North Weald railway station

North Weald railway station
North Weald
North weald tube station.jpg
Place North Weald
Area Epping Forest
Coordinates 51°42′42″N 0°09′42″E / 51.7117°N 0.1617°E / 51.7117; 0.1617Coordinates: 51°42′42″N 0°09′42″E / 51.7117°N 0.1617°E / 51.7117; 0.1617
Grid reference TL496036
Original company Great Eastern Railway
Pre-grouping Great Eastern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
Operated by Epping Ongar Railway
Platforms 2 until 1976 then 1
24 April 1865 (1865-04-24) Station opened
25 September 1949 Transferred to LT Central Line
18 November 1957 Electrified
6 January 1964 Goods yard closed[1]
30 September 1994 Station closed
November 2004 Reopened in preservation
Stations on heritage railways in the United Kingdom
Portal icon UK Railways portal

North Weald tube station is a former London Underground station in Essex, England. Located between Epping and Blake Hall stations on the Central line the station is part of the Epping Ongar Railway. It serves the village of North Weald.



The station was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway on 1 April 1865, serving principally as a goods station taking agricultural produce from the nearby farms into central London. During World War II, it was frequently used by airmen travelling to and from the nearby North Weald Airfield. Steam locomotives operated by British Rail for the London Underground ran a shuttle service from Epping to Ongar (stopping at North Weald) from 1949 to 1957, when the track was electrified and taken over by the Underground's Central Line.

While the Epping to Ongar branch was normally operated as an isolated section of the Central Line, for two days every year trains were run from London to terminate at North Weald. These trains served the North Weald airshow on the Saturday and Sunday of its opening at the aerodrome almost adjacent to the station. The normal Epping to Ongar shuttle dovetailed with this service passing the terminating train on the adjacent line during its southbound journey.

The line from Epping to Ongar is a single track line with the exception of North Weald station which functioned as the only available passing place for trains travelling in opposite directions. The station's two platforms were both used from 1949 until 1976 when the westbound track was lifted. Until this time, access to the two platforms was controlled from the original Eastern Counties Railway signal box still sited on the southbound platform to this day. Until this occurred, North Weald was the last section of the London Underground network to be signalled using mechanical semaphore signals. Although disused, the illuminated track diagram in the signal box continued to show the progress of trains until its closure.


The Epping to Ongar branch was not heavily used and became increasingly unprofitable. The service was further undermined when the Greater London Council removed the running subsidy for the line because it was not within the boundaries of Greater London, and no comparable subsidy was forthcoming from the local government agencies in Essex, which meant that fare levels were much higher than on the rest of the London Underground network. Initially, the Sunday service was dropped, and then the Saturday service. Subsequently, the service was restricted to a rush hour service only of just 7 trains in each direction per day (3 in the morning and 4 in the evening). The Epping to Ongar line, including North Weald station, was finally closed on 30 September 1994.

Current ownership

North Weald Station, as with the rest of the 6.5 mile branch reaching to the outskirts of Epping station, is currently undergoing significant improvement and infrastructure works in connection with its use as a heritage railway. These works are designed with the long term future of the branch and to enable the use of locomotive hauled trains (hauled by steam and diesel locomotives). The station itself has been extensively restored, with all the rooms being restored to their original uses, restoring the station back to LNER / BR (E) colours. The original GER signalbox dating from 1888 has been restored, complete with its original lever frame, as part of the works to signal the passing loop which has been reinstated through the station. The Up (westbound) platform has been restored, with a new DDA ramp installed and an original GER latticework footbridge (formally from Woodford) is in the process of being installed to replace the BR concrete structure. The branch will once again run locomotive hauled trains between Ongar and North Weald, with a diesel shuttle towards Coopersale and connecting heritage buses to Epping. The railway company have a long term aim to once again run trains to Epping, both to encourage tourism and to run services for local people as it is hoped that a new platform can be built to be serviced by their trains, providing a viable interchange with LU services to put back the rail services removed in 1994.

See also


  1. ^ Hardy, Brian, ed (March 2011). "How it used to be - freight on The Underground 50 years ago". Underground News (London Underground Railway Society) (591): 175–183. ISSN 0306-8617. 

External links

Preceding station Heritage Railways  Heritage railways Following station
Coopersale   Epping Ongar Railway   Ongar
Disused railways
Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
Central line
Epping-Ongar branch
towards Ongar

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