Fifty years ago the Class 50 locomotive was born, and just 50 of the class of 50 were ever made.
Next month marks their 50th anniversary (17th Oct to be exact) when the very first of the 50 rolled out of the factory, and there will be one running along a stretch of former London Underground track to celebrate.
The Epping Ongar Railway — which runs over a length of former Central line track will have one of the remaining locos on a visit for a couple of weekends and will be running it along their line.
Based in part on the legendary Deltic locomotive, the Class 50 were notable for their distinctive engine noise which saw them nicknamed the hoovers.
All the class 50 engines are numbered, but also each was named after a notable Royal Navy ship. The locomotive visiting the Epping Ongar railway is the recently restored 50026, also called Indomitable.
The engine wont be able to reach the 100mph running the class was designed for, but you will be able to sample the sound and power of the locomotive as it tackles the line’s gradients, which are some of the steepest in preservation.
As trains will need to be top and tailed between North Weald and Epping Forest another English Electric built loco from the EOR fleet will assist. The Class 50 will work trains on its own between North Weald and Ongar in both directions, and will have the opportunity to start trains on the gradient at Epping Forest.
Normal fares apply on these weekends, and the railway hopes to be able to offer a Real Ale bar, along with the normal steam hauled services.
A regular heritage bus runs between Epping tube station and the heritage line, if you have a pre-booked ticket.
Tickets for the “all day rover” cost £13 per adult or £7 per child, and you can book tickets here.
If you’re feeling flush, you can even pay to drive the locomotive.