This weekend will mark the occasional opening of the Transport Museum’s overflow warehouse out in darkest Acton, and if you haven’t been, then it is worth a trip.
To the depot that is, not Acton.
Basically a former train shed right next to the current sidings for tube trains, it has a good number of old tube trains in various states of repair, a big collection of old buses and trams and for me the best bit – a couple of floors packed full of station “junk”.
Actually, I quite like it as a museum as there is limited effort to curate the exhibits or make the place look nice for visitors – it is just a warehouse they let people into at times, and is all the better for it.
Even previous visitors might care to make a return trip, as a recent donation will be on display for the first time, the so-called Royal Train – which is actually just a 1967 tube train, but it is the one used by Her Maj to open the Victoria Line in 1969.
I wonder if they will mark which seat carried the Royal Backside on the short and suspiciously trouble free trip?
There will also be a collection of model railways, an electric mini-railway you can sit on and which will run around the depot, and another outdoor ride-on mini-railway.
You can buy tickets on the day at the depot, but sometimes the queue can be daunting, so buying tickets in advance from the Transport Museum (020 7565 7298) is wise.
Tickets are valid on both days and cost £10 for adults, £8 for senior citizens, £6.50 concessions and £5 London Transport Museum Friends. Accompanied children under 16 Free.
The depot is right next to Acton Town tube station (map link) on the Picadilly and District Lines and shockingly, there are no engineering works planned this weekend for that part of the network, so you can actually catch the train there.
A tip – they (usually) don’t let you carry large bags around the place and there is a cloakroom for that – so to avoid that queue, only take a small bag with you. My camera bag just about passes their shoebox test.
There will be talks:
Christian Wolmar, writer and broadcaster specialising in transport, will give two talks each day at the Depot this weekend. Both talks will be centred around his newly released book Engines of war and also Subterranean Railway which was published in 2004.
Engines of war: How wars were won and lost on the railways
Subterranean Railway: Fantastic achievements of London Underground’s pioneers.
Saturday 12th March
Engines of War – 13.20 – 14.00
Subterranean Railways – 14.50 – 15.30
Sunday 13th March
Engines of War -13.30 – 14.10
Subterranean Railways – 15.30 – 16.10