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Epping-Ongar Railway

Many of our visitors when they first hear of 'Epping Signalling Museum' instantly think we are part of the Epping-Ongar Railway. Well, we have been neighbours for a long time and have even shared the same stretch of railway track built in 1865.  But no, we are two different, but very much related, attractions in the Epping area.

A lot of history

 

It was 159 years ago when the Railway was first extended from Loughton, through Epping and on to Ongar, by the Great Eastern Railway. The London Passenger Transport Board (as TfL was then known) took over the line in 1949 from what had become British Railways. London Transport actually hired British Railways to continue running the Epping-Ongar branch with steam trains until the branch was finally electrified in 1957. 

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The Tube is still at North Weald!
Sadly, passenger numbers on the Ongar branch remained low and London Transport decided to close the line east of Epping with the last tube train running on 30 Sep 1994 - some 30 years ago this year!! The line was initially reopened by the Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Society on 10 Oct 2004 but after a later transfer of owner and substantial maintenance, work todays Epping-Ongar Railway (EOr) started running heritage trains on 25 May 2012. The Epping Signalling Museum is not part of EOr. Although tantalisingly close to running into Epping station and our Museum, the EOr can only run as far as the beautiful Epping Forest destination, near Coopersale. It remains an objective of EOr to negotiate running into Epping at some stage in the future.

Signalling the Future

Back in 1949 when London Transport took over the former Great Eastern Railway / British Railways line it updated the signals and built our Epping Signal Cabin, complete with 47 shiny new miniature signal levers. The next signal box east along the line was North Weald, but this remained a manually operated box with full size levers. The line to Ongar stayed a single line and signallers in each signal cabin/box had to agree to send and receive a single train along the line. Until the Ongar line was closed in 1994, this was done by 'talking' to each other using a series of bell codes - a bit like morse code. The bells have remained silent ever since and somehow the two parts of what was the same line stopped talking to each other as well.

Now, nearly 30 years after closure and 10 years after the last tube train ran a special event to Ongar, the team at Epping Signal Cabin (now part of the Epping Signalling Museum) and the Epping-Ongar Railway have taken the first few steps on talking to each other again. If you become a member of this website, you can read more about these tentative first steps on our Members Only destination. Use the arrow at the foot of this page to go to the Destinations page, and select the Members destination.

You can scroll the photo below to show both an historical and more up to date insight into the Epping-Ongar Railway, or click here to go directly to the EOr website.  Clicking on a photo will enlarge it and also show any related internet links.
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