EPPING/ONGAR: Historic railway line to re-open this week

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: EPPING/ONGAR: Historic railway line to re-open this week EPPING/ONGAR: Historic railway line to re-open this week

AFTER years of toil by volunteers and thousands spent on restoration, the historic Epping to Ongar Railway Line will finally open to customers again this Friday.

A track was first built between Stratford, east London, and Ongar in 1865, and at its peak 50 trains a day would thunder down it, but declining passenger numbers meant that the Epping to Ongar length of the line was closed in 1994.

In 2007 a new group of volunteers vowed to restore the line to the glory of its Victorian heyday, and after years of fixing old engines and repairing rusted tracks, on Friday (May 25) the first passengers in more than a decade will pass through the turnstiles as the line opens again to the public.

Simon Hanney, the secretary of the Epping Ongar Railway, said: “For me, Friday will be a moment of quiet reflection on everything that has been achieved and it has all been made possible by the hard work a lot of people have put into all of this.

“Being part of ensuring the sustainable future of this great train line and doing something of real benefit for the local economy is very humbling.

“It will be a fantastic way for people to enjoy the countryside of the district and discover one of the great aspects of our heritage: the steam trains.”

“I know that traders up in Ongar are very much looking forward to their historic town being opened up to visitors.”

Initially, Routemaster buses will transport visitors to from Epping Station to North Weald Train Station where they will be able to catch a steam or diesel shuttle service to Ongar or through Epping Forest to Coopersale.

The service will run every weekend and on bank holidays.

Mr Hanney said: “This is really the end of the first chapter of the railway’s restoration.

“We want to run a full service along the length of the line, from Epping out to Ongar. Currently we do not have a date for the opening of the full stretch, but work is going really well.”

To book a ticket on the Epping-Ongar Railway visit http://eorailway.co.uk/.

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Comments (12)

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12:18pm Tue 22 May 12

Simon P. Hughes says...

The train pictured (British Rail Class 37) never ran on the line during its days before becoming part of London Underground.

It’s a great shame that, if they are going to run a Heritage railway, they can’t run the correct type of British Rail trains that ran on the line during its time before London Underground ownership (1865 – 1957).
The train pictured (British Rail Class 37) never ran on the line during its days before becoming part of London Underground. It’s a great shame that, if they are going to run a Heritage railway, they can’t run the correct type of British Rail trains that ran on the line during its time before London Underground ownership (1865 – 1957). Simon P. Hughes

12:38pm Tue 22 May 12

ClifftonX says...

London Underground have done everything they possibly can to not have a connection at Epping. Why? I can only assume that the useless b*stards don't want to run lots of trains to Epping so they can eventually close the Loughton to epping section.
London Underground have done everything they possibly can to not have a connection at Epping. Why? I can only assume that the useless b*stards don't want to run lots of trains to Epping so they can eventually close the Loughton to epping section. ClifftonX

1:01pm Tue 22 May 12

Simon P. Hughes says...

I’m not sure where you get your information from ClifftonX, but TfL haven’t done anything to reduce the service to Epping station or Loughton for that matter.

In fact, if the plans for Crossrail 2 go-ahead, Epping station will become an even busier terminus.
I’m not sure where you get your information from ClifftonX, but TfL haven’t done anything to reduce the service to Epping station or Loughton for that matter. In fact, if the plans for Crossrail 2 go-ahead, Epping station will become an even busier terminus. Simon P. Hughes

2:46pm Tue 22 May 12

ClifftonX says...

Simon P. Hughes wrote:
I’m not sure where you get your information from ClifftonX, but TfL haven’t done anything to reduce the service to Epping station or Loughton for that matter. In fact, if the plans for Crossrail 2 go-ahead, Epping station will become an even busier terminus.
I meant, in the context of allowing EOR to use Epping Station. London Underground, or whatever they call themselves, have removed the facility for current trains to use the siding and I beleive there are no signal to do this. This is why we end up waiting for ever for an Epping trian when things go wrong. London Underground wil not make provision for EOR at Epping. As to "Crossrail 2" - see the HS2 debacle for a go by on where this will go!
[quote][p][bold]Simon P. Hughes[/bold] wrote: I’m not sure where you get your information from ClifftonX, but TfL haven’t done anything to reduce the service to Epping station or Loughton for that matter. In fact, if the plans for Crossrail 2 go-ahead, Epping station will become an even busier terminus.[/p][/quote]I meant, in the context of allowing EOR to use Epping Station. London Underground, or whatever they call themselves, have removed the facility for current trains to use the siding and I beleive there are no signal to do this. This is why we end up waiting for ever for an Epping trian when things go wrong. London Underground wil not make provision for EOR at Epping. As to "Crossrail 2" - see the HS2 debacle for a go by on where this will go! ClifftonX

