London’s heritage railway plans its biggest diesel gala to date with 9 locomotives in action!10th August 2023
The Epping Ongar Railway is preparing for its biggest diesel event to date, with 9 locomotives expected to star at its Autumn Diesel Gala being held between 22 and 24 September.
Class 25 locomotive, D7659 (25309) has already been announced as a visiting locomotive, and it will be joined by two more visitors with class 14, D9516, normally based at Didcot Railway Centre, and class 20 locomotive, 20227 courtesy of the Class 20 Locomotive Society. The visiting locomotives will be working an intensive 3 train service, alongside the railway’s own varied fleet of locomotives, 20001, 31438, 37029 and 47635.
The line up is completed by shunting locomotives, class 03 D.2170, and class 08, 08114 and the event offers a rare opportunity to travel behind these two locomotives which are mainly used for shunting activity and maintenance trains.
The event is expected to see the last public use of class 31 locomotive, 31438, for a period of time as it will then be taken out of traffic for essential maintenance work to take place.
20227, which last visited the Railway in 2021, carries London Transport maroon livery so will be a fitting visitor to the line which operates over a former part of the London Underground network. It will be reunited with its sister locomotive, 20001, and in a first for the Epping Ongar Railway, the locomotives are expected to work in multiple throughout the gala.
Class 14 locomotive D9516, which spent just 3 years under British Rail ownership, before spending some time working at the steelworks at Corby, is making its first visit away from Didcot Railway Centre in nearly 10 years.
Marco Carrara, diesel gala organiser, said: “We’re delighted to have managed to continue our tradition of providing a varied range of diesel traction for our diesel event. We’re grateful to the owners of the visiting locomotives for allowing them to join the event. It’s the first time we have operated this number of locomotives at one event and will provide a real showcase of diesel power as they work hard hauling trains over our challenging gradients which are some of the steepest in preservation.
“Recognising the increased cost of living, we have been able to hold our ticket prices at 2022 levels, allowing enthusiasts and families alike to have an enjoyable day out without breaking the bank.”
A fleet of vintage London buses will also be running throughout the event providing connections with all the Railway’s train services to Epping Underground station. Some buses will also provide connections with Shenfield station.
Tickets are now on sale.