Next year, you’ll be hearing a lot…a LOT, we tell you…about the 150th anniversary of the Tube*.
To mark the big 1-5-0, Transport for London will run a special steam service along the route of the earliest underground railway, which opened in 1863. On Sunday 13 January 2013, a restored steam engine from 1898 will pull a series of carriages, including the oldest in existence, dating back to 1892. To complete this most venerable of trains, the world’s oldest electric locomotive, the Sarah Siddons of 1922, will also couple up and presumably do most of the pulling. The superannuated service will run from Olympia to Moorgate, somewhat further than the original route of Paddington to Farringdon, and carry around 300 passengers. We’ll publish details on how to fruitlessly attempt to get a ticket at a later date.
As well as the commemorative ride, the anniversary will be officially marked in plenty of other ways. Two books will be published: one including short fiction relating to each line and the other offering yet another historical account of the network. The Royal Mint will issue special editions of the £2 coin carrying images of the Tube. Trains will be wrapped in banners; Oyster Card holders will be similarly adorned. You’ll get another chance to venture into Aldwych ghost station. And you can expect several museums and galleries to put on exhibitions. In short, it’s the biggest London happening since the Olympics.
*Pedant’s note: Technically, it was an underground cut-and-cover railway rather than the later and deeper Tube lines, but even TfL’s press release is sticking to the shorter vernacular, so we’ll follow suit.