Following initial test runs, GWR Prairie tank number 4141 is currently undergoing painting prior to delivery to Epping Ongar Railway, the longest heritage railway in Essex, and closest to the capital. We anticipate that 4141 will arrive and be accepted into traffic ready to be hauling Santa Special trains on the line, this year for the first time these will be steam hauled (by either 4141 or Pitchford Hall)! The experience starts at the historic Ongar station, after boarding the train the children will be visited by Santa as the train goes through the rolling countryside, adults receiving a festive drink and mince pie before arrival at the “North Pole” station. Trains will be leaving at 10:00, 11:30, 13:40 and 15:00 on 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 Dec. Included in the price is a connecting heritage bus to Ongar station, picking up at either Epping Underground station (Central Line) or the car parks in Ongar (ample free parking at weekends). Tickets are proving popular, so book now to avoid disappointment at Epping Ongar Railway - Santa Specials We have also released our first set of steam driver experience courses, giving you the opportunity to fulfill a long held ambition and take the controls of a locomotive or tend the fire on our challenging line, including tackling gradients up to 1 in 64. The half day experience starts at North Weald station, with a short safety briefing before being taken through the operation and controls. The experience is shared with each having an opportunity to take a turn at firing and driving the locomotive, complete with coaches for an authentic experience. This is the first time that EOR has offered these experiences, and 4141 is rostered for these turns (loco subject to availability etc). These are an ideal and memorable Christmas present and supports the good work of the volunteers to preserve our transport heritage. Currently there is availability on 5th, 12th and 19th Dec... so get dropping those hints to your nearest and dearest! Further details are available on Epping Ongar Railway - Driver Experience, enquiries about availability and booking on 01277 365200.