This weekend, steam trains return to central London and will run through London Underground tunnels once more, and can be expected to be greeted by gasps of delight and amazement from the unsuspecting tourists, and contented smiles from those who knew.
Although the first underground railway, between Paddington and Faringdon opened in January 1863, it didn’t take them long to start extending the line.
Supported by the Met and the Great Western Railway (GWR), the Hammersmith & City Railway (H&CR) was built from the GWR’s main line a mile west of Paddington station to the developing suburbs of Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith. Built on viaduct largely across open fields, the line opened on 13 June 1864 with a GWR service from Farringdon to Hammersmith.
So, an anniversary, give or take a few weeks, and a chance to drag out the steam trains to delight onlookers.
The bits being used include the Metropolitan Locomotive No. 1, Metropolitan Milk Van, the Chesham Set, the 1920s Sarah Siddons electric locomotive and the beautifully restored Jubilee Coach 353.
You can either buy tickets to be on the trains — here — or watch from the sidelines.
A reminder that if watching from within stations, they have strict rules about no flash, and no tripods — other than that, the station staff seemed to be having as much fun as the spectators were when they did this last January.
Trains run on both Saturday 2 and Saturday 9 August
(updated 30th July with more details of the timetable)
Journey 1 – Northfields to Moorgate
(Steam hauled, Electric on back)
Departs Northfield: 8:24am
Passes through Earl’s Court at 8:48am
Arrives Moorgate: 9:19am
Journeys 2, 3 & 4 – Moorgate – Hammersmith – Moorgate
(Electric hauled out, Steam hauled return)
2) Moorgate (9:55am) > Hammersmith (arrive 10:26am, depart 10:59am) > Moorgate (11:31am)
3) Moorgate (12:10pm) > Hammersmith (arrive 12:41pm, depart 1:13pm) > Moorgate (1:46pm)
4) Moorgate (2:45pm) > Hammersmith (arrive 2:56pm, depart 3:28pm) > Moorgate (4pm)
Journey 5 – Moorgate to Northfields
(Electric hauled, Steam on back)
Departs Moorgate: 4:25pm
Passes through Earl’s Court at 4:54pm
Arrives Northfields: 5:15pm
…if you want to be on the trains, then there are still some seats available. Book tickets here.