Chingford and Loughton

INTRODUCTION

Following on from my post “Epping – Gateway to London“, this post features two old stations and some prime walking territory.

CONTRASTING HISTORIES

Chingford opened in 1878 as part of the Eastern Counties Railway, which subsequently became the Great Eastern Railway, and until this local commuter line was subsumed into London Overground there were no other significant changes. It had originally been seen as being an intermediate station, but then a change to the status of Epping Forest effectively rendered extension impossible (and quite rightly so).

Loughton, also originally on an Eastern Counties/ Great Eastern Railway branch, first opened in 1856, with the Central line taking over the running of this branch from Stratford to its original terminus at Ongar in 1948-9 (it is not the oldest section of line to be run be London Underground – the northern end of the High Barnet branch of the Northern line, which opened under the aegis of the London & North Eastern Railway in 1841 has that distinction). The station building at Loughton, pictured below (from this original posted on 150greatthingsabouttheunderground) clearly shows its Victorian origins:

Loughton Station

For more information about the two stations here a couple of links:

Chingford
Loughton

WHY THE JUXTAPOSITION?

First off, the two stations are actually reasonably close together (although not close enough for even me to suggest that it would be worth showing a potential interchange between them), as this map shows…

Chingford - Loughton

Secondly, while looking for walks around Epping, I saw this walk from Chingford to Epping which passes High Beach Visitor Centre:

DSCN9343

I recalled the route down from this visitor centre to Loughton station, following the Loughton Brook as being an attractive one (I walked it, in both directions, several times when I was living in London). Thus, given the amount of material I already had for the Epping post I decided on a second post to make use of this find. Here is the map produced by the visitor centre website:

Epping Forest

Also, just to show you the length of the long walking route I have in mind, Chingford-High Beach Visitor Centre – Loughton, here are two more maps…

The first section of the walk, from Chingford.
The first section of the walk, from Chingford.
The second section of the walk, to Loughton
The second section of the walk, to Loughton

Incidentally, one can follow the Loughton Brook beyond Loughton to the point at which it flows into the river Roding as well.

MORE MAPS

The maps in this section, some old and some new, show more detail about these stations…

An A-Z double page spread.
An A-Z double page spread.
The digrammatic history.
The digrammatic history.
A geographical London Connections map (from the latter half of the 1990s)
A geographical London Connections map (from the latter half of the 1990s)
The 2015 London Connections map
The 2015 London Connections map
A tiny extract from a very old railway map of Britain.
A tiny extract from a very old railway map of Britain.

AFTERWORD – ON FARE ZONES

When I first visited that part of the world, Loughton had an extra distinction – it was the last point on the Central line that one could visit on a travel card (the Metropolitan also had stations outside the travel card zones – Moor Park being the boundary in that case). Nowadays all of London Underground falls within one or other fare zone, and there is a suggestion (massively endorsed by this site) on the table from London mayoral candidate Sian Berry that would further simplify matters.

Epping – Gateway to London

INTRODUCTION

This post focuses on a single station. The idea developed from a conversation with a work colleague in which trips to London were mentioned and he explained that with a family of four it was cheaper to drive to Epping, stay overnight at a hotel there and use London Underground from there than to travel by train.

THE NORTHEASTERN CORNER

Epping, first served by London Underground in 1940 (the whole stretch of the Central line beyond Stratford started life as Great Eastern Railway branch line, and Loughton, three stops south of Epping, still has its Victorian era GER building), is now the north-eastern limit of the system (more of this later, and also see the speculative section of the piece about the central line). There is cheap hotel accommodation close to the station, which means the for folk who would naturally approach the city from the northeast and drive it is a good place to choose as a base for a visit to the capital. Because of its interchanges with every other line on the system the central line is a good one to be based on, as Danny Dorling in “The 32 Stops”, the best of the penguin series celebrating the 150th anniversary of London Underground, points out. A few examples of major attractions and the necessary connections follow:

  • The museums of South Kensington (either change at Mile End to the District or at Holborn to the Piccadilly according to choice, bonus tip: take a picnic with you and lunch in Hyde Park).
  • Maritime Greenwich – change at Stratford to the Docklands Light Railway and choose one of two possibilities:
    1)Alight at Island Gardens and take the foot tunnel to the Greenwich side of the Thames, returning to Greenwich having finished your explorations or…
    2)Unimaginatively alight at Cutty Sark to start your explorations there.
  • The British Museum – no changes needed as Tottenham Court Road is only a few hundred yards away.
  • Wembley Stadium – change at Stratford to the Jubilee or at Liverpool Street to the Metropolitan
  • The South Bank Centre – change at Tottenham Court Road to the Northern and go south to Embankment, strolling across the Thames from there (this is definitely quicker than travelling the extra stop to Waterloo).

At the moment Epping is at the outside edge of fare zone 6, although London mayoral candidate Sian Berry has an excellent idea that will change this – see the following:

  1. Sian’s own piece
  2. This Evening Standard article
  3. This piece about the debate on fares.
  4. The Fair Fares campaign

Having detailed Epping’s value as a base our next section looks at…

THINGS TO DO IN EPPING

I mentioned earlier that Epping was not always the end of the line. Until 1994 the line ran to Ongar, although the section between Epping and Ongar was run as a shuttle service, making it feel very isolated. It is this that is at the centre of Epping based activities. There is a walking route from Epping to Ongar as detailed in “Country Walks Around London”, walk 12. This walk is 5 miles in length, meaning that an energetic person could choose to do it both ways.

DSCN9310 DSCN9311

However, there is also an alternative way of doing the same route, namely making use of the Epping-Ongar Railway, the longest heritage railway in Essex. Thus, if you want to explore this area that used by served by London Underground (and the village of Chipping Ongar is certainly worth a visit) you have a raft of options according to your energy levels:

  • Walk both ways
  • Walk out, Epping and Ongar Railway back
  • Epping and Ongar railway out, walk back
  • Epping and Ongar railway both ways

MAPS AND DIAGRAMS

Here are some pictures to help put Epping in context…

The Diagrammatic History
The Diagrammatic History
Epping today
Epping today
The map from which this picture comes is over 100 years old.
The map from which this picture comes is over 100 years old.
The London & Suburbs section ends at Woodford, which Danny Dorling echoed over a century later in The 32 Stops.
The London & Suburbs section ends at Woodford, which Danny Dorling echoed over a century later in The 32 Stops.
The first of two Google earth views
The first of two Google earth views

Epping2

This map featured in an article detailing the fact that London Overground will now run all suburban rail services in the capital.
This map featured in an article detailing the fact that London Overground will now run all suburban rail services in the capital.