Welcome Your Group Aboard a Hidden Gem of a Railway!
Following over four and a half years of painstaking restoration work by a team of volunteers, a steam and diesel railway now operates on the outskirts of London, passing through unspoilt countryside and within a few minutes drive of the M25 and M11.
Epping Ongar Railway is the award winning longest heritage railway in Essex and operates on the former end of the Underground Central Line, operating heritage trains between award winning old fashioned stations dating from 1865. Your group can start their journey by stepping back in time, experiencing the romance of travel in days gone by; the sights and smells of an old country station learning about the importance of the railway to local agriculture and industry while they explore.
As the train pulls in, the party can board their reserved seating within one of our heritage coaches, letting the train take the strain as they chuff through the unspoilt rolling Essex countryside and through this historic Epping Forest – unbelievably less than 20 miles from Central London! Wildlife and agriculture mix with experiencing the industry heritage of bygone days. Our line is quite steeply graded so there is plenty of opportunities to hear the train working as you sit back, relax and watch the countryside.
What we can offer
The railway makes an ideal visit for groups, we offer:
- Coach Tour operators an ideal rest break location, adding an additional attraction to your itineraries while also offering a friendly and welcoming service from our dedicated team. We have our own book-able coach parking spaces available at North Weald station.
- Schools can experience travelling back in history and learn how a steam or diesel engine works
- Social or Support Groups can have a relaxing and different day out, where they can sit and watch the countryside go past
- History groups can explore and research local history and see the award winning restoration work
- Veterans can reminisce, especially those with a connection with the RAF or the Airfield at North Weald and wish to relive days gone by
- Indeed any group looking for an interesting and different memorable day out... within a stone's throw of the M25 & M11!
Groups of 15 people or more can benefit from specially discounted group travel rates, and with lots of trains operating throughout each of our operational days, there are many options to suit all itineraries and visit times, from a short stop-off to a whole day adventure – Epping Ongar Railway can offer it all.
You can download our group bookings leaflet here (pdf file).
To spark your imagination we have several suggested group itineraries below:
- "Trains and Planes" - With options for a half or full day, including optional visit to nearby airfield museum.
- "Whistles and Walks" - Including a number of suggested walks, the railway is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside and forest, including historic high streets full of independent shops for unique shopping opportunities.
- "Steam and Spires" - Including a walk to the nearby oldest wooden church in the world, within easy reach or alternatively you can charter a bus from us to take you the short hop to this iconic place, steeped in history from the Tolpuddle Martyrs going right back to Anglo-Saxon tales...
- With so many trains and buses operating, link together many areas there are countless possibilities, speak to Group Bookings Team for ideas and suggestions...
Our fleet of single and double decker heritage buses are ideal for groups wishing to visit from within Essex or London. These lovely vintage buses provide a unique onward connection – one of our buses can be chartered to pick up your group, taking the hassle out of driving and parking. We can also use our buses to seamlessly connect your visit with another local nearby attraction; such as the oldest wooden church in the world, the historic world war I and II airfield museum at North Weald, browsing the collection of independent shops in Epping or Ongar, visiting Epping Forest famous for being home to Dick Turpin, or visiting a secret nuclear bunker!
Coach drivers are provided with a free travel ticket and free tea / coffee. Coach parking is limited and needs to be pre-booked, a parking permit will be posted along with confirmation of your booking. Railway and historical interest groups are welcomed and, subject to availability, a tour with a visit to a signalbox can be arranged in advance, accompanied by one of our informative volunteer guides.
School Parties are welcomed, and further details are available from the contact details above. Teachers wishing to plan a visit to the railway are advised to apply in writing for a pair of free travel tickets (valid on non-special event days) to help them plan their visit and undertake risk assessments.
Groups greater than 80-100 may wish to hire their very own steam or diesel hauled train chartered especially for them, which can even be operated on days when we are not open to the general public - contact us using the details below for more details.
Our Group Bookings Team are volunteers from the local area and so are very knowledgeable and helpful, ready and waiting to discuss the options with you and help you plan and ensure your visit goes smoothly. Group Organisers can take advantage of a FREE ticket to come and visit the railway to help them plan their visit.
Please do not hesitate to contact us:
For groups of 15 or more, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For groups of 14 or less with additional requirements, email email@example.com
or call us on 01277 365200 (the Group Bookings Team are volunteers and so not available at all times).
Alternatively, download our Group Bookings Form to book your visit.
Don't just take our word for it - have a look at these recent comments, just a handful from the many satisfied group organisers....
"We all had a wonderful afternoon and everybody was able to do "their own thing". Many took the bus through Epping Forest while others enjoyed afternoon tea in Chipping Ongar as well as the railway. The volunteers were very helpful and friendly which helped to make the afternoon even more enjoyable for our members, some of which were quite elderly."
Paul Chaplin, Programme Secretary, Chelmsford and District National Trust Centre.
“Thank you for all your assistance with arranging Jack's party. Jack and his friends had a lovely time and the weather helped to make it a memorable occasion. The children had great fun on the buses and trains and all the EOR people we came across were very helpful and friendly. We hope to bring Jack and other family members back on other occasions in the future, thank you and your colleagues again”
Jo Bentley & Family
“Thank you to the volunteers for making our visit to the railway one of the most memorable highlights of the visit of our French twin town. Our group consisted of 85 people of all ages and both languages, the renovation work is amazing and, on a very cold day, the coal fires were greatly appreciated."
Sheila Spring, Chair The Ongar and District Twinning Association.
“Can I just say our group had an excellent day on the railway last Saturday, could you pass on our thanks to all the volunteers on the railway who couldn’t have been more helpful to make it a memorable day.
The visit brought back many memories of the age of steam our members. As group leader it was very easy to arrange the trip, we picked up the heritage bus, as suggested by your Group Booking Team - Super day we will be suggesting this trip to other groups”
Colin Enderby, Brentwood Saturday Circle
“We had a fantastic day today. We got carried away going back and forth, I forgot to come to the shop to find you to say a big thank you for your help and the Group Bookings Team.
Casper thoroughly enjoyed his surprise including blowing the whistle and changing the signals ! Wonderful memories made with family! Thank you so much.”