most popular annual fixtures, but was also scheduled to mark the fifth anniversary of the EOR operating steam-hauled heritage services; we share our disappointment with all our visitors and followers.

However, we are looking at alternative dates to host a Steam Gala this year, most likely some time during October, as well as our 2018 dates and will post more details as soon as they become available. We thank you for your understanding and support, and hope we will still welcome many of you aboard our railway this year, which is packed full of numerous other special events.

February 1st, 2017

2017 Spring Diesel Gala – First Guest Confirmed

D8001 (Class 20 Loco Society)With preparations well in-hand for for the first of our enthusiast events of 2017, we are delighted to announce that Class 20 D8001 will be appearing at the Spring Diesel Gala on the weekend of 22 & 23 April.

Appearing courtesy of The Class 20 Locomotive Society, D8001 has recently been through a thorough overhaul; you may recall that the same loco was announced as visiting our September 2016 Gala, but had to be withdrawn owing to a fault with the braking system. Yet to be fully confirmed, but we are expecting to see D8001 stay with us beyond this Spring Gala for the best part of 2017.

The volunteers – Diesel Department especially – are looking forward to welcoming the prototype locomotive of the Class 20 to our line for what will no doubt be another great Gala. We’ll have full details in due course, but we expect to see our usual offerings which include driver-for-a-fiver and on-board bars (subject to availability.)

December 12th, 2016

Response to Epping Forest District Council Local Plan Consultation

The Epping Ongar Railway submitted its response to the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) consultation on the draft local development plan.

The Railway’s response stressed the importance of the Epping Ongar Railway as part of the tourism and visitor economy within the EFDC area and in particular the work previously undertaken by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Railways which provided evidence that on average each pound spent at a Heritage Railway resulted in £2.71 spent in the wider economy.

The Railway also requested that the EFDC consider how it can support our ambitions for a safe and viable rail-to-rail interchange at Epping and to ensure that the town plan for Epping Town Centre includes suitable references to this support.

December 5th, 2016

Footbridge proves to be a real success at our Santa Specials

The Epping Ongar Railway ran its first ‘Santa Specials’ services this weekend making full use of its new footbridge. The new footbridge provided a dazzling backdrop for the record number of passengers using it for the first time who took in the great views over North Weald station, the surrounding area and of course the ‘Santa Special Steam Train’.

                                                       Passengers using new footbridge at Santa Specials

The bridge officially opened in September this year and has transformed the way passengers can get around the station. This has allowed the Railway to run longer trains meaning more seats and more passengers can now travel on the Santa Specials.

Dean Walton, Business Development Manager said.

“The work of the volunteers underpins everything that we do at the Epping Ongar Railway. This bridge has allowed us to put more tickets on sale than ever before meaning we have more opportunities to generate cash to invest in maintaining this important heritage railway. However it’s not just about getting in the cash, we’ve also worked on improving the experience for our passengers and it’s working. We’ve had some moving and amazing 5-star reviews and it’s really uplifting to see what the Railway means to our passengers.

First train of season
                                         First train of the 2016 Santa Special Season as seen from the footbridge

Within hours of the passengers leaving the Railway we started to receive excellent five-star reviews on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Trip Advisor and some people even resorted to a more traditional approach and called the Railway to let them know what a great time they had had.

Follow the link here for more information about our Santa Specials.

October 7th, 2016

Footbridge Dedication to the Volunteers and Unveiling of Bridge Plate

Bridge numberplate, North Weald Station

Bridge numberplate, North Weald Station

The hard work of the volunteers of the EORVS was recognised today at a special dedication ceremony with John Glover, Chairman of the Ongar Railway Preservation Society and Bill Dale, Chairman of the Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Society. The two chairmen unveiled an information board telling the story from its original home in Woodford to its new and permanent location at North Weald Station. In addition the bridge plate from its Great Eastern Railway days was unveiled.

Mr John Glover (left) and Mr Bill Dale unveil the new information board at the North Weald Footbridge

Mr John Glover (left) and Mr Bill Dale unveil the new   information board at the North Weald Footbridge

During the ceremony, Mr Glover commented that had the bridge been installed by a commercial contractor it may have cost upwards of £500,000, a fraction of the cost of installing it here and a clear demonstration of the dedication shown by the volunteers in restoring the bridge.

Mr Dale explained that the bridge had been donated to the EORVS many years and he was proud to have seen their hard work over the years to repair and install the bridge.

Pieces of the original bridge have been kept and turned into a quirky piece of artwork – surely worthy of display in Tate Modern!

John Glover admires the 'artwork' made from pieces cut out of the bridge

John Glover admires the ‘artwork’ made from pieces                         cut out of the bridge