Ongar Aldwych and others

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frodshamfella

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I have always liked travelling by train and became more interested more in the mode as a teenager. In the 80s poss 90s also , certain lines closed before I managed to sample them. I was living in Bexleyheath in those days, I managed to travel from Ellmers End to Sanderstead , I also went to Addiscombe too. I took a dmu from North Woolwich to Stratford which I found really interesting being used to 3rd rail trains from my neck of the woods.

I missed out on and regret not experiencing West Croydon to Wimbledon , Epping to Ongar and Holborn to Aldwych .Can anyone share the memories of the lines I mentioned or other lost lines experienced or unfortunately missed out on before it was too late !
 
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Bevan Price

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I have always liked travelling by train and became more interested more in the mode as a teenager. In the 80s poss 90s also , certain lines closed before I managed to sample them. I was living in Bexleyheath in those days, I managed to travel from Ellmers End to Sanderstead , I also went to Addiscombe too. I took a dmu from North Woolwich to Stratford which I found really interesting being used to 3rd rail trains from my neck of the woods.

I missed out on and regret not experiencing West Croydon to Wimbledon , Epping to Ongar and Holborn to Aldwych .Can anyone share the memories of the lines I mentioned or other lost lines experienced or unfortunately missed out on before it was too late !

I think that everyone will have missed travelling on lost lines. Some closed before we were born, some when we were too young to be interested, and some because we could not afford the time or money to get there - or sometimes we did not realise how quickly lines would disappear after Marples + Beeching started their destruction.

I managed Ongar and Aldwych plus many others, but some I regret missing include:
The entire Midland & Great Northern system (except the North Norfolk' preserved line, Sheringham to Holt).
The North Cornwall lines, Okehampton to Padstow & Bude
All the routes serving Brecon
Dumfries to Stranraer.
Darlington To Barnard Castle,
Penrith & Tebay
Hull to Withernsea & Hornsea
etc., etc.

Those I managed include:
Fraserburgh (Peterhead had already closed)
Scottish North Coast line, Cairnie Jn - Buckie - Elgin. (Both with Class 21s)
Aviemore - Forres & Caigellachie / Keith.
Waverley Route (was disappointed to find my first trip was with a Peak when I was hoping for an A3 or A2.)
Ruabon - Barmouth.
Chester - Mold - Denbigh; Rhyl - Denbigh - Corwen.
Peterborough - Louth - Grimsby.
Aberystwyth - Carmarthen (3 round trips, all with Manors)
Plus numerous others, including the last day of Wolverton - Newport Pagnell, when the usual 2 coach push-pull set was increased to 4 coaches
 

daveo

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I missed out on and regret not experiencing West Croydon to Wimbledon , Epping to Ongar and Holborn to Aldwych !

Epping to Ongar still exists as a preserved line - with a vintage bus from Epping LU station - in more normal times!
 

frodshamfella

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I think that everyone will have missed travelling on lost lines. Some closed before we were born, some when we were too young to be interested, and some because we could not afford the time or money to get there - or sometimes we did not realise how quickly lines would disappear after Marples + Beeching started their destruction.

I managed Ongar and Aldwych plus many others, but some I regret missing include:
The entire Midland & Great Northern system (except the North Norfolk' preserved line, Sheringham to Holt).
The North Cornwall lines, Okehampton to Padstow & Bude
All the routes serving Brecon
Dumfries to Stranraer.
Darlington To Barnard Castle,
Penrith & Tebay
Hull to Withernsea & Hornsea
etc., etc.

Those I managed include:
Fraserburgh (Peterhead had already closed)
Scottish North Coast line, Cairnie Jn - Buckie - Elgin. (Both with Class 21s)
Aviemore - Forres & Caigellachie / Keith.
Waverley Route (was disappointed to find my first trip was with a Peak when I was hoping for an A3 or A2.)
Ruabon - Barmouth.
Chester - Mold - Denbigh; Rhyl - Denbigh - Corwen.
Peterborough - Louth - Grimsby.
Aberystwyth - Carmarthen (3 round trips, all with Manors)
Plus numerous others, including the last day of Wolverton - Newport Pagnell, when the usual 2 coach push-pull set was increased to 4 coaches

I think your right when you said some lines went faster than expected to, I suppose there was less means of communication then too, if you were not in the vicinity .
 

theblackwatch

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I did Aldwych - on a weekday visit to London, instead of my usual peak hour unit bashing, I ensured I covered the branch as I knew it was closing. Annoyingly, I didn't bother with Epping to Ongar as it as outside of Zone 6 for the Travelcard!

Also, when I was in London one Sunday, I ensured I covered the East London Line - if me memory serves me right, it ran to Shoreditch at peak hours only and on Sunday mornings, the latter being to cater for visitors to Shoreditch Market. I'm sure someone more local can expand on that or correct me.
 