11:12am Wed 23 May 12

Eppingforest1234 says...

ClifftonX wrote:
London Underground have done everything they possibly can to not have a connection at Epping. Why? I can only assume that the useless b*stards don't want to run lots of trains to Epping so they can eventually close the Loughton to epping section.
The fact that they do want to run lots of trains to Epping is probably a reason why they are not keen on having EOR connecting their. LU want to use both platforms at Epping so they can accomodate more trains. I wouldn't exactly describe LU as useless b*stards either.
[quote][p][bold]ClifftonX[/bold] wrote: London Underground have done everything they possibly can to not have a connection at Epping. Why? I can only assume that the useless b*stards don't want to run lots of trains to Epping so they can eventually close the Loughton to epping section.[/p][/quote]The fact that they do want to run lots of trains to Epping is probably a reason why they are not keen on having EOR connecting their. LU want to use both platforms at Epping so they can accomodate more trains. I wouldn't exactly describe LU as useless b*stards either. Eppingforest1234

1:32pm Wed 23 May 12

ClifftonX says...

Eppingforest1234 wrote:
ClifftonX wrote: London Underground have done everything they possibly can to not have a connection at Epping. Why? I can only assume that the useless b*stards don't want to run lots of trains to Epping so they can eventually close the Loughton to epping section.
The fact that they do want to run lots of trains to Epping is probably a reason why they are not keen on having EOR connecting their. LU want to use both platforms at Epping so they can accomodate more trains. I wouldn't exactly describe LU as useless b*stards either.
noy useless b*stards? when was the last time you had to a) get from Ongar to central London since they closed the branch or b) use it on a daily basis. They always have been, and still, are useless. The best thing will eb when Boris sorts them out and gets rid of drivers on trains for a start.
[quote][p][bold]Eppingforest1234[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ClifftonX[/bold] wrote: London Underground have done everything they possibly can to not have a connection at Epping. Why? I can only assume that the useless b*stards don't want to run lots of trains to Epping so they can eventually close the Loughton to epping section.[/p][/quote]The fact that they do want to run lots of trains to Epping is probably a reason why they are not keen on having EOR connecting their. LU want to use both platforms at Epping so they can accomodate more trains. I wouldn't exactly describe LU as useless b*stards either.[/p][/quote]noy useless b*stards? when was the last time you had to a) get from Ongar to central London since they closed the branch or b) use it on a daily basis. They always have been, and still, are useless. The best thing will eb when Boris sorts them out and gets rid of drivers on trains for a start. ClifftonX

4:01pm Wed 23 May 12

GlennW says...

Although I've got no connection with EOR, I feel I have to supply a few actual facts to this debate. The Stratford - Ongar section was transferred from the newly formed British Railways to London Transport (LT) in stages during the late 1940s/early 1950s to form the new eastern extension of the Central Line from Liverpool Street. The scheme had been part of the government backed New Works Programme to relieve unemployment started just before the WWII and was then obviously halted until hostilities ended and finance was again available. During the late 1970s, LT identified the Epping - Ongar section as loss making and its then political master, the Greater London Council believed that London ratepayers should not subsidise a service entirely in Essex and the County Council consistantly refused to provide any subsidy. The fares were put up but this drove away much of the existing passenger traffic so in the end LT went through the closure process.
Although I've got no connection with EOR, I feel I have to supply a few actual facts to this debate. The Stratford - Ongar section was transferred from the newly formed British Railways to London Transport (LT) in stages during the late 1940s/early 1950s to form the new eastern extension of the Central Line from Liverpool Street. The scheme had been part of the government backed New Works Programme to relieve unemployment started just before the WWII and was then obviously halted until hostilities ended and finance was again available. During the late 1970s, LT identified the Epping - Ongar section as loss making and its then political master, the Greater London Council believed that London ratepayers should not subsidise a service entirely in Essex and the County Council consistantly refused to provide any subsidy. The fares were put up but this drove away much of the existing passenger traffic so in the end LT went through the closure process. GlennW

4:27pm Wed 23 May 12

GlennW says...

