Farewell to London Underground’s oldest serving tube trains

*oldest serving deep level tube stock – the Met line trains are older, but are not technically tube trains.

Earlier today just before it was sent to the scrap merchant, one of the last remaining 1967 era tube trains took a final farewell tour around the Underground network.

Although not explicitly the last time you will see one of these trains on the Victoria Line as there are still a few left, this was a final chance to celebrate what was at the time of their arrival, the “white heat of technology” burrowing itself into the heart of London.

Opened by Royalty, the era of the 67 stock was closed by a collection of enthusiasts on a lengthy trip that at nearly 6 hours was only slightly longer the daily commute.

1967 train on its final departure

It is difficult to explain the appeal of sitting on a tube train for such a lengthy time-frame, although there were several breaks for lunch and leg stretching – but the journey is enlivened as we passed each station by watching the reactions on the platform – which ranged from bemusement as the “wrong train” arrived to annoyance that a train, any train had arrived, then left without collecting customers.

The looks of shock are more pronounced if the little red 1938 train does a tour, but there were still people surprised to see a Victoria Line train on the Picadilly Line. Helped by the big V for Victory Victoria Line sign on the front of the trains.

Victoria Line and Central Line trains
A Victoria Line and Central Line train side by side

On the afternoon return run from Uxbridge, there were at some stations more photographers than passengers waiting as people came out to capture the rare sight of the Victoria Line train in the wrong place.

The sight of one photographer shouting at someone to get out of the way as we passed was most amusing, especially as he was himself breaking the rules by using a tripod on the platform!

Actually, I saw quite a lot of tripods in use, but it was good to see quite a few station staff joining in the fun as the train passed by on its last hurrah.

The trip was also fund raising for the Railway Children and the offer of a prize in the Raffle to visit their signal control centre in Osborne House was enough of a lure to have me pulling out coins. Sadly to little avail.

The Victoria Line manager was also on the train chatting to people and he spent a bit of time in our carriage.

Victoria Line Manager, John Doyle
Victoria Line Manager, John Doyle

He was able to confirm that the last 67 Stock to run along the whole line will be on Friday 27th May as engineering works means they can’t travel past Seven Sisters after that date, but a few will still ply their trade along the rest of the line for a couple more weeks.

The very last train ever on any part of the line will be around the middle of June. Was supposed to be the end of June/start July, but engineering works means they are probably going to bring the final trip forward. Details to be confirmed.

Rather interesting to me, was the comment about the braking systems.

As the moment, they use what could be seen as normal braking, but as soon as the last of the old 67 stock is removed, all the new 2009 Stock can switch to regenerative braking, which recycles the energy that is conventionally lost as heat back into the track.

He is quite keen to get that working as soon as possible as it will cut the amount of heat being dumped into the tunnels as the trains brake to slow down, which we can all agree will be a very good thing.

My previous blog post on the efforts into cooling the tube tunnels here.

Driver's Eye View
The Driver's Eye View Leaving Ealing Broadway

Apart from that – not much more to say than it was an unusual tour to take, not just for taking the train along the wrong lines, but the tube geek pleasure of using crossovers that the public should never normally get to use, such as switching from the Victoria Line to the Picadilly Line – or a chance to go into some sidings that normally need the train to be empty to use.

Silly pleasures, but they tick a box.

Victoria Line train at Uxbridge

More photos here.

13 thoughts on “Farewell to London Underground’s oldest serving tube trains

  1. well done for another interesting event reported, are you the most prolific blogger of the enthusiasts normally on these days?

    small correction though, braking/brakes vs breaking/breaks

  2. Great writing and photos – many thanks. Am very jealous. Vauguely remember as a kid seeing a report on TV about these trains coming into service.

  3. Great little snippet of ‘history in the making’
    your tweets this morning re: times and locations where you would be passing through were definitely peaking my interest. Thank you for posting this up soon after the event. Looks like you had a good time.

  4. interesting about the regenerative braking. I noticed how hot the victoria line was the other day (and not on a hot day), and when walking near the trains you get a sudden blast of heat from underneath.

  5. Burrow is a good word to use when talking about tube trains. If they are exposed to the open air (Isle of Mann?), they always look like they need to burrow down.

    1. Andrew: The tube trains that have escaped are on the Isle of White. The Isle of Mann are still using steam trains and horse trams! I agree about them looking like they need to burrow.

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