In 1938, a new modern tube train was introduced on London Underground – with the radical change in that it abolished the front locomotive which used to pull tube trains.
In 1998, the 1938 stock made its final trip on the Northern Line.
In 2008 – I made a trip on a restored 1938 tube train.
Occasionally, the London Transport museum run special heritage trains, and as this is the 70th anniversary of the 1938 stock being introduced onto London Underground there are a few runs taking place. Today was the first and I managed to get a ticket for the last run of the day. Made my way over to Ealing Common and collected my tickets for the special trip.
They were also handing out a short leaflet about the train and a map/folder which was issued in the run up to the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Nothing to do with the train itself, but incredibly fascinating to read.
We waited on the platform and as the train finally arrived, we rushed to the platform edge to get a decent view and take photos, then after a short delay, we were off on a trip up to Uxbridge Station and back again.
The trip itself was uneventful – just a normal trip along the line, although without stops. I correct that – there was one stop as someone had got on the train thinking it was a normal trip and had to be evicted!
It was quite nice though to trundle along the line, admiring the interior and as we went through the stations, there were looks of astonishment from some of the waiting passengers as this “odd looking” train went running past the platforms with passengers on board. Was quite a smug feeling to be honest ;)
One thing which I was not aware of was an early experiment in aerodynamics – and the early models of the trains were fitted with a sloping front which would presumably improve airflow when in tunnels. It was shortly found out that they made absolutely no difference whatsoever and were removed – which is a pity as a b&w photo which they give us of one looks quite amazing.
After a while we eventually pulled into Uxbridge station and there was plenty of time to take loads of photos – and as the driver prepared to use the other end to drive back, some of us could play at being a driver by sitting in the (now) rear drivers carriage for a moment.
The cost was quite steep to be honest, for what was just a trip there and back again, but the funds go to the museum so I am quite content with that. It was a nice experience though, and a couple of people turned up in period costume (maybe I will for the next trip!).
In a way, I think the bystanders on the stations we went past got a bit of a special day as well judging by the looks on some of their faces – and as the route times were publicized – there were obvious fans on most of the stations taking photos as well.
More photos on my usual Flicker photostream
As a final note – I got on the tube at Hammersmith at 2:30, and according to my Oyster card, would have got off at Canary Wharf at 5pm. I bet that trip will cause a bit of computer head-scratching :)