To mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the District line, London Underground plans to run steam trains along the line once again.

The service is due to run over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd June, with the steam train running between Ealing Broadway and High Street Kensington.

The commemorative trips will mark the final time steam trains are expected to travel into central London on the Underground network due to signalling modernisation that will provide more frequent services and improved reliability for customers on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines from 2021.

Sam Mullins, Director, London Transport Museum said: “Passengers on these special finale journeys will be transported to a by-gone era of Victorian steam-powered travel, giving people a rare opportunity to experience the sounds and sights of travelling on the District line when it first opened 150 years ago.”

Although steam wont be able to return to central London again, the London Transport Museum will continue to offer its heritage steam train outings on the outer reaches of the Metropolitan line towards Chesham.

Tickets to travel aboard one of these six special steam-powered train journeys – the last opportunity to travel through the central section of the Underground in this way – will go on sale on London Transport Museum’s website at 10am on Wednesday 27 March.

Each trip will last around 1.5 hours – 30 minutes each way for the trip, and 30 minutes at High Street Kensington as the steam locomotive is watered.

The train will be made up of the Metropolitan No.1 steam locomotive, hauling Bluebell Chesham Coaches, 387, 412, 368 & 394, the District Railway Coach No.100 from the Kent and East Sussex Railway — and in first class, the London Transport Museum’s Metropolitan Jubilee Coach 353

At the back, will be the restored Sarah Siddons electric locomotive.

The train will be hauled by Sarah Siddons to High Street Kensington on the outbound journey, and by Met No.1 steam locomotive on the return journey to Ealing Broadway.

Prices are expected to be around £150 for a standard ticket and £180 for a first-class ticket.

If you have an account with the LTM website, check your login works ahead of Wednesday, and if you don’t have an account, it’s wise to open one in advance, as tickets will sell out exceptionally fast.

London Transport Museum is also fundraising to restore a rare part of the District line’s heritage – the last three surviving 1930s Q-stock Underground carriages, which were in service from 1938 to the late 1960s. £200,000 is needed to complete the restoration work to make the trains operational.

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24 comments on “Steam trains to return to the London Underground
  1. Lujain Al-Iman says:

    How lucky for the rich people to have that opportunity.

    • ianvisits says:

      And how wonderful that people pay to ride, so that vastly many more people can have the pleasure of watching a steam train on the Underground.

    • AndrewZ says:

      It must cost a lot of money to stage an event like this and I’m sure that the museum couldn’t afford to run it at a loss. Indeed, it would be very irresponsible of them to do so when they are the custodians of so many unique and irreplaceable relics of London’s transport history. Since the number of places is very limited that inevitably means that the cost per seat will be high.

      But what would you prefer? That some people have this opportunity and LTM raises some money, that nobody has this opportunity, or that the museum subsidises it at the expense of its other work? I think that the first option is clearly the best, and I’ve no doubt that there are plenty of railway enthusiasts who are not in any way rich who would still be quite willing to pay £150 for a unique experience that may never be available again.

  2. Ayra Ames says:

    Yes, a blatant class divide will truly add to the authentic Victorian experience.

    Seriously though, I am gutted that I can’t afford to ride!

  3. Sonia W says:

    It would be lovely to be able to afford this momentous occasion, but unfortunately, like previous comments am unable to. This is extremely annoying, especially when you have an Autistic grandson who absolutely loves steam trains, and that I am disabled.

    • Beaton Dinah says:

      Have you thought of taking him to The Bluebell Railway Station in Uckfield? Authentic Old Times Station.
      Steam trains to view, rides to have on the Steam Trains and the disabled fully carptered for in every way.

    • Beaton Dinah says:

      That should read “Catered For”

  4. BobD says:

    Perhaps a more egalitarian solution would have been a raffle draw.

  5. Beaton Dinah says:

    The ride will be fun but I think to actually watch the stream train pass through in the underground will be a far more spectacular experience.

  6. Clive Roberts says:

    Passengers will also be entitled to attend a fancy dress ball dressed in period costume for a mere £5000pp. Each person will be presented with a lump of coal as a souvenir.

  7. Andy D says:

    30 min trip in either direction for £150… Cant you tell its for highly paid bankers only.. You can get full day tours for less than that, or a dining experience behind steam.. Total London rip off price.

  8. Ian Goodyear says:

    This is inflationary prices on London Underground.
    Will they accept my Oyster card?

  9. david wenman says:

    Discussing for rich only

  10. MR NORDEN says:

    I THINK THE WHOLE THING IS A BIG RIP OFF THEN YOU DRESS UP FOR THIS ACASION AND YOU HAVED IS A PIECE OF COAL AND WHAT ARE TO DO WITH A PIECE OF COAL PUT IT IN THE DISPLAY CABINET . THE PRICE FOR ALL THIS IS DISCUSTING .I LOVE I LOVE STEAM TRAINS I WOULD MUCH RATHER GO TO A PRIVATE RAILWAY FOR THE WHOLE DAY FOR A FRACTION OF THE PRICE

  11. Yellow Pinkie says:

    Wow. So many people on here think the world owes them something.

    That’s the price, and you can bet its oversubscribed too. Stop moaning and go and watch instead (which will be more spectacular anyway).

  12. Pastyhead says:

    I feel Mr Norden should maybe use his spell checker, consider his grammar and unlock his capitals button.

    Well done to Yellow Pinkie for considered and sensible moderation.

  13. Matty says:

    What about the working class people who cannot afford it, do they go without again? It’s just a money making scheme and those who grew up with steam trains and would like to experience it for the final time, will miss out.

    • ianvisits says:

      Not everyone can afford everything. I can’t afford to drive a sports car, but I don’t bemoan that others can, and still manage to take a bit of pleasure from seeing them driving around or in displays.

  14. Richard Kent says:

    I find it so bizarre that people have mentioned this is a ‘money making scheme’?
    Who do you think is making money? Greedy fat cats? People being paid massive bonuses? The transport museum isn’t a money guzzling corporation, its a charity museum.

    I went on the recent 1938 stock tube trip and was told by the attendant in my carriage that TFL have stopped all their funding for the museum. Whilst I agree the price is steep, so be it. Something has to fill the gap

    I also went to the bluebell railway last year and was told that the cost of restoration of a single carriage can run from the tens to hundreds of thousands. I don’t think it should be underestimated how much it costs to stage an event like this.

    It’s a shame many more people don’t have the chance to experience it, but as has previously been said watching from a platform will probably be way more fun anyway.

  15. Vicky says:

    I think you need to understand the cost of running a steam train on the underground. Its far from cheap, hence why the steam hauled run from London to Faversham was scrapped for the annual hop festival. It is pricey, but it’s also exclusive.

  16. Peter Greswell says:

    My God, there are some miserable buggers who comment on these stories.

  17. Jim Brown says:

    Run more trips. Supply and demand. Get the price down to something we can afford.

    • AndrewZ says:

      They can’t. As Ian’s post points out, this is likely to be the last time that this ever happens because changes to the signalling systems on the underground will make it impossible to run these old trains on there in future. Even without that, can you imagine how much negotiation it takes between LTM and TfL to agree times when an old steam train can run in between the normal scheduled services? It’s just not the kind of thing that can be done frequently.

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