This afternoon the formal process by which organisations, such as the London Transport Traction Group (LTTG), may express their interest in acquiring a Class 483 unit was announced by South Western Railway. This process requires interested organisations to demonstrate that they have “the capacity and financial security to remove and look after the train, as well as a suitable long-term physical location for the train.”.
As many of you will know, the LTTG have already started negotiating a long term storage and operating solution, but we cannot guarantee financial security without your help. Therefore, the committee has decided that we are now at such a stage that we are able to take financial pledges and will shortly be making membership and donation options available.
Although we have always maintained that we would not be opening these options until we had been allocated a unit this latest development means that without the assistance that these options provide we will not be able to fulfil our aim of securing, restoring and operating under its own power a train of tube stock on the Epping Ongar Railway.
A full proposal detailing the aims and projected outcomes of Project 483 will be produced in the coming weeks.
If you wish to make a financial pledge to the London Transport Group, please use the registration form below, stating how much you wish to pledge to the LTTG. Please note that a pledge made to the London Transport Traction Group is non-binding until the group is allocated a unit by South Western Railway and is able to be cancelled at any time by contacting the Treasurer.
Daniel Nash; Secretary, London Transport Traction Group
On Wednesday the London Transport Traction Group proudly announced that we are now working with the Epping Ongar Railway to ensure that any unit the group acquires is able to be preserved at what we feel is the most suitable mainland location.
In their respective statements the LTTG and the EOR both made mention of the EOR's tube heritage as the branch was part of the Central Line from the 1960s until the 1990s. Before this time, however, the line from Epping to Ongar was worked by British Railways' Eastern Region, and before that the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER).
In the late-1930s London Transport initiated the famous New Works Programme. Part of this ambitious infrastructure project sought to expand the Northern and Central Lines North and East respectively arrangements were made with the LNER for passenger services on some of their lines to be electrified and operated by London Transport. These included the ex-Great Northern Railway (GNR) line to High Barnet and the ex-Great Eastern Railway (GER) line from Leyton Junction to Ongar, via Epping, including what today forms the Hainault loop between Newbury Park and Woodford.
The Northern Line was also intended to take over passenger services on the ex-GNR lines to Alexandra Palace, Edgware (via Mill Hill East) and Finsbury Park along with an extension North from Edgware to Bushey Heath. Owing to the onset of the Second World War and financial constraints afterwards the only part of these latter schemes to come to fruition was the branch from Mill Hill to Mill Hill East.
Because these lines were to be electrified as part of a joint working agreement between LT and the LNER it was required that a certain amount of the new rolling stock be owned by the LNER. As such a number of new 1938 stock cars intended for the Northern and Central line extensions were officially owned by the LNER and carried small plates declaring their ownership. In the event none of these new units operated on the Central Line, instead being deployed to the Northern and Bakerloo Lines.
The numbers of the Driving Motor cars owned by the LNER ran from 10238-10323 and 11238-11323.
It is perhaps interesting to note, then, the original London Transport car numbers for the remaining serviceable Class 483 units -
483006: 10297 & 11297
483007: 10291 & 11291
483008: 10255 & 11255
483009 (Withdrawn): 10289 & 11289
As can be seen, all remaining serviceable units, and additionally 483009, are in fact drawn from the units originally owned by the LNER and potentially destined for Central Line services to Epping and Ongar had the Second World War not intervened. The connection between the Class 483s and the Ongar branch is therefore rather more involved than their simply being tube stock, and hopefully it will not be too long before some of these cars are finally able to reach to their originally-intended destination.
The London Transport Traction Group is excited to announce that we are at an advanced stage of negotiations with the Epping Ongar Railway for the storage and operation of a class 483 unit, to be owned by The Group, on the line. Full details are pending final agreements following a costed proposal which will be produced when representatives of The Group are able to inspect the remaining units in order to identify the ideal candidate for our purposes.
A spokesman from the Epping Ongar Railway issued the following statement:
“Given our strong links with the Underground we're very excited about the possibility of seeing a unit like this run under its own power. We've had informal discussions with The London Transport Traction Group and look forward to seeing more details soon. Though we're some way away the concept of bringing tubes back to our line is something that we support - after all we did just that in 2014!"
A spokesman from the London Transport Traction Group said:
“We are very excited by the possibilities presented to us by the Epping Ongar Railway. To see a set of tube stock based on the line will be a wonderful way of celebrating this railway’s unique tube heritage as well as opening up other new opportunities for both organisations.”
The unit will be operated on the Epping Ongar Railway under its own power rather than by loco haulage, currently set to be unique within UK underground train preservation.
Negotiations with South Western Railway are currently at an early stage, but are progressing well.