Steam Train Ride To Mark Tube’s 150th Anniversary

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.

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  • Alice Tyrell

    Is there any more info anywhere on the short fiction anthology plans? I’d like to pre-order it, if I can.

    • MattFromLondonist

      All we know is that the short stories will be from well-known authors and it’ll be published by Penguin.

  • Chris Robertson

    Rest assured that Met No1, fresh from overhaul, will easily manage on her own. Sarah will be at the opposite end of the train to pull it on the return.

  • http://twitter.com/HowsThis4AName Bobby Carnegie

    There should be more Cable Cars over the Thames linked-in with Oyster. Equally, walkways ala Greenwich under Thames pedestrian tunnel. Also, why can’t the Thames have a commercial ‘gondola service’ like Venice? Potential for an ‘imaginative Thames’, surely, knows no bounds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dan-Crow/824144815 Dan Crow

    A couple of corrections. Sarah Siddons is not the oldest electric locomotive in existence. For example, this was built in 1902, twenty years before Sarah Siddons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amaccaluim/5568739091/

    The carriage you mention is also not the oldest in existence, there are a lot of much older carriages, for example two of these date from 1866: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Talyllyn_Railway_rolling_stock#Four_wheeled_carriages. The Metropolitan Railway carriage is the oldest extant carriage that ran Underground though.

  • tim

    This is going to be amazing. Met No.1 is being restored over out West at the Flour Mill. As a child in the 80s I used to have my birthday parties at Quainton Road where it had been previously restored; we’d ride in its cab up and down their short line, pulling the whistle and generally getting overexcited after eating too much cake in their converted NYC Subway car. Quainton Road also has some “Q” Stock, some of which was cut-and-shut when it was damaged in a WW2 bomb raid. We’d always go looking for the bit in the middle where they’d welded two trains together. Happy days: and more to come.

  • http://twitter.com/ArachnePress Cherry Potts Arachne

    Purely coincidentally, Arachne Press are also publishing Stations, a book of short stories inspired by the Overground between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon – we hadn’t noticed the anniversary was coming up, but here we are celebrating the newest underground line just as publicity for the anniversary kicks off. Serendipity, http://www.arachnepress.com