The other weekend I decided to complete my exploration of the Central Line by visiting the final station on my list, Epping. Epping is right at the end of the line at the eastern side, in fact it is actually in Essex. It wasn’t always the end of the line though, in fact the Central Line used to terminate at Ongar. You can still see the tracks extending out from Epping station, although they have partly been taken up.
The line from Ongar to almost Epping Station still exists, though, and in recent months a heritage railway has been introduced on the line. This runs between North Weald and Ongar, with another branch extending from North Weald to the end of the remaining track near Epping. The eventual plan is to join up the track again at Epping, and build another station near the existing Epping station to accommodate the heritage railway. In the meantime, a heritage bus service – including both red central London buses and the green ones that were used in the outlying districts – shuttles passengers between Epping and North Weald stations, and are included in the price of your ticket (which is valid all day). The railway itself uses both steam and diesel trains, and I was able to ride on both during my day out.
The Epping Ongar Heritage Railway is a fun day out for the whole family: I saw lots of children who seemed to be enjoying themselves, as well as adults who just wanted an escape from busy modern life. The towns of North Weald and Ongar are sweet, too (but don’t go on a Sunday like I did – nothing is open). I look forward to seeing how it develops in the future, particularly when the awaited extension to Epping is complete.