Again, I state that I have no connection with EOR but the current situation at Epping is that London Underground (LUL) operates an electric railway with third and fourth rail current collection and return. There would be obvious concerns about steam locos and diesel locos/units operated by volunteers operating on an electrified railway where the EOR staff/volunteers would be climbing down to track level regularly to couple/uncouple locos and coaches and carry out servicing tasks. A volunteer/staff member was killed in a shunting accident on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway only last weekend. In addition, the Central Line is now operated by an automatic train control system and this would have to be fitted to EOR loco cabs for their trains to be able to enter Epping station. This is probably technically impossible and definately financially impossible for EOR.

Regarding lack of historically accurate stock, there are practically no examples left the types of steam locos and coaches that operated the line before LT took over and what does survive has been happily rehomed on other preserved railways for many years. EOR will have to make do with what it can get hold of.

Finally, regarding so-called driverless trains on the Underground, someone will always have to supervise the closing of the train doors at stations and someone will always have to be on every train, who is competent to drive it and evacuate passengers in times of equipment failure and emergency.
Again, I state that I have no connection with EOR but the current situation at Epping is that London Underground (LUL) operates an electric railway with third and fourth rail current collection and return. There would be obvious concerns about steam locos and diesel locos/units operated by volunteers operating on an electrified railway where the EOR staff/volunteers would be climbing down to track level regularly to couple/uncouple locos and coaches and carry out servicing tasks. A volunteer/staff member was killed in a shunting accident on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway only last weekend. In addition, the Central Line is now operated by an automatic train control system and this would have to be fitted to EOR loco cabs for their trains to be able to enter Epping station. This is probably technically impossible and definately financially impossible for EOR. Regarding lack of historically accurate stock, there are practically no examples left the types of steam locos and coaches that operated the line before LT took over and what does survive has been happily rehomed on other preserved railways for many years. EOR will have to make do with what it can get hold of. Finally, regarding so-called driverless trains on the Underground, someone will always have to supervise the closing of the train doors at stations and someone will always have to be on every train, who is competent to drive it and evacuate passengers in times of equipment failure and emergency. GlennW

12:08am Thu 24 May 12

Redfox says...

Perhaps we could have some informed comment from those people who first came forward in the late 1990's for the purpose of preserving what was left of the line? I was there at meetings in the Epping sessions. Trouble was there was too much talk and NOT ENOUGH 'DO'.
I don't see here yet, any mention of LT selling off (on purpose? Blake Hall Station AND the coalyard at Ongar (nice storage space for a preservation group) - plus the 'passing loop' removal at North Weald. In fact everything possible to prevent the line ever again joining up, or being joined-up with the main electrified routeing.
I count myself lucky to have travelled in the cab during the final months of proper passenger service to film the journey - rattling and bumping from side to side as we went. Even the Ongar Signal Box was closed by then! Bitterly cold days they were too. As they were in the real country sections where pedestrian access was permitted by lawful footpaths crossing the line. Those were the days.
Perhaps we could have some informed comment from those people who first came forward in the late 1990's for the purpose of preserving what was left of the line? I was there at meetings in the Epping sessions. Trouble was there was too much talk and NOT ENOUGH 'DO'. I don't see here yet, any mention of LT selling off (on purpose? Blake Hall Station AND the coalyard at Ongar (nice storage space for a preservation group) - plus the 'passing loop' removal at North Weald. In fact everything possible to prevent the line ever again joining up, or being joined-up with the main electrified routeing. I count myself lucky to have travelled in the cab during the final months of proper passenger service to film the journey - rattling and bumping from side to side as we went. Even the Ongar Signal Box was closed by then! Bitterly cold days they were too. As they were in the real country sections where pedestrian access was permitted by lawful footpaths crossing the line. Those were the days. Redfox

8:18am Thu 14 Jun 12

smudgkins says...

I'v thought of a great idea!! Lets ban all of our past heritage!! Old Railway stock, old vintage cars, all Antiques, lets get rid of old buildings, lets all 'wallow' in newness E type Jags 'chop em up !! Thatched Cottages ! demolish them all ! old Victorian rail roads ! Rip em up!! lets instead live with millions upon millions of lovely orange road cones and endless potholes traffic jams, and Financial ruin We cannot allow steam engines from 'yesteryear' to puff out a bit of 'the good old days can we ? we are British aren't we!!, and take care keep complaining We have to give the rest of the world a good chuckle don't we? it's what we British do best SMUDGEKINS
I'v thought of a great idea!! Lets ban all of our past heritage!! Old Railway stock, old vintage cars, all Antiques, lets get rid of old buildings, lets all 'wallow' in newness E type Jags 'chop em up !! Thatched Cottages ! demolish them all ! old Victorian rail roads ! Rip em up!! lets instead live with millions upon millions of lovely orange road cones and endless potholes traffic jams, and Financial ruin We cannot allow steam engines from 'yesteryear' to puff out a bit of 'the good old days can we ? we are British aren't we!!, and take care keep complaining We have to give the rest of the world a good chuckle don't we? it's what we British do best SMUDGEKINS smudgkins

8:20am Thu 14 Jun 12

smudgkins says...

I'v thought of a great idea!! Lets ban all of our past heritage!! Old Railway stock, old vintage cars, all Antiques, lets get rid of old buildings, lets all 'wallow' in newness E type Jags 'chop em up !! Thatched Cottages ! demolish them all ! old Victorian rail roads ! Rip em up!! lets instead live with millions upon millions of lovely orange road cones and endless potholes traffic jams, and Financial ruin We cannot allow steam engines from 'yesteryear' to puff out a bit of 'the good old days can we ? we are British aren't we!!, and take care keep complaining We have to give the rest of the world a good chuckle don't we? it's what we British do best SMUDGEKINS
I'v thought of a great idea!! Lets ban all of our past heritage!! Old Railway stock, old vintage cars, all Antiques, lets get rid of old buildings, lets all 'wallow' in newness E type Jags 'chop em up !! Thatched Cottages ! demolish them all ! old Victorian rail roads ! Rip em up!! lets instead live with millions upon millions of lovely orange road cones and endless potholes traffic jams, and Financial ruin We cannot allow steam engines from 'yesteryear' to puff out a bit of 'the good old days can we ? we are British aren't we!!, and take care keep complaining We have to give the rest of the world a good chuckle don't we? it's what we British do best SMUDGEKINS smudgkins

8:20am Thu 14 Jun 12

smudgkins says...

I'v thought of a great idea!! Lets ban all of our past heritage!! Old Railway stock, old vintage cars, all Antiques, lets get rid of old buildings, lets all 'wallow' in newness E type Jags 'chop em up !! Thatched Cottages ! demolish them all ! old Victorian rail roads ! Rip em up!! lets instead live with millions upon millions of lovely orange road cones and endless potholes traffic jams, and Financial ruin We cannot allow steam engines from 'yesteryear' to puff out a bit of 'the good old days can we ? we are British aren't we!!, and take care keep complaining We have to give the rest of the world a good chuckle don't we? it's what we British do best SMUDGEKINS
I'v thought of a great idea!! Lets ban all of our past heritage!! Old Railway stock, old vintage cars, all Antiques, lets get rid of old buildings, lets all 'wallow' in newness E type Jags 'chop em up !! Thatched Cottages ! demolish them all ! old Victorian rail roads ! Rip em up!! lets instead live with millions upon millions of lovely orange road cones and endless potholes traffic jams, and Financial ruin We cannot allow steam engines from 'yesteryear' to puff out a bit of 'the good old days can we ? we are British aren't we!!, and take care keep complaining We have to give the rest of the world a good chuckle don't we? it's what we British do best SMUDGEKINS smudgkins

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