This Was The Last Time A Steam Train Ran Through Central London On A Tube Line

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 12 months ago

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This Was The Last Time A Steam Train Ran Through Central London On A Tube Line

A Victorian steam carried passengers on the tube though Central at the weekend, for what was probably the final time.

Hang on a sec, you might be thinking, didn't steam train stop running on the tube a while back? In fact, TfL has been running heritage services on its lines for some years now — using an original Met No 1 steam locomotive to pull a set of vintage coaches (in this case: Bluebell Chesham Coaches; District Railway Coach No.100 from the Kent and East Sussex Railway; and London Transport Museum