Central Line
 

EPPING - ONGAR line (pt.2)

 


 

BLAKE HALL

(1865-1981)

 

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Blake Hall station was the least used tube station on the entire London Underground network - 6 passengers a day, according to the "Underground: The Story of the Tube" TV series about the underground shown around 2003.

 

 

 


Pre-closure (1979-ish), and...[moving your cursor over the image]...October 2000.

 

 

 

Front image: Epping bound train. The platform shown here has been demolished and will not be reinstated regardless of any future service additions.

Rear image (move cursor over the front image to view): Similar view from Apr 2005.

 

 

 

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The station building has been sold and is now a private dwelling.

 

 

 

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For posters that advertised the proposed and actual closure of the branch, click here (approx 200k).

For more info and photos of the station; www.disused-stations.org.uk

 


 

ONGAR

(1865-1994)

 

Move your cursor over the following images to swap between London Underground and EOR images.

 


Ongar station did have two tracks on the passenger side but only one platform.

The Dec 2004 photo was taken from further back on the platform.

 

 

 


View from the other end of the platform; the goods yard was on the right of the wall on the right hand side.

Move your cursor over the image to see a December 2004 photo taken from approximately the same position, the main difference being that the two-car EOR train is stabled much closer to the station building than the three-car tube train.

 

 

 

 


The goods yard after removal of the tracks.

Move your cursor over the image to see the goods yard in Dec 2004 after further demolition.

 

 

 

 


 According to Brendan Ratcliffe, this camper van of sorts was regularly parked outside the station and is believed to have belonged to one of the station staff.

 

(2nd image: Dec 2004)
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Some alternative photos taken of this line were donated to the Epping & Ongar Railway History website.

 

Some additional photos of this line from its London Underground days are here.

 


 

 

For a wonderfully evocative account of what the line was like in use, read Brendan Ratcliffe's reminisces below.

 

 

Loughton (Central Line)

 

 

I very much enjoyed your site. It was particularly interesting to pick up
some of the latest on the Ongar Epping branch line. I used this line on a
daily basis for my journey to school in Buckhurst Hill between 1975 and
1983.

There was a time when I could name those six passengers using Blake Hall
Station. This station was in fact in the middle of nowhere - the nearest
village was called Toot Hill (though not that near). The station was a great
distance from Blake Hall itself (a huge stately home and not a place, which
could be seen in the distance from the train between Ongar and Blake Hall).
The urban myth goes that in order to build the line through its associated
land, a station had to be built. Hence its location in the middle of
nowhere. I always assumed that owing to its remoteness, there was no mains
electricity in the station - those who used the station knew when the train
had departed Ongar because all the station lighting would dim then
brighten as the train accelerated out of Ongar. The same would happen when
the train pulled away in Blake Hall itself.

Until the discontinuation of the use of the second platform at North Weald,
all the signalling was of the semaphore type and was rod operated, along
with the points from the signal box. It was a quirky working museum piece in
the mid seventies.

Blake Hall station earned a small amount of fame in the seventies. It was
featured in the Evening Standard in 1976 (the hot summer) when a driver,
operating the train with the side door open was attacked by a mad rabbit,
which entered the cab at Blake Hall. It was also featured in a Sunday
Observer colour supplement Aprils Fools story, when it was reported that the
then poet laureate (John Betjeman) would take residence in the recently
abandoned station building.

Regards

Brendan Ratcliffe


 

 

Photos taken between 1977 and 1981, except where stated.