<tr><th colspan="2" style="text-align:center; background-color: #efefef">Location</th></tr><tr><th style="">Place</th><td class="locality adr" style="">Chipping Ongar</td></tr><tr><th style="">Local authority</th><td class="note" style="">Epping Forest (district)</td></tr><tr><th colspan="2" style="text-align:center; background-color: #efefef">History</th></tr><tr><th style="">Opened by</th><td class="note" style="">Eastern Counties Railway</td></tr><tr><th style="">Platforms</th><td class="" style="">1</td></tr><tr><th style="">Key dates</th><td class="note" style="">Opened 1865 (Central line) Closed 1994 (Central line) Reopened 2004 (EOR) Closed every winter</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align:center; ">Template:Portal frameless</td></tr>
Ongar tube station is a former London Underground station in the town of Chipping Ongar, Essex. Until its closure in 1994, it was the easternmost point of the Central line, and from 1961 until its closure in 1994 it held the distinction of being the London Underground station farthest from Central London.
The station was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway on 24 April 1865, serving principally as a goods station taking agricultural produce from the nearby farms into central London. On 29 September 1949, London Underground services took over the operation of the station from British Railways when services were extended from Loughton.
Although the rest of the branch was electrified by London Underground before operations were taken over from British Railways, trains on the section north of Epping continued to be hauled by steam locomotives as a separate shuttle service. The service was operated by British Railways for the Underground until 1957, when the line was electrified. A shortage of power prevented the Epping to Ongar section being fully integrated into the line and it continued to operate as a shuttle service.
The entire Epping to Ongar branch was a single track line with one passing place at North Weald station, although this loop was taken out of service in 1976. Until then two trains could use the branch, although they were limited to four cars in length because of the restriction on the available traction current. The service was reduced to one train after the southbound track at North Weald was lifted. It was therefore never suitable for heavy use, and the line was reportedly never profitable. For much of its latter years, the service only operated during Monday to Friday peak hours, and London Transport closed Blake Hall station, the least used on the entire system, in 1981. The line itself continued in use and there was a brief re-introduction of all day services in 1990. However, a system wide cost-cutting exercise saw the service return to peak hours soon afterward, with an even more skeletal service than before. The line was under threat of closure for many years, and it was finally closed on 30 September 1994 (as was Aldwych). The station and the line are now in the ownership of a private company, the Epping Ongar Railway Ltd who, at time of purchase, publicly stated their intention to run commuter services again, but the claimed lack of platform availability at London Underground's Epping station at the west end of the line has to date proven an insuperable obstacle to this. The Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Rail Society ran heritage trains on Sundays over the former Epping and Ongar line from 2004 until 2007.
The future of Ongar station is uncertain. Epping Forest District Council has had meetings about the future of the station. The scenarios being considered or previously considered for the Epping-Ongar line are as follows:
A re-extension of the Central line from Epping via North Weald. The line would be double-tracked and the services which currently terminate at Epping would be extended to Ongar.
A re-extension of the Central line from Epping via North Weald. The line would remain as single track with no through services.
To keep the line as a heritage line. However the Council has expressed the view that the line will not remain as a heritage line forever.
To rebuild the line to National Rail standards and run trains between Epping and Ongar. However there are problems with platform availability at Epping as the Central line now uses both platforms there due to a dramatic and continued increase in passenger numbers there over the last 10 years.
A very long term proposal is that if the Chelsea-Hackney line (a planned new London Underground line) goes ahead and takes over the Epping branch of the Central line then an extension to Stansted Airport would be possible: the extension would run over the Epping-Ongar line and then up to Stansted Airport via Harlow and Bishop's Stortford.
A guided bus way from Epping Station to Ongar was to be a possibility but this has been dropped.
The sand drag at the very end of the rails — intended to help slow trains that overshot the stopping mark — was said to be home to a breed of harmless scorpion and featured in a 1979 episode of the BBC's Wildlife on One. They had been released there by the station foreman who was a keeper of exotic pets.
Although the station is no longer owned by London Underground, all distances on the network are still measured from Ongar.
The Royal Navy's Tigerfish torpedo was known as Project ONGAR during development. It was named after the station as the engineers hoped their new weapon would be "...the end of the line for torpedo development".