Polarbear

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I managed to ride on both Epping - Ongar and Holborn - Aldwych before they closed in 1994. The run to Ongar was always a quiet backwater of the underground network. It was certainly strange being so far out into the countryside on a tube train.

I didn't start travelling around the UK network until the late 1970's, so whilst there are many lines that I would have loved to have travelled along, I'll just mention a few that I could have done, but missed;
  • Paisley - Kilmalcom
  • March - Spalding
  • Tunbridge Wells -Eridge
  • Sheffield - York via Cudworth
  • Woodhead
 

Polarbear

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Also, when I was in London one Sunday, I ensured I covered the East London Line - if me memory serves me right, it ran to Shoreditch at peak hours only and on Sunday mornings, the latter being to cater for visitors to Shoreditch Market. I'm sure someone more local can expand on that or correct me.

That's my recollection - peak hours on weekdays and Sunday mornings until around 13:30 for Shoreditch market.
 

PeterC

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I was just too young for independent travel to manage Stratford to Palace Gates which was the first to come to mind.
Considering ones reasonable local to me living on the outskirts of London.

Never managed Aldwych, Shoreditch or Epping - Ongar under London Transport.
The Widened Lines out of Moorgate.
Broad Street services via Primrose Hill and Finsbury Park
Graham Road Curve
Tilbury Riverside (always easier to catch a 370 bus on the couple of occasions I used the ferry)

Ones I did get were Broad Street (North London Line), Kentish Town to Barking, Stratford - North Woolwich
 

Vespa

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You can still visit Aldwych as part of a tour, it does get booked very quickly,
I travelled it when it was open And visited it last year as part of a tour.
Did Epping - Ongar as heritage railway, I missed out riding it as LU, they do have a tube stock in the sidings and I think its taken out on a run with a loco for special vents.

I missed out on Liverpool Exchange and Central station before it closed down in 1977, I was 10 at the time and didn't realise the significance of it as the Liverpool Underground was all I knew at the time.
 

NoMorePacers

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I do wish I could've travelled on Stratford-North Woolwich and the Oldham Loop, but they closed before I had any chance of travelling by myself.
 

edwin_m

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Beeching was a few years before I was born so most lines closed before I was old enough to visit them. One not mentioned yet that I got to was the Clayton West branch, I also visited Aldwych, North Woolwich, Broad Street, Graham Road curve, Primrose Hill and Charing Cross Jubilee but not Ongar. While still quite young I went on a railtour with my uncle including Airdrie-Bathgate, freight only at the time but later closed completely and later still re-opened as an electrified passenger line! Move to Tyneside just too late to ride any of the services closed down for Metro conversion, but I think Bank Foot towards Ponteland is the only closed line I've walked, and later had a chance to ride on a train.
 

vlad

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I was annoyed with myself that I never got round to doing Charing Cross on the Jubilee Line before it closed, although I appreciate the line is wholly in tunnel so I wouldn't have seen much.

As a result, I deliberately did Whitechapel to Shoreditch, which again wasn't particularly scenic. I liked Shoreditch station, however: it seemed surprisingly small and underused.
 

AndrewE

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I also got to Broad Street a few years before it closed: a weird desolate place and (I guess) not unusual in the last days of termini losing their function... I think I also did Liverpool Exchange to Preston (or somewhere else NE from the city.) You will see that record-keeping wasn't a priority for us then...
One regret is that despite living in Bristol I didn't get the Bridport branch. Didn't get to Alston either, for that matter...
 

Mag_seven

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I was allowed to have a holiday in London on my own in 1982 when I'm sure I did Epping to Ongar but not being one that would record anything I can't definitely verify it.
 

Man of Kent

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I think Bank Foot towards Ponteland is the only closed line I've walked, and later had a chance to ride on a train.
Two other examples I've managed: the Groudle Glen Railway on the Isle of Man, and the Welsh Highland Railway, notably the bit through the Aberglaslyn Pass.
 

Bedpan

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I'm kicking myself for not doing the GW line from West Ruislip into Paddington before it closed. I don't know if there i any prospect of it being reopened once the HS2 works are completed, but I doubt it. I have fairly recently caught the diverted service to West Ealing (South Ruisip to West Ealing and then back to High Wycombe) though.

Most of Wimbldon to West Croydon is still open as London Tramlink, the only changes being that at Mitcham Junction, the two junctions at Mitcham Junction have been done away with, the tram now crosses the railway on an overbridge, and similarly it no longer joins the "real" railway outside West Croydon.
 

edwin_m

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I don't know if there i any prospect of it being reopened once the HS2 works are completed, but I doubt it.
There seems to be a good chance, although the Old Oak station will prevent it being re-connected to the GWML. Chiltern have proposed running some of their services to a single-platform station a short walk from OOC, which would help relieve capacity at Marylebone and provide some alternative routeings for destinations such as Heathrow and the Thames Valley.
 

