Two ugly steam locomotives have arrived at Epping and, after restoration will be hauling passengers along the heritage railway.

The two engines are saddle tank locomotives, often referred to as “uglies” because of their short saddle tanks and large fireboxes, giving a somewhat ungainly appearance. The Epping Ongar Railway has gained numbers 56 and 63, built by the Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn (RSH) locomotive builder based in North East England.

Both engines originally worked at the Corby steelworks.

(c) Epping Ongar Railway

Number 56 (works number 7667) was the first locomotive in an initial batch of seven locomotives ordered in 1950 and worked at the steelworks until 1969 when replaced by diesel traction. The engine ended up at the North Woolwich railway museum on static display in 1984, then went to the Great Central Railway (North) in Nottingham where it had been ever since.

Number 63 (works number 7761) was part of a second batch of two locomotives and was delivered to the steelworks in 1954, becoming the eighth of this type of locomotive at the site. It, too, was withdrawn in 1969 when replaced by diesel traction.

The locomotive was initially preserved at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway alongside two more of its sister locomotives. In 2011 the locomotive was moved to the Great Central Railway (North) in Nottingham.

They were in use at the Great Central Railway until their boiler certificates expired.

Both engines arrived at Epping earlier this month, and are awaiting an overhaul before they can start passenger services.

(c) Epping Ongar Railway


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  1. And the rest of the world is trying to decarbonise transport! If only there was some way of running them on clean energy…

    Why isn’t Swampy out trying to stop this?

  2. Scott Brindley says:

    Great locos , I have one of them in LNER black on my model railway.

  3. Tom Jones says:

    Can we ban Brian from this blog and his always negative views?

  4. Gerry Blaikie says:

    I remember them on the Worth Valley Railway. From memory they were strong powerful loco’s if not the most beautiful.😉🚂

  5. JP says:

    “With never a sadness and nothing but gladness,
    We’d weary of life in a day” goeth the old~timey song.
    Plus, if everything was pretty we’d all be on Love Island and nobody wants that life sentence.

    I’d like to know if they’ll be using Cumberland coal eventually. Or the stuff schlepped in from Poland and elsewhere over the sea and far away.

  6. Michael Molloy says:

    They are lovely

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