Steam trains to return to the Met Line on the Underground?

On this blog I like to give people a “heads up” about things happening that might be of interest, but rarely have I forewarned people with this much notice.

However, 2013 will be worth looking forward to as the Transport Museum has applied for, and been granted provisional approval to restore its Metropolitan Railway ‘Jubilee’ Stock carriage (No 353 built 1892) in time for the 150th anniversary of the Met Line.

Formally, the Museum has received a Stage 1 Development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the preparations of the bid documentation and the decision to restore the carriage will be announced later this summer.

Quite obviously, there is NO point phoning them to book tickets or ask for more information – yet. So don’t hassle them!

The 150th anniversary date for your diaries though is the 10th January 2013 – although events will run all year.

If you want to see some similar carriages, then the Bluebell heritage railway brought some carriages from the similar range in 1961 for the princely sum of £65 each and restored them. They got four carriages, one was scrapped and the last one went to the Transport Museum – and is the one due for restoration if the Lottery Funding application is approved.

Restored Carriages on the Bluebell Railway

And here is the carriage in its current condition in the Museum’s Acton Depot. That’s quite a restoration job they have ahead of them.

Photo courtesy of the London Transport Museum

However, not formally announced by the Museum, but spotted by the editor of London Reconnections – who looks at the Tranport Museum’s plans here – is the possibility of also pulling the restored carriage(s) behind a Steam Train!

Without the steam train, I would guess that they would use the electric locomotive Sarah Siddons to pull the restored carriage along the network – but wouldn’t it just be absolutely amazing to see a steam train chugging through Baker Street station again?

There is at least one version of the Metropolitan Railway E Class locomotive in working order, but it would need additional works to allow it onto the London Underground network (even if limited to the above ground bits) so that is what the tender paperwork is for.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Exciting times!

Updated 19th May: to change the photo of the carriage from mine to theirs – as mine was the wrong carriage.

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14 Comments

  1. John Dixon

    This would be very much worth seeing. An evocation of Metroland. But, the tunnels will I think be “no go”. See C. Wolmar’s “subterranean railway” for a vivid picture of how unpleasant description of stem locos in the tunnels.

    • IanVisits

      Regularly running steam trains would indeed be rather yeuky – but one train on rare occasions is hardly going to turn the tunnels into Victorian pea-soupers.

  2. I bought the Metroland DVD at the LT museum this weekend. Can’t wait to watch it again :)

  3. Dave H

    Items which used to run with steam can be run with compressed air, or the steam can be provided by a source which adds only CO2 and a bit more steam to the exhaust gases, rather than the SO2/3 and NO1/2 that come as added value with coal & oil

    So still a bit of time to consider how to deliver a cleaner steamer for a tunnel trip (I guess though that Sarah Siddons will have to be present just in case)

    • IanVisits

      I hope not!

      Half the fun of steam trains is the noise, the heat AND the smell.

    • Paul Hitchcock

      An engine built to run on steam needs radical modification to the lubrication arrangements if it is to run on compressed air for other than a short period.

  4. Sue

    Is there any way we can support the application for the grant? I’m sure HLF isn’t a democracy, but I’d love to be able to tell them this is a damn cool thing and they should hand over the cash.

  5. Jim

    I rode in the brake van attached to the ex GWR steam loco pulling the special works train, on the final day of Underground steam operation in June 1971, from Moorgate to Neasden depot.
    It was only in the confined space of the single track tunnel north of Baker Street with the loco working hard up the gradient that conditions became very unpleasant when standing on the open end of the brake van, being engulfed in smoke with a touch of grit!

  6. Glyn

    The coach that is from the same lot as the four that the Bluebell railway bought in 1961 is ‘bogie’ stock vehicle No 400 and is already restored. It resides in the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden. The coach body that is scheduled for restoration and pictured above is a ‘Jubilee’ stock four-wheeler. Restoration of the body pictured above will be fantatic achievement but one only has to look at the four-wheeled coaches on the Isle of Wight Steam railway to see what is possible. Most of those were restored from having been holiday chalets or chicken houses!

  7. Derrick Martin

    I would have thought that with 2013 looming some effort would have been made to restore the 1904 Metropolitan carriage recovered from Woolwich some 10 years ago,at least an external cosmetic make over to display it for the 150th birthday.

    • IanVisits

      I’m sure they’d be delighted to.

      You paying?

  8. WRS

    There is a steam train at Baker Street station tonight – i know as I am on the crew. H&S nightmare but things can always be doen with the right approval. Baker St to Edgware.

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