Tube Returns to Ongar
For one weekend in September, families and friends, enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in railways can see and ride on an historic Tube Train which will once again be operating to and from Ongar!
To commemorate 20 years since the cessation of Underground services between Epping and Ongar, the Epping Ongar Railway will be holding an End of Tube Event on 26, 27 & 28 September. To recreate the atmosphere of the former London Underground line, we will be operating in passenger service the 3-car Cravens set dating from 1960 that regularly ran on the branch and operated the last train on 30th September 1994.
As the line is no longer electrified, the train will be hauled by two Schoma Diesel locomotives owned and operated by London Underground. This is the first time that these locos have been used to haul a passenger train and is likely to be the only opportunity to ride behind them, particularly as it is planned to convert some of them to battery power soon.
Following withdrawal, the Cravens set was purchased for preservation by Cravens Heritage Trains, a group established for the purpose of preserving and operating the train for future generations to enjoy. This is the first time the Cravens unit has been used for 10 years.
Roger Wright, Managing Director of the Epping Ongar Railway said,
“We’ve been working with the owners and London Underground on bringing this together for months and are really pleased that it has been possible to make the Cravens the centrepiece of our event. We’re very proud of our heritage and the links with the London Underground and Cravens Heritage Trains. It really will be an extraordinary weekend.”
In addition, former Metropolitan Railway steam locomotive ‘Met 1′, will be visiting the Epping Ongar Railway for this event. Met 1 ran on London Underground’s popular -heritage steam services. It generated world-wide interest when at the centre of London Underground’s ‘Tube 150’ celebrations in 2013 and in 2014, the commemorative trains operated on a section of the Hammersmith & City line and on the north end of the Metropolitan line to Chesham. Working with a selection of restored former-London Transport rolling stock will mean that in addition to hauling passenger services the Railway will be running demonstration freight trains.
Dave Horsley, Chief Mechanical Engineer said,
“Met 1 came to the Railway for our Tube 150 event last year and it’s great that we’ve been able to get the loco back for our End of Tube event. With the Cravens, Met 1 and the Schomas, we’ll be able to create a unique display of steam and tube trains along the line, plus this will be the first time ever that passengers will be able to travel behind the Schoma locomotive.”
To start the proceedings on the Friday morning, Mike Brown MVO, the Managing Director of London Underground, will be unveiling a replica 0.0km sign at Ongar reminding us that distances on the Underground to this day are measured from Ongar.
Mike Brown said: “The Epping Ongar railway is an important and beautifully preserved part of our rail heritage. Our links with the railway remain strong, with many families and railway enthusiasts travelling to Epping on the Central line to enjoy a taste of history, and some of our former staff helping to keep the railway running for future generations to enjoy. Although train technology has moved on a great deal since the 1960’s, it’s always great fun to step back in time in the way that this superb event allows – particularly in such a unique setting.”
Sunday will also feature visiting buses, which will operate additional services in the area. This will include the launch of prototype Routemaster CRL 4, the front of which has been restored to its original 1957 style. It is hoped that all four prototypes will be in attendance, for the first time in many years and they will be joined by a display of buses from the 1940’s right up to one of the New Routemasters which will be in service alongside former London buses from the 1950’s to the 1980’s’
Tickets available from our booking pages – click here