The Epping Ongar Railway, that doesn’t actually run from Epping has made a step closer to joining up with its namesake.
When the Epping to Ongar section of the Central Line was closed down, and later turned into a heritage railway, the link with Epping station remained severed. Currently, a fleet of vintage buses ferry people between Epping and North Weald.
However, it has long been an ambition to restore the line to Epping, and link up with the London Underground. The line ran towards Epping as far as Coopersdale, which is just over half-way there.
Last week, the railway extended its running line by 800m from its present western stopping point, and bringing it to within 100 metres of Epping Station.
In preparation for this year the railway changed the name of its present stopping point to ‘Epping Forest’ in its 2015 timetable.
This section of the line was the subject of a substantial amount of engineering work last year in preparation for the Railway’s ‘End of Tube’ event which saw the restored tube train that had operated on the line until the withdrawal of Central Line services on the branch brought in by rail from Epping. Since the start of 2015 much work has been done, including sleeper renewal, cutting back vegetation and dropping ballast.
Over the weekend, the first trains ran along the newly extended line.
The long-term aim is to link up with the tube station, and then you may be able to step off a tube train and straight onto a steam train.
Should be a huge boost to visitor numbers.