Epping & Ongar Railway (EOR) New Years Eve 2014
As seemed to be tradition at the Epping & Ongar Railway over the New Year period loco-hauled services were operated and for a second year in succession and 31438 featured. It was advertised to operate in T&T mode with 37029 on both New Years Eve and New Years Day but had actually been pressed into service earlier in the week when it covered for the non-availability of steam on the Ongar – North Weald services on both 27th & 28th December; it would also do the same again on both 3rd & 4th January 2015.
Having already proved itself prior to the main event, 31438 was let loose on the Ongar end of the set, with 37029 on the Coopersale end, on New Years Eve and would have the honor of being the last class 31 to work during 2014; which would see it operating over the whole length of the line for a change, during both days.
Thankfully the ETH worked on 31438 and the stock soon heated up, on what turned out to be a cold and quite miserable day really. Due to the cold morning and damp conditions 31438 struggled to get to grips with its train on the first trip up from Coopersale and for the rest of the day was driven by a gnome who barely managed to get to full power before having to shut off at line speed; this being a big shame as since its overhaul 31438 is a very good engine but wasn’t allowed out of its box on this occasion unfortunately. Still it was a good day, with mulled wine and mince pies on offer throughout the day, and I was pleased with my first visit to the railway. Getting there was also made easy with the free connecting heritage bus which departs right outside Epping underground station; see the EOR website for the bus timetable.
31438 worked the following on 31st December 2014:
1112 Coopersale – Ongar, 1232 Coopersale – North Weald, 1312 Coopersale – Ongar, 1432 Coopersale – North Weald, 1502 Coopersale – Ongar
All trains were top & tail with 37029 on the Coopersale end of the stock; which worked everything in the Coopersale direction