A final farewell, then, to the original ’67 stock on the Victoria line: the last of them will go out of service today. While one will be retained, in working condition, at the London Transport Museum’s Acton depot, the rest have gone, or will shortly be going to, the scrapyard, marking the end of a 43-year period shuttling commuters between Walthamstow and Brixton.
Introduced when the Victoria opened in 1968, the trains were futuristic for their time: custom-designed for the brand new line, and with an automated train operation (ATO) system in place, meaning that the “drivers” were tasked mainly with controlling the doors and pressing a button to start train moving. The trains also had other hi-tech innovations, such as illuminated advertisement panels above the seats, a gimmick that survived but a few years.
The first train ran on the line in September 1968, between Walthamstow and Highbury & Islington; the other parts were opened over the next two years, and an official opening ceremony was held in March 1969. In London’s pre-Mayoral days, an altogether more regal caliber of guest was called upon to officially unveil the new line; this video shows the Queen doing the honours. What chance she’ll do the same for Crossrail a few years from now?
Four decades later, the ’67s have earned their retirement, but it hasn’t been a smooth transition for their replacements. The 2009 stock, introduced gradually over the past two years, has suffered repeated breakdowns, and has also been blamed for causing the temperature on the Underground to rise. TfL poobahs say they’re getting the problems licked, but regular commuters on the line doubtless have a different story to tell.
Those wishing for one final, bumpy ride on a ’67 have but today in which to do it. London Reconnections has details of the final service, and the last train will be from Brixton at 19:01. A photographic farewell can be found on this site, which documents a recent event where one of the trains was taken for a whirlwind tour far from its normal Victoria line environs; Ian Visits also has photos.