please empty your brain below

It was Essex County Council who would not subsidize the service, now every one has to drive to Epping station,were the car park is full at 06.30.
Surely you're not saying that Tube trains aren't "proper" trains?
That's an RT, not one of those new-fangled Routemasters
There are some stories that the line was electrified and kept open to provide an escape route for VIPs(?) from central London to the underground nuclear bunker at Kelvedon Hatch. The bunker was opened 1953. The Epping to Ongar line was electrified shortly after.
The nuclear bunker closed in 1992 and the Epping to Ongar line closed in 1994.
not even a nod to anything at at Underground? shame.

Epping actually has the largest car park of any tube station on the network, but yes - fills up very early on.
I used to live in West London Ruislip back in the early 1960's. I once I took a trip to Ongar using a Red Rover ticket.
@ John - sounds like a good theory to me; are there any similar reasons for why Aldwych station also closed in 1994

@Geofftech - I agree that it's a shame they seem to be denying their Underground heritage; I for one am more interested in this line than other similar heritage railways because it used to be part of the tube network.

I've also seen Epping quoted as having the second-largest car park but guess that depends on whether you count Heathrow or not.

Am I right in thinking one of the reasons the car park is so busy is because it's cheaper to commute on the Central Line than it is on nearby National Rail lines.
@John: they wouldn't be very 'VI' persons if they were expected to travel out on the Central Line to Ongar, changing at Epping en route ! Ongar to Kelvedon Hatch by 339 bus ?! I think electrification was due to operational convenience (as was closure - 92 stock has no provision for 4-car trains !) and the expectation of future housing development into Essex.
My aunt and uncle, who used to live in Loughton, thought the most idyllically stress-free job in the country was probably being the station master at North Weald. Well, what would he have done all day?
I don't need to wait - I went there on Friday! *smug look*

Here's what I wrote in the sidebar comments box last Friday before DG deletes it all again:

It was a bit of a disaster today, reportedly thanks to the M25 being closed after a lorry full of vodka exploded on it, so most of the volunteers turned up late. What was supposed to be the very first train didn't run at all, and the actual first train went to Coopersale (AKA 'not Epping') instead of Ongar as originally planned. Loadings were disappointingly light at the start of the day, but it seemed to get busier in the afternoon.
swirlythingy | 25.05.12 - 11:25 p.m.

And while I'm at it, I might as well include Whiff's reply:

Thanks Swirlythingy for the update. I'm sorry to hear they had a bad start but I also read that sadly the lorry driver was killed in the M25 crash that caused many of the problems.
Even though the Epping-Ongar branch was always a fairly pointless stretch of line in it's London Underground days I do hope they can make a success of it's restoration.
Whiff | 28.05.12 - 1:15 a.m.

In 1957, wouldn't those tube trains have have been red rather than silver?
In 1957 the tube cars were indeed red - they used the prototype 1935 stock trains. Later standard Central Line 1962 stock was used, and at the very end one of the 1960 stock prototypes worked out its days on the line.

1992 stock can work in 4 car trains - as demonstrated on the Waterloo & City Line. Its sophisticated electrics might not have taken kindly to the low line voltage at Ongar though (the line was fed from a single feed at the Epping end - the voltage drop between there and Ongar was quite significant).

I notice that the 339 seems to have migrated onto DG's home patch!

And yes - all three buses in DG's photos are RTs. Coincidentally, the later Routemaster was introduced in the same year that the Ongar line was electrified.

And one of the RTs is a rare early roof-box RT.

BTW - if anyone else trying to make comments is getting Access Forbidden as a result of the cookie changes then make sure you add to your list of sites approved to always allow cookies.
@Timbo: I am sure you know I meant there were no 4 car trains in the 92 stock Central Line order - as you say, an 8-car wouldn't have the power to get away from Ongar ! Hence, withdrawal of the service in 1994 was for operational reasons as it would be uneconomic to operate non-standard trains just for that line.
The 1992 stock is made up of 2car sets, intended to run in pairs on the Drain and in fours on the Central.
As built, the units for the W&C and the Central differed only in the colour they were painted.
Some units for the Central were built without cabs, to run in the middle of a train: although cabbed units can and occasionally do run in the middle of 8 car trains. Indeed, the W&C units were run in, (as 8-car trains!) on the Central.
It would be quite possible to form a 4-car train of Central line 1992 stock by coupling two of the cabbed units together.

There appear to be no phtos of the Epping end of the diesel shuttle train. The coaches appear to be an ex-Bournemouth line push-pull set, but the loco isn't p-p fitted.
It's worth mentioning that it won't usually be £17.50 for the day, I think that was a more expensive opening weekend price?
if anyone's unaware, you *can* get ongar to display on the 92's passenger information screens - a favourite party trick for bored T/Op's!
A few appropriately pedantic tweaks have been made to today's post, thanks.
Just read some comments re the VIP evacuation. I think you need to consider that if the powers that be wanted to get Government leaders to the Nuclear Shelter, it would not be under normal conditions but with threat of imminent nuclear attack.The local bus would not be running.The roads might be full of panicking civilians, and there possibly was a way of running a train right through to Ongar or a train would be waiting. No doubt a military vehicle would be used to get from Ongar station to the Nuclear Bunker and government/military comms center. i think there was even a BBC studio in the underground bunker.

dg writes: The Secret Nuclear Bunker is an amazing day out, if you can get there. And yes, there's a full BBC studio decaying down there.
@ Whiff - Aldwych closed because the cost of lift replacement could not be justified. Epping - Ongar similarly needed money spending on it. The section of the Central Line that was in Essex (i.e. beyond Woodford) was under financial pressure for a long while because of Essex County Council's unwillingness to subsidise the route. I'm not sure what was done to bring Woodford - Epping under more formal "London" control and get rid of the ECC funding need.

LU at the time was under LRT (and therefore Government) control and money was not sloshing around in those days. LU opted to seek closure due to low ridership, low revenue and high investment needs. Government obviously agreed.
Thanks, DG! A great read as always, and loved the photos too.
Looks like a good day out and glad to see they've got a service running. Interesting to see they are using an old Southern region EMU behind that diesel - I used to commute on these and it was only about 6 or 7 years ago they stopped running. It makes me feel old that they are now considered heritage routes!

I remember you went for a ride out to Mill Hill East a while back. I wonder how long that is going to keep running given it's a single station shuttle service and the least used station on the Northern Line.
I am completely bowled over by the intimate and complex knowledge you train and bus buffs have. I loved the photos, and would like to go for a visit one day.
It's well worth the visit and rides. Very relaxing as we trundled through the lovely countryside.

I went on opening day; relatively few users, which may have been just as well considering the problematical start - apart from the closed Motorway there were crashes on the A404 plus a local road incident near Ongar station: better to go by train, obviously.

It would be splendid to have a connection at Epping: that way, more tickets sold on LT weekend services as well as a huge boost to the new railway service. Dream on.

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