Transport enthusiasts, two world wars and 15 decades mark the history behind a heritage railway station.

The Epping Ongar Railway, is set to commemorate 150 years since the Tube line was opened in Coopersale, Epping, in 1865.

In 1862 the construction of a line to connect Loughton and Ongar was put underway by Epping Railway.

After three years of building, the first train to pass through the line, which was made up of six stations known as Chigwell Lane – which is now Debden, Theydon Bois, Epping, North Weald, Blake Hall and Ongar, did so on April 24 1865 and was met by local dignitaries, a brass band and Cadet Corps from Dr Clark's Grammar School, which fired a celebration volley as it arrived in Ongar.

Ongar saw the most changes in the early part of the line's history.

A cattle pen was added in June 1868, a new approach road to the goods yard in October 1870 and a Porters' Room in 1887 which matched the original 1865 station.

A cart weighbridge was installed in April 1889 for £155 which is still on display at Ongar Station.

The railway, which had one passenger platform, five sidings and a goods shed, became an important part  of the economy after it was used regularly to transport milk into the city.

By 1918 more than 680,000 pints of milk was being supplied to Stratford each week, however following the end of the First World War, rail strikes, competition from road transport and a lack of investment in bulk handling facilities, the level of freight traffic diminished.

In 1949, a New Works Programme proposed by the Government saw the line electrified and a twenty minute passenger service was offered between Epping and Ongar, however passenger numbers were reducing.

In 1970 London Transport reported that the Epping to Ongar section of the line was operating at a loss of £100,000 per year and it started formal closure proceedings which were later refused by The Secretary of State in 1972.

In 1980 London Transport attempted to obtain a further closure order however this sparked the creation of the Epping and Ongar Railway Society and Epping Forest Railway Ltd, a group which both aimed at saving the line and operating it as a heritage railway.

With six passengers a day Blake Hall Station was the least used station on the whole London Transport Network and was closed in October 1981.

In the early 90s London Transport again applied for closure, this time suggesting the sale of the branch as an operational railway to a third party.

This was approved and on September 30, 1994, passenger services between Epping and Ongar were withdrawn.

In May 2012 an extensive rebuilding project saw the Epping Ongar Railway, which is now locally known for its Christmas, Halloween and half term events, resume steam and diesel services on the line.

Today, staff and volunteers on the line are preparing to celebrate their 150th anniversary with visits from historic 1920s LNER locomotives over the weekend on April 24 to 26.

Dean Walton, Business Development Manager said, "The staff and volunteers of the Epping Ongar Railway feel very privileged to be part of the line's 150 year history.

“The celebrations begin in earnest on April 24 when we mark the events 150 years ago with a tremendous line up of locomotives.

“We will continue into our community-focused Victorian event in August.

“No doubt a glass or two will be raised, off duty of course, at times throughout the year

“We all are proud to have played our part in preserving the line for years to come.”