A Look Back at Ongar: 6th October 2013
Prepared by Ian Smith, 13th October 2013.
North Weald to Ongar and back: 205205With a sandwich from the buffet car I hopped onto the Thumper for another round trip to Ongar and back. Thump-thump-thump-... The big English Electric diesel engine took us up the line to Ongar. There I persuaded the crew to put up a 22 headcode, as used on the Hastings to Charing Cross express trains: with four of these engines per twelve-car train they had as much power as a Deltic, and really shifted, especially down the bank from Elmstead Woods to Hither Green. We trundled back to North Weald much more sedately.
Back at North Weald I looked across the wall to the loco depot, where another veteran from the Hastings line, BRCW Type3 Slim Jim 33202, was resting. It was obscured by the fuel tank, and I could not get a cleare view.
Also in the depot was Derby Sulzer Type 2 D7523, while English Electric Type 3 D6729 was resting in the station bay.
North Weald to Ongar: 4141GWR Prairie tank 4141 was now waiting to take out its train to Ongar. I changed platforms and settled in to one of the Mark II coaches. How luxurious it felt to have a whole seating bay, with a whole window and plenty of leg-room. Compared with most modern trains with their airline style tombstone seats cramped together this is a different world. Have designers forgotten what train travel is about, or have the bankers such a tight grip on everything that they can ruin even train travel? Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the smooth ride up to Ongar behind the softly chuffing Suburban tank engine.
339: Ongar Station to Two Brewers: RT3871From the comprehensive bus & train timetable issued by the railway I had worked out that I should be able to catch the 339 from the station stop, along to the terminus at The Two Brewers. So I did not delay once I had alighted from the train. I walked up the slope past the other diesel mechanical shunter, plinthed to advertise the railway.
I crossed the roasd to the bus-stop. I did not have long to wait before the red RT arrived to carry me south along Ongar High Street to the Two Brewers.
339: Ongar (Two Brewers) to Epping : RT3871
From the Two Brewers we returned along Ongar High Street and called at the station stop to pick up more passengers. We climbed the bank up to join the A414 for the spin westwards. We picked up some local passengers. It seems that the ordinary service bus had not turned up - again. "They are always breaking down - but these are reliable", was one comment. At The Talbot we turned left into North Weald, and rolled through the village to reach the station, where we pulled up alongside RT1700 on the opposite working.
We were not there for long. We were quickly heading west, past North Weald Aerodrome and under the motorway. We passed the lane to Coopersale, and continued through the end of Epping Forest to reach Epping. We trickled down the High Street. Not a service bus to be seen. We turned left to descend the hill towards the station, then right into the station approach. I watched the bus turn, then caught the Central Line back to Stratford.
Many thanks to Roger Wright and all the drivers, conductors and other staff at the Epping Ongar Railway. Your railway is looking good, and has come a long way in a year.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.