Ongar railway station

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Ongar
Ongar station building 2012.JPG
Ongar station after re-opening in 2012
Location
Place Chipping Ongar
Area Epping Forest
Coordinates 51°42′32″N 0°14′34″E / 51.7089°N 0.2428°E / 51.7089; 0.2428Coordinates: 51°42′32″N 0°14′34″E / 51.7089°N 0.2428°E / 51.7089; 0.2428
Grid reference TL550034
Operations
Original company Great Eastern Railway
Pre-grouping Great Eastern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
Operated by Epping Ongar Railway
Platforms 1
History
24 April 1865 (1865-04-24) Station opened
25 September 1949 Transferred to LT Central Line
18 November 1957 Electrified
18 April 1966 Goods yard closed[1]
30 September 1994 Station closed
November 2004 Reopened in preservation by Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Rail Society
December 2007 Station closed
25 May 2012 Reopened by Epping Ongar Railway
Stations on heritage railways in the United Kingdom
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Portal icon UK Railways portal
9 March 1957, Ongar station still served with steam traction

Ongar railway station is a former London Underground station in the town of Chipping Ongar, Essex. It was opened in 1865 by the Great Eastern Railway, and became part of London Transport in 1949. Until its closure in 1994, it was the easternmost point of the Central line.

History[edit]

The station was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway on 24 April 1865,[2] serving principally as a goods station taking agricultural produce from the nearby farms into central London. On 29 September 1949, London Underground services took over the operation of the station from British Railways when services were extended from Loughton.[2]

Although the rest of the branch was electrified by London Underground before operations were taken over from British Railways, trains on the section north of Epping continued to be hauled by steam locomotives as a separate shuttle service. The service was operated by British Railways for the Underground until 18 November 1957, when the line was electrified and electric trains took over from steam.[3] A shortage of power prevented the Epping to Ongar section being fully integrated into the line and it continued to operate as a shuttle service.[4]

The entire Epping to Ongar branch was a single track line with one passing place at North Weald station, although this loop was taken out of service between 1888 and 1949, and again from 1976. Between 1949 and 1976 two Tube trains could use the branch, although they were limited to four cars in length because of the restriction on the available traction current, as well as by the restricted platform lengths at North Weald and Blake Hall. The service was reduced to one train after the southbound track at North Weald was lifted. It was therefore never suitable for heavy use, and the line was reportedly never profitable. For much of its latter years, the service only operated during Monday to Friday peak hours, and London Transport closed Blake Hall station, the least used on the entire system, in 1981. The line itself continued in use and there was a brief re-introduction of all day services in 1990. However, a system wide cost-cutting exercise saw the service return to peak hours soon afterward, with an even more skeletal service than before. The line was under threat of closure for many years, and it was finally closed on 30 September 1994.

Epping Ongar Railway[edit]

The station and the line are now in the ownership of a private company, the Epping Ongar Railway Ltd who, at time of purchase, publicly stated their intention to run commuter services again, but the claimed lack of platform availability at London Underground's Epping station at the west end of the line has to date proven an insuperable obstacle to this. The Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Rail Society ran heritage trains on Sundays over the former Epping and Ongar line from 2004 until 2007, when the line was closed following a change in ownership.[5]

The line was reopened to the public on 25 May 2012.[6] Trains are provided on an hourly basis on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, normally departing at xx:10. Last trains are at 17:10 in the summer timetable, (arriving North Weald 17:25), and 15:10 from late October (arriving North Weald 15:25).

London Underground train calls at the station in 1980
Ongar station, with the sign of the present operator, Epping Ongar Railway (EOR)

Ongar Station, as with the rest of the 6.5 mile branch reaching to the outskirts of Epping station, is currently undergoing significant improvement and infrastructure works. These are designed with the long term future of the branch and to enable the use of locomotive hauled trains (hauled by steam and diesel locomotives), all in keeping with its use as a heritage railway. The station itself has been extensively restored by the teams of volunteers, with all the rooms being restored to their original layouts, opening up bricked up doorways and windows, and restoring the station to Great Eastern Railway colours (believed to be the only original operational GER station in its original colours). Within the station the former Parcel's Office will be a museum and educational display. In addition a GER signalbox, originally located at Spellbrook, has been rescued and rebuilt to replace the Ongar signalbox demolished by LU in the 1980s, and the platform is being improved to facilitate access.

Other information[edit]

The sand drag at the very end of the rails — intended to help slow trains that overshot the stopping mark — was said to be home to a breed of harmless scorpion and featured in a 1979 episode of the BBC's Wildlife on One. They had been released there by the station foreman who was a keeper of exotic pets.[7] The sand drag has since been removed.

In 1971/72 the London underground network was remeasured in kilometres using Ongar as its zero point.[8][9][10]

The Royal Navy's Tigerfish torpedo was known as Project ONGAR during development.[11] It was named after the station as the engineers hoped their new weapon would be "...the end of the line for torpedo development".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Hardy 2011, pp. 175-183.
  2. ^ a b Feather, Clive (31 March 2011). "Central Line, Dates". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Retrieved 18 March 2008. 
  3. ^ Lee 1970, p. 31.
  4. ^ Feather, Clive (31 March 2011). "Central Line, History". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Retrieved 18 March 2008. 
  5. ^ Skinner, Paul (2011). "Epping Ongar Railway - Line history". Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Thomas, Cliff (July 2012). "Essex railway becomes Britain's newest steam line". In Pigott, Nick. The Railway Magazine (Horncastle: Mortons Media Group) 158 (1335): 9. ISSN 0033-8923. 
  7. ^ Lyons, James (20 January 2007). "Epping Ongar Railway History - Ongar station". Retrieved 22 May 2011. [dead link]
  8. ^ Feather, Clive (2 April 2011). "Introduction - Kilometrage". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Glover, John (2003). London Underground, 10th edition. Ian Allan. p. 109. ISBN 0 7110 2935 0. 
  10. ^ Glover, John (2011). London Underground, 11th edition. Ian Allan. p. 100. ISBN 978 0 7110 3429 7. 
  11. ^ Public Record Office ADM 290/289
Bibliography
  • Hardy, Brian, ed. (March 2011). "How it used to be - freight on The Underground 50 years ago". Underground News (London Underground Railway Society) (591): 175–183. ISSN 0306-8617. 
  • Lee, Charles Edward (1970). Seventy Years of the Central. London: London Transport. ISBN 0-85329-013-X. 

External links[edit]

Preceding station Heritage Railways  Heritage railways Following station
North Weald   Epping Ongar Railway   Terminus
Disused railways
Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
towards Epping
Central line
Epping-Ongar branch
Terminus