It is essential that you follow the instructions on the email from Groupon. You need to book a day and PRINT the ticket that E&O Railway send you. There is poor mobile reception in Ongar, so you can’t easily show them an E-ticket on your smart phone. Several people had not done this and they could not get on the train (as the railway don’t get paid by Groupon without the correct ticket).
We bought a family ticket from Groupon for £15, reduced from about £30. They had two trains running (neither were steam, which upset another couple who were demanding a refund), but we had a good time and for £15, it was a good day out.
There is a small gift shop, drinks stall and toilets at Ongar and on old 1st class buffet carriage and toilets at North Weald, but not much more, so it is worth taking some activities to keep kids busy when waiting for trains. There are no toilets on the trains and very little parking near the stations.
The staff were all helpful and friendly (in spite of verbal abuse from some people). The time table was surprisingly complex and the bus/train interface did not seem to be coordinated, but as everything ran late it didn’t matter and it was supposed to be a reminder of British Rail after all. The sandwiches were much better than BR used to produce and tea/coffee was reasonably priced.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
November 28, 2013
Many thanks for taking the time to leave a review and offering advice for other visitors. The Groupon deal was time limited and has now completed and we are operating our popular Santa Special trains. We will take forward your suggestions with Groupon and ask them to make the process as clear as possible on any future vouchers. We set up a special page on our website to help visitors with Groupon vouchers and had an additional laptop connected to our wifi to help visitors. Once you have converted your voucher to a travel ticket for the day you wish to travel, you can save this on your phone as a pdf or print it, either can be scanned without needing mobile internet access.
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We regret that our steam engine was not operating on the day you visited (24/11) due to the crew finding a broken spring that morning making it unsafe for it to operate, sadly too late to warm up another engine (typically needing 24 hours). This was the first time we haven’t been able to operate steam for several months. The team worked hard to operate the published service with alternative diesel haulage and our friendly team work to retain as many connections between buses and trains as possible. We are pleased you found our staff (and sandwiches!) better than the former BR, we look forward to welcoming you down the railway again very soon and apologies for any inconvenience.
Kind Regards, Simon,
General Manager, Epping Ongar Railway
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.