Steam Gala featuring 2999 Lady of Legend26, 27, 28 April
Our annual steam gala takes place on 26, 27 and 28 April, with an intensive steam hauled service in operation.
The home fleet of steam locomotives, along with star visiting locomotive 2999 "Lady of Legend" and possible other visiting locomotives, come out to be put through their paces over some of the most challenging gradients in preservation.
- STAR GUEST LOCOMOTIVE, recreated Great Western Railway Saint class locomotive 2999 LADY OF LEGEND, courtesy of the Great Western Society
- Additional visiting locomotives to be announced
- Great Western Railway Hall class locomotive 4953 Pitchford Hall
- Great Western Railway priarie locomotive, L150 (5521) in London Transport maroon livery
- Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0 saddle tank, number 3437 "Isabel"
An intensive service will operate, during which the engines will need to work hard on our challenging gradients. Services will additionally run until late evening on Saturday.
All trains will be running in conjunction with our fleet of vintage London buses, which will provide connections with Epping Underground and Shenfield National Rail stations.
Our on train bars will be also be open, serving a selection of draught beers, as well as a range of wines, lagers and soft drinks.
LNER Cafe at North Weald and the Buffet Stop at Ongar
Our catering outlets will be open all day. Hot snacks and other light refreshments and hot and cold drinks are available at the LNER Cafe at North Weald, including breakfast rolls until 11.30; the Buffet Stop at Ongar will be offering hot and cold drinks and other light refreshments.
The Penny Salon Gallery at Ongar station
The Penny Salon Gallery at Ongar station will have a topical photographic display from renowned photogrpahers Geoff Silcock and Malcolm Batten. Admission is free.
Train and bus timetables
Train and vintage London bus times will available closer to the event.
Getting to us
It's easy to get to us via the London Underground and Elizabeth Line and Greater Anglia services. Our inclusive heritage London buses will run from right outside the front of Epping Underground station (Central Line, zone 6) and from Shenfield station (for Elizabeth Line and Greater Anglia services), connecting with our train services at North Weald and Ongar stations. These will connect with the first and last train services, as well as running regularly throughout the day, so you will not miss a minute of the action! Timetables with bus times will be available shortly.
There is only limited car parking for disabled passengers at our stations, which must be booked in advance. Public car parks are available in Ongar (charges may apply), a short walk from the station (use postcode CM5 9AB); Alternatively passengers may park at Epping Station (charges apply) and join our heritage bus service (use postcode CM16 4HW).
We encourage you to use your camera and video for personal use on our station platforms and designated foot crossings. For your own and our staff's safety, please do not leave the public areas or trespass on the lineside areas.
Fares to be announced. All our tickets offer unlimited travel on all train and heritage bus services on the day of your visit.
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About the visiting locomotives
Recreated Great Western Railway Saint class locomotive, 2999 Lady of Legend
4The Saint class locomotives were introduced by the Great Western Railway (GWR) from 1902. They served for half a century, but all were scrapped by 1953. The Great Western Society (GWS) has rebuilt a Saint using a later development of the class, rescued from a scrapyard, as a donor locomotive for the boiler and frames.
2019 saw the completion of a project, 45 years in the making, to build locomotive 2999 using parts from 4942 ‘Maindy Hall’ (one of the classes developed from the Saint design). No. 4942 had been purchased in the early 1970s with the specific purpose of recreating a Saint, by reversing the process the GWR had used in 1925 when the prototype Hall Class was produced by the conversion of ‘Saint Martin’, but early attempts floundered and the prospect of success remained a dream until 1995 when the project started in earnest.
For decades, the project had been considered beyond the capability of preservationists and prohibitively expensive. Major new components include three new driving wheel sets, as the Halls had 6ft drivers while the high stepping Saints sported driving wheels of 6ft 8½in diameter. Two bogie wheel sets were cast to the correct 3ft 2in size and two identical ‘half’ cylinder blocks were cast to recreate the inside cylinders fed by a straight steam pipe that was integral to the Saint design. The lever reverse was also made from scratch while the frames from No. 4942 were extensively modified and strengthened. Many other components, including the boiler, were refurbished, while still more came from surviving parts from other GWR locomotives – further testament to the far-sighted Swindon practice of standardisation. Parts include a connecting rod from 2906 ‘Lady of Lynn’ and the whistle from 2910 ‘Lady of Shalott’ and the chimney from a 68XX Class.
The new locomotive has been numbered 2999, taking the next number in the sequence allocated to the Saints – the previous one, 2998 ‘Ernest Cunard’, having been outshopped in 1913! The winning entry in the competition to name the locomotive was ‘Lady of Legend’ as it evokes the GWR practice of naming early members of the class after mythological or historical ladies.