Make the most of your visit
Enjoy the Essex Countryside, and the ancient Epping Forest, from the comfort of your seat!
Our branch winds its way through some of Essex's finest countryside and ancient forest, tackling steep gradients as it goes. Each of our stations and stops is unique, and serve great rural locations. What's more, you can enjoy it all from your seat aboard your train, experiencing what it would have been like for passengers to travel on the line all those years ago...
Our award-winning and Grade II listed Great Eastern Railway station at Ongar is believed to be the only original operating station to retain GER colours. As well as Ongar being the start of the underground our line also passes what was the highest point of the Central Line at Coopersale bridge.
Great Reasons to Visit the Epping Ongar Railway!
Here are some ideas of what you can do when you visit.
1. Ride both steam and diesel trains.
On most standard operating days, one of our steam engines is expected to grace the rails, alongside a diesel locomotive or multiple unit. Our tickets are valid all day long so you can travel as much as you like and break your journey to enjoy all that the local area has to offer. On some dates there will not be a steam locomotive operating - please check our timetables to check for the date of your visit.
2. Ride a traditional London Bus.
Our vintage London buses run regularly throughout the day to connect with the underground at Epping (Central Line, zone 6) and Greater Anglia and Elizabeth Line train services at Shenfield. The bus departs from right outside the startion. Start your journey at either location, or take a ride during the day. On certain Saturdays during June, July and September our bus service will not be operating - please check our timetables to check for the date of your visit.
3. Enjoy a bite to eat.
We have a lovely buffet at North Weald Station and a small sweet and cake shop at Ongar - but with big tables on our trains you can also bring an 'indoor picnic'. Our on board bar is sometimes open, but bring your own bubbly!
Both our stations have picnic areas too.
We have bacon baguettes, freshly-baked sausage rolls, snacks and pasties availble to purchase from the LNER Cafe at North Weald to make your picnic as delicious as possible.
4. Look out for wildlife and enjoy the views of the skyline London from Epping Forest.
Why not keep an eye out over the countryside and forests as you travel - you may see some cows, a deer, a buzzard and from some parts of the line, and on a good day, a view of London's skyline. All this from the comfort of your seat! Travel on our diesel railcar, when operating, and enjoy panoramic drivers eye views!
5. Maybe you just like to watch the trains as they go by or let off steam!
Enjoy the sound and smell of a steam locomotive.
Watch the steam locomotive take on water whilst at the station. Try to drag your children from the bridge when a steam engine goes underneath!
6. Take the tube to Epping.
Many children really enjoy travelling on the tube and this gives you a great reason to take advantage of TFL off peak fares. Epping is on the Central Line and in Zone 6. Our vintage London buses depart from right outside the station to complete your journey to our train services.
7. Visit the Penny Salon Gallery
The Penny Salon micro gallery at Ongar station is open between January and October whenever the trains are running, and will be showing a topical photographic exhibition featuring the best photographs from the lens of Geoff Silcock and others. Admission is free.
8. Find the start of the Underground!
Did you know that all distances on the London Underground network are measured from Ongar? Even though the line ceased to be part of the underground in 1994, this is still the case today. Look out for the distance marker posts every 200m along the line on the left hand side as you travel from Ongar.
9. Enjoy a family walk or explore the historic town of Ongar
There are a number of local walks from both North Weald and Ongar stations. Your ticket is valid all day, so why not break your journey and explore the historic town of Ongar, or take a stroll through the local countryside and return on a later train?
You can download our walking tour of Ongar, or you might even have time to walk to Greensted Church - the oldest wooden church in the world! To get there, just follow the "Essex Way" footpath from Ongar High Street.
You can find details of other walks and itineraries here.
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. To spark your imagination we have several suggested itineraries, which you can download (pdf files), below:
"Trains and Planes" - With options for a half or full day, including optional visit to the nearby airfield museum.
"Walks and Whistles" - 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, steeped in history from the Tolpuddle Martyrs going right back to Anglo-Saxon tales.
Why not spend some time in Ongar itself? This pleasant little country town was once the administrative centre of the Saxon hundred. It's name derives from two old English words meaning "market" and "grazing land". In 1162, Richard de Lucy, Chief Justice of England, built a great Motte and Bailey castle here in the 11th century. It was demolished in the 16th century, but the impressive motte remains. Listed buildings line the High Street, whilst the church incorporates Roman bricks.
The Ongar Millenium History Society have produced a leaflet detailing a short walk around the town, which gives you the chance to see some of the remaining castle earthworks and other interesting buildings within the town. Details of the walk can be downloaded here.(Hi resolution pdf - 17MB). The walk starts at the Budworth Hall, a short five minute stroll away from Ongar station (walk up the station approach road and turn right along the high street; alternatively ask the bus conductor for the library stop in Ongar).
The Ongar United Reformed Church, located a short walk from Ongar station on the High Street, have an exhibition space which displays artefacts from the history of the church and local history in assocation with the Ongar Millenium History Society.
Website. Location: Greensted Road, Ongar
The oldest wooden church in the world, dating from the 11th century. A beautiful little church with Tudor chancel and crusaders grave. Tolpuddle Martyrs settled here after their pardon. The church is about 30 minutes walk from Ongar Station. See our "Steam and Spires" suggested itinerary.