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150 years of the London Underground 'Underground Pioneer' Anniversary Train.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first Underground Railway a special train was pulled together to recreate the experience of steam in the Victorian age one more time. Hauled by Metropolitan No 1 (the last steam engine to be built at Neasden in 1898) and supplemented with heritage coaches from the Bluebell Railway several specials were run in mid January 2013. After watching a couple of runs on the line I was lucky enough to have a ticket to travel between Moorgate and Earls Court on the very last train on Sunday 20th January.

Anyone familiar with London's modern day Tube system will know it can at times feel a claustrophobic and cramped place so imagine traveling in fully upholstered seats in carriages with the windows open. There was both the rush of cold air from a winters night and the occasional sweet oily smell of of the steam wafting through the opening. Our surprise at our mode of travel on the Underground was nothing to the quite amazed expressions of those on the station platforms. Naturally there were gatherings of rail enthusiasts present but there were also people just trying to get home too. Imagine, if you will, waiting for the next Aldgate train at Kings Cross expecting to hear the familar drone and rattle of an electric train only to see a steam train come puffing through leaving you in a hazy white cloud.

All in all quite an amazing experience and with talk of it being repeated it's something well worth keeping an eye out for should it happen again.      

All photographs copyright artofthestate 2013

Underground Pioneer train

Underground Pioneer passing through Barbican Station on Sunday 20th January 2013.

London Underground Pioneer 150th Anniversary Train

London Underground Pioneer 150th Anniversary Train

Metropolitan No.1 Locomotive

Metropolitan No.1 Locomotive at Earls Court station

Sarah Siddons Locomotive

Sarah Siddons Electric Locomotive at the other end of the train

Metropolitan Railway Heritage Carriage

Metropolitan Railway Heritage Carriage

carriage interior

With thanks to everyone involved in running what seems to have been a very successful two weekends of events. Here's hoping there will be more.

 

 

LONDON RAIL INDEX

London Underground 
Brompton Road (disused) 
Aldwych (disused)
Waterloo & City Line
Underground Pioneer (150 years)
Boston Manor Signal Box
Art Deco on the Underground

West London Branch lines
Staines to West Drayton 
Southall to Brentford
West Drayton to Uxbridge
West Ealing to Greenford
Uxbridge High Street to Denham 

Other Railway Relics
Slough to Windsor branch line
Maidenhead Boyne Hill station
Feltham Mashalling Yards
Feltham Station
Feltham Cavalry Tunnel 
Richmond - old BR posters

Other London photos