Bishopstone

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Epping-Ongar in LUL days is the subject of decent YouTube coverage. There's a cab ride (both ways) filmed by a motorman in 1980, prior to the closure of Blake Hall station; some footage of regular runs in the last year or so prior to closure, and also at least one 'last day' home movie, which confirms the final departure from Ongar was exceedingly packed!
 

gazthomas

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Being brought up in North Wales in the 1989s I regret not doing the lines to Amlwch and Trawsfynydd. In the case of the latter they ran a Sunday summer service which I always planned to do but then it stopped!
 

frodshamfella

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I did Aldwych - on a weekday visit to London, instead of my usual peak hour unit bashing, I ensured I covered the branch as I knew it was closing. Annoyingly, I didn't bother with Epping to Ongar as it as outside of Zone 6 for the Travelcard!

Also, when I was in London one Sunday, I ensured I covered the East London Line - if me memory serves me right, it ran to Shoreditch at peak hours only and on Sunday mornings, the latter being to cater for visitors to Shoreditch Market. I'm sure someone more local can expand on that or correct me.

Thats right re the East London Lines with regards to Shoreditch, I sometimes went that way to work instead of going to BR Cannon Street.
 

frodshamfella

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Epping-Ongar in LUL days is the subject of decent YouTube coverage. There's a cab ride (both ways) filmed by a motorman in 1980, prior to the closure of Blake Hall station; some footage of regular runs in the last year or so prior to closure, and also at least one 'last day' home movie, which confirms the final departure from Ongar was exceedingly packed!

I think Blake Hall closed a bit before the Central stopped all together ?
 

frodshamfella

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I managed to ride on both Epping - Ongar and Holborn - Aldwych before they closed in 1994. The run to Ongar was always a quiet backwater of the underground network. It was certainly strange being so far out into the countryside on a tube train.

I didn't start travelling around the UK network until the late 1970's, so whilst there are many lines that I would have loved to have travelled along, I'll just mention a few that I could have done, but missed;
  • Paisley - Kilmalcom
  • March - Spalding
  • Tunbridge Wells -Eridge
  • Sheffield - York via Cudworth
  • Woodhead
I always found tube trains in rural areas a rather strange sight, Epping to Ongar particularly .
 

frodshamfella

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I also got to Broad Street a few years before it closed: a weird desolate place and (I guess) not unusual in the last days of termini losing their function... I think I also did Liverpool Exchange to Preston (or somewhere else NE from the city.) You will see that record-keeping wasn't a priority for us then...
One regret is that despite living in Bristol I didn't get the Bridport branch. Didn't get to Alston either, for that matter...

I used Broad Street a few times, I had a friend in Gunnersbury and took the long trip round. I found having a London terminus so quiet with just 3 trains per hour rather odd, the place was pretty dilapidated, a lot the canopy had gone and only some of the platforms were being used. I also traveled from Liverpool Street to Primrose Hill on the peak hour Watford Junc service which transferred from Broad Street after it had been closed.
 

Busaholic

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That's my recollection - peak hours on weekdays and Sunday mornings until around 13:30 for Shoreditch market.
It also served a wider market/shop area on Sundays for South and South East Londoners who couldn't be bothered to change at Whitechapel to a crowded District Line train. The whole district colloquially known as Petticoat Lane also had extensions of bus routes (mainly to Aldgate Bus Station) of bus routes from further afield (e.g. the 9 from Hammersmith, 44 from Mitcham, 95 from Streatham), also the 243a providing a unique connection from Wood Green to Bishopsgate on that day.
 

Polarbear

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I also got to Broad Street a few years before it closed: a weird desolate place and (I guess) not unusual in the last days of termini losing their function... I think I also did Liverpool Exchange to Preston (or somewhere else NE from the city.) You will see that record-keeping wasn't a priority for us then...
One regret is that despite living in Bristol I didn't get the Bridport branch. Didn't get to Alston either, for that matter...

Ah, Broad Street. It was something of an eyesore in the run up to closure. Only managed to leave there the once before it shut.
 

Journeyman

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Epping to Ongar still exists as a preserved line - with a vintage bus from Epping LU station - in more normal times!

Well worth visiting. I did it in the early nineties and again in the final week - it's the only line I've traveled on in both its "normal" and preserved lives.

Of course, Holborn to Aldwych closed the same day. I never got to travel on it, but subsequently explored it thoroughly on foot when I worked on the Underground. I saw all the disused bits at Holborn, walked through the tunnel without track in it, and visited Aldwych several times. A lot of stuff at the Holborn end has gone now.
 

Dave W

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I always found tube trains in rural areas a rather strange sight, Epping to Ongar particularly .

Yes I often think the same about the North London extremities of the Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly Lines. Decidedly less “London” landscape they travel through. The Piccadilly between Oakwood and Cockfosters is bound to the north side by farmland. I imagine the Met is the same.
 
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