Classic London Underground Locomotive at the Epping and Ongar Railway

Back in 1994 London Transport closed down the Ongar extension of the Central Line from Epping station, so it wasn’t without a little sense of  irony that we found that the Epping and Ongar Railway, who now operate a heritage railway on the track, had got together with the London Transport Museum to run some very special trains to celebrate the 150th anniversary of London Underground.

Metropolitan No.1 built in 1898

Metropolitan No.1 built in 1898

We’d visited the Epping and Ongar Railway before (read about it here) but the opportunity to ride in a real piece of London’s history was too good to miss. Lots of people had had the same idea and the railway’s fleet of historic buses were all busy moving people from Epping Underground Station to the railway’s start point at North Weald Station.

Classic London Transport RT buses at North Weald Station

Classic London Transport RT buses at North Weald Station

Ready and waiting on the platform wee a variety of historic Metropolitan Line carriages that used to run on the tracks between central London  and stations out in Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Vintage Metropolitan Line carriages

Vintage Metropolitan Line carriages

The star of the show was carriage No.353 which was built in 1892 and ran on the line up to 1906 when it was sold to the Weston, Clevedon  and Portishead Railway.

Carriage 353

Carriage 353

It eventually ended up as a a military tailors workshop before being lovingly restored by the London Transport Museum. We paid a £5 supplement on the day ticket price of £20 to ride in the plush velvet First Class luxury of  what we were told was the Queen’s carriage of No. 353.

Plush velvet interior of Carraige 353

Plush velvet interior of Carriage 353

Taking us to Ongar was an old British Railways locomotive,

British Railways steam locomotive

British Railways steam locomotive

but waiting for us at the other end was Metropolitan No.1, which was going to pull us back to North Weald.

Metropolitan No.1 steams back to link up with our train

Metropolitan No.1 steams back to link up with our train

Metropolitan No. 1 was built in 1898 and it is the oldest surviving locomotive from the age of steam on London Underground’s Metropolitan Line. We had to change carriages as our special red ticket upgrade was only valid one way and our carriage for the return leg had an interior restored back to World War II complete with air raid instructions.

Air raid instructions

Air raid instructions

and a pre Harry Beck (the guy who designed the classic tube map) map of the Metropolitan Railway.

Metropolitan Line Map

Metropolitan Line Map

Arriving back at North Weald we also got to see the other London Transport steam locomotive L.150 as it got up steam to take the train back up the line, before heading off to Theydon Bois for a few drinks at The Queen Victoria and a curry at the Theydon Bois Balti House.

London Transport L.150 getting up steam

London Transport L.150 getting up steam

It was a fabulous day out so a big thank you to the volunteers at the Epping and Ongar Railway and the people from the London Transport Museum who made this trip back into history possible.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

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7 thoughts on “Classic London Underground Locomotive at the Epping and Ongar Railway

  1. Not cheap, but they are beautiful, Simon. Glad you enjoyed your day.
    The other half is going to the railway museum in York next week for a meeting of a lot of these old fellas. (no, not talking about the husband, though it will be part of his 60th celebrations 🙂 ) In another life he was a trainspotter.

    • Some of the people there were talking, very excitedly I may add, about an event at York with the Mallard and the Domminion of Canada next weekend. we always make a point of taking a look at what’s going on at the National Railway Museum when we pass it on the way to Scotland and often see some of their engines in steam on the tracks outside. I’m sure Mr Restless will enjoy it..

    • It’s normally about £12 for a day ticket, but they had brought the London Underground locomotives and carriages up on trucks and lifted them onto the tracks with a crane which is why it was £20

  2. Remember the first steam trains to travel on the Central line did so back in 1856 between today’s Leyton and just shy of Loughton stations when these were part of the Eastern Counties Railway. The original Loughton station was on the High Road, at the site of Lopping Hall. In 1865, the ECR’s successor, the Great Eastern, extended the line to Ongar, diverting the line a little to the south of Loughton. The modern Tube station is actually the third Loughton station! It was constructed in 1940 just to the east of the 1865 Loughton station, the platforms overlapping with the second onr

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