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London Underground’s 150th Anniversary
In November it was announced that the London Transport Museum would be running a heritage trip on the London Underground using Met Locomotive No 1 - a restored steam locomotive from 1898 as well as Sarah Siddons, an early electric locomotive from 1923. This would be to celebrate the 150th year since the London Underground was opened for business in January 1863! The London Underground was the first railway of its kind, and to this day remains one of the most comprehensive underground railways in the world.
The dates for these trips were set to be the 13th and 20th January. 20th January is my birthday, and as a massive train fan I just had to sign up for two (of the really rather expensive) tickets. As it was my mum’s birthday on the 15th January, I thought we could make a weekend of it and celebrate in London together.
It snowed in London all weekend which was a worry, but the trip went ahead as scheduled, despite a minor signaling fault!
When we were let into Moorgate station after waiting outside in the cold for quite some time, we each received a bracelet and a brochure and got the chance to listen to a brass band in the ticket hall.
We were led down to the platform in groups, where we were met by hilarious period actors and the train being pulled by Sarah Siddons arriving at the station. We were allocated seats—8 to a compartment—and it happened that we were sat with two rail buffs, so we got a running commentary for the whole journey which was… unexpected, but kinda nice!
The journey was from Moorgate to Edgware Road, and it didn’t last too long. The steam train was going much faster, and accelerated at a greater rate than I expected!
We were in the furthest coach from the steam locomotive, so we didn’t get to hear the engine going as well as we might have wanted to, but it was absolutely hilarious watching people become engulfed in smoke as we passed through each station. A lot of people were obviously waiting for the train to arrive, with all of their camera equipment set up, but there were also a number of shocked looks from people who obviously weren’t expecting to see a steam train!
After we got back to Moorgate we had a chance to snap shots of the engines and coaches, but it was a bit of a scramble to get to the best positions whilst being shouted at guards to move down the platform, and the platform is dimly lit and flash photography is prohibited… so most of my photos weren’t that great, as you can see!
Me and my mum stood patiently at the end of the platform waiting for Met Loco No. 1 to pull off on its final journey of the evening, which was amazing. We were all totally smoked out, and there was a mighty chorus of coughing at the end of it all!