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Legendary locamotives purchased by railway line

Legendary locamotives purchased by railway line

TWO legendary locomotives will soon be steaming through the fields of the district after being purchased by the Epping Ongar Railway.

The GWR Pitchford Hall number 4953, built in 1929, and the GWR Large Prairie 4141, built in 1946, were a frequent site on railways in the country for decades.

However, after the modernisation of the railways in 1963, steam trains were taken off the lines and both engines wound up in a scrap yard in Wales waiting to be broken down.

After being rescued and lovingly preserved by an expert restorer, both trains are now making their way to the Epping Ongar Railway, which is set to open in the spring, where they will be used to introduce new generations to the wonders of steam travel.

Simon Hanney, who is the railway society’s secretary, said: “They will be a lovely centrepiece for the railway. People will be able to come and appreciate the power and grandeur of our railway heritage.

“Steam trains like this rarely come up for sale and you rarely find them in such good conditions. There are only very few examples of locomotives like the 4141 left so it is something special to have one.

He said that the trains will be used for daily passenger services on the line, but they also hoped to offer the chance for people to take classes and learn how to drive the trains themselves.

Work on restoring the old Epping-Ongar route began in 2007.

The line began to fall in to disrepair when the regular London Underground service to Ongar stopped in 1994.

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