Having left the car at home, I went on a scenic tube ride to the end of the Central Line at Epping on a sunny autumn Sunday. As the railway to Ongar doesn't quite reach Epping yet, you then get on a beautifully restored green double decker bus dating from the 1950s which takes you to North Weald Station. The steam-hauled train to Ongar was just leaving, so I got on the diesel-hauled shuttle train which takes you slowly through part of Epping Forest towards Epping, then reverses back to North Weald where there is a buffet in an old railway coach. Unfortunately, the queue was too long to get a much-needed hot drink before catching the train to Ongar. This train, with diesel engine at the front and steam at the back, was absolutely packed by the time it set off, which made me wonder why they had fewer coaches on this train than on the shuttle which was much more roomy. However, the scenery we passed is beautifully rural and it seems incredible that until a few years ago this was part of the London Underground network. I had a pleasant walk into Ongar town, through a park to the site of Ongar Castle, and a very muddy walk to Greensted wooden church before taking the steam train back to North Weald in time for the last bus to Epping, which was absolutely full.
Considering they have only been running trains since May 2012 I think the society have done a wonderful job of restoration, but the refreshment facilities are far from adequate. I hope they manage to extend the line as far as Epping before long which will make the line much more useful for local residents, but I also hope they continue to run the vintage bus service which is all part of the nostalgic experience.
If you own or manage Epping Ongar Railway, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.