This week the railway has welcomed three additions to its fleet. 03 119 has arrived from the West Somerset Railway, and has been unloaded at North Weald. The team have been fitting new starter motors to this, and hope she will be “in traffic” next week. (Photos of 03119 courtesy of Sean Sharples)
In addition the 3CIG 1498 has also been loaded coach by coach and transported from Swanage Railway to Epping Ongar (Photo courtesy of Simon Hanney), where it has been reunited into the three car set. The plan is to use the 3CIG, with the addition of green TSO 4925 when needed, to form an air braked set to run with heritage diesels.
The Thumper has been released with the rails finally connected to Platform 2 at Ongar, and moved under its own power out onto the mainline, ready for a trip over the servicing pit prior to running tests. Footage of its first moves under its own power are on EOR TV http://www.youtube.com/user/EORtv1
Work is continuing on our vac braked coaches, as we look towards having a vac rake ready for passengers next year.
Meanwhile away from the rolling stock, work is continuing on the all-important infrastructure, including the signalling, and we are pleased to have received the original Ongar lever frame, which was saved from North Woolwich by ORPS and has been made available to EOR. This 30 lever Saxby & Farmer frame has been lifted back into position in a signalbox at Ongar, and the flooring altered in the former Spellbrook signalbox to accommodate access hatches to the locking trays. Many of the signals Ongar box will control are now in position, many being restored prior to their install and some are original SGE searchlight signals, which were once common all over East Anglia, indeed our Class 31 & 37 will be familiar with the very signals we have installed from working through their former home at Colchester! Work on the signalling of North Weald is also progressing well, with all the platform starter semaphore signals now installed and over the next few weeks these will be connected to the lever frame.
Work is continuing on the track, with the team working to replace sleepers down the line, within the new track formations and through the stations, in readiness for our tamper to do its stuff, as we get the line ready to run regular services.
The team continues to grow, we always have a warm welcome for a new face, and we are especially grateful to those who come down in all weathers, as we put in place the last few elements that go to make a safe, successful and interesting heritage railway for all tastes.