Finally, D8001 has worked its first gala at the Epping to Ongar Railway last weekend, but the weekend was not without its ups and downs. Anyone who visits the line will be surprised and pleased that the only place thats level on the line is the yard and platform at North Weald, the climb away from the stop at Epping Forest provides an incredible hill start. For me the highlight of the weekend was the train early on Saturday evening with D8001 leading, hauling three packed coaches with the visiting class 33 and 37 at the rear banking. A memorable sight and sound, the photo below hopefully gives a good indication of how hard the loco was working.
Having only worked a couple of test trains at Butterley since last running at the Nene Valley Gala some four years ago, there were some inevitable teething troubles, which gave an opportunity for 03170 to work one of our turns, whilst the voltage regulator which was causing problems was adjusted and corrected.
The railway operated an intensive service to get the most out of the locomotives over the weekend, including D8001 running until 9.30pm on Saturday night. All in all it was an excellent well run gala, we cant wait to see what they have got lined up for the September Gala, there are rumours there may be a visiting 50, watch this space.