Along the Branch
This page tells you a little more about what you can see and do during your visit, the THREE heritage transport experiences that we offer and ways that you can shape your day out to suit all ages and members of your family.
Don't forget to pick up a copy of our informative guide book from our ticket offices or gift shop, which has lots more about the history of the line, engines and rolling stock, gradients, the wildlife and things to see from the window on your journey. We even have our own walks booklet, with suggested walks around the local area.
Chipping Ongar is a historic market town with good selection of shops, pubs, restaurants and historic buildings. The high street still contains many small independent shops and within a few moments walk you are in the nature reserve or passing through fields and rolling countryside, making it the ideal place to browse and explore.
Our Gift Shop is located at Ongar station, selling a wide range of goods, snacks and cold drinks, and you can visit our Great Eastern Railway signalbox at the end of the main platform. NEW for 2013, following passenger feedback we have added a refreshment serving area with hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice creams and why not visit our newly restored picnic and viewing area, to watch the locomotive shunt around its train?
Pick up a copy of our walks booklet from the Gift Shop or Ticket Office, only £2, which has suggestions of short walks around Ongar. One of the walks has been written by the local history society and contains lots of information about the historic buildings, there is also a walk to nearby Greensted Church - the oldest wooden church in the world!
The remains of Ongar Castle are still accessible from the High Street and the nearby Nature Reserve, with a path back towards the railway station. More suggestions to shape your visit can be found on our local attractions page or on the "Visit Ongar" site.
The Essex Way Footpath
As you steam along the branch look out to the left (as you head towards Epping) on sunny days and you may see walkers enjoying the long distance footpath; The Essex Way. This path stretches right across the County of Essex from Epping Underground station to the port of Harwich in the north-east of the county. Following footpaths and ancient green lanes it covers a distance of 81 miles, but you can follow this to walk from Ongar to North Weald or Epping stations. The path leads you through woodlands, open farmland, river valleys and leafy green lanes, unveiling historic towns and villages along the way. More details on the path are in the Essex CC booklet.
Look out for our walks booklet available from the Gift Shop or Ticket Offices, which has been written in partnership with local walking and interest groups and uses the Essex Way within some of the walks.
Blake Hall Station
3.0km from Ongar and immediately past the second over bridge is the former Blake Hall station building on the right. Blake Hall station was closed on 31st October 1981. Although the building remains, the platform was removed by LT when they heard that despite the formal closure, some trains were still dropped off passengers and so arranged for it to be removed! The platform however has now been reinstated. The former station is now a privately owned house so you cannot board or alight here.
North Weald Station
5.8 km from Ongar we find ourselves at North Weald station. North Weald Bassett is small village with local amenities and a couple of pubs serving a wide range of fine food and drink. Nearby is the Airfield Museum, debt of honour memorial and it also hosts a weekly Saturday car boot market, one of the largest in the country.
North Weald station was in a state of disrepair a few years ago but volunteers have worked hard to restore the tracks, signalling, buildings and platforms back to the 1940's period. The Signal Box has been completely restored, complete with the original 1888 lever frame, flower beds, baskets and borders have been planted along the platform, finished off with period style lamps.
Our cafe, "The Anglia Cafe" is located at North Weald, serving a range of hot drinks and light bites.
More suggestions of places to visit can be found by visiting our local attractions page.
339 Vintage Bus Link from Epping Underground Station & High Street
(Operates EVERY day we run trains and included in your ticket)
Our fast and frequent "Route 339" heritage bus service picks you up from Epping station, running via Epping's beautiful High Street and soon whisking you through the forest to North Weald. Some buses continue to Ongar, going past the heritage train station, details and times here. You get to travel in an iconic red or green London bus, lovingly restored and complete with rear boarding platform and bell. This service runs every day we are running trains and is included in your travel ticket.
Heritage Shuttle (Trains from North Weald to Coopersale & Return)
In addition to the Ongar to North Weald train services, we also operate a train shuttle from North Weald through Epping Forest and back to North Weald. This may be run using two diesel engines at either end of the train, a Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (like our DEMU Thumper), a push-pull unit with a single diesel locomotive, a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) which offers a superb view of the line ahead and sometimes even a pair of steam engines! Keep an eye open for the deer and wildlife as your travel through the forest. During the journey you will pass the golf club, before going under the...
As this railway was a London Underground line when the M11 was built in 1973, the engineers left no clearance for standard stock to pass under it, so EOR had to lower the track by three feet to accommodate standard UK stock.
The train passes horse paddocks and it is soon passing through the forest again before the train passes over the bridge which spans the main road into Coopersale village.
Our journey continues into Epping Forest and fleetingly past the village of Coopersale. Although there is no passenger halt, so you cannot board or alight from the train, it provides travellers with an opportunity to experience a bit more of the journey towards Epping.
End of the Line
All good things must come to an end and our railway is no exception as we reach the 9.4 Kilometre post, the end of our running line. With just a few hundred meters between us and Epping station, an extension project is inevitable. EOR is keen to work with other stakeholders to enable a new platform to be built to the immediate north of the existing station, and to be a viable and attractive interchange both for visitors and local people to use our services.
381 Heritage Bus Service - North Weald to Toot Hill and Epping
Operates every day we operate between May 25th and Oct 20th - we operate an additional single deck heritage bus service from North Weald station, going over the bridge by the former Blake Hall station, past the footpath to Greenstead Church, through Toot Hill and via the back roads into Epping. The route explores some of the area's picturesque countryside and providing an additional route to Epping Station. This bus is also included in your standard Epping Ongar Travel ticket, making it even better value! Please check the Timetable page for details and times.
For further information on how to get to Epping Ongar Railway, including services along the London Underground Central line and local bus services please see the Find Us page.