CAMPAIGNERS striving to reinstate the central line to Ongar are eagerly awaiting a Government response after more than 1,000 people signed an online petition.

Back in June, when the Guardian first reported on the number 10 website petition it had around 12 people asking for the reinstation of the Epping-Ongar line.

With the petition now formally completed 1,008 people have now signed to call for the line, which closed in 1994, to re-open.

Chairman of the Ongar Railway Preservation Society John Glover was among the first people to sign the petition.

He said: “I’ve always thought if I controlled the rails, and given the right investment there’s a future for the railway. People could come up the M11 park their cars and go to where they wanted to go.

“I think it’d be a great support for the people in this area, and we certainly deserve it.”

London underground have consistently said the line will never be financially viable and Mr Glover admitted it would be an uphill struggle to implement.

He added: “If I was in charge I’m 200 per cent sure it’d be a success, but it’s like trying to get a bank to change its mind. We have got the idea but there’s always someone who won’t let you do it, and we have to get past that.”

Ongar MP Eric Pickles has welcomed the success of the petition and also a supportive online Facebook group which currently has more than 2,100 members.

He said: “That is a strong level of support and reflects the local demand for improved public transport links from this part of Essex to central London.

“Ongar and North Weald are growing towns and are set to grow even more under Government plans for new housing over the next 20 years so it is logical that they will need a train station of some form.”

The online petition at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ongar-tube-back/ is now closed but people can sill sign up to the Facebook group at www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=34573582715&ref=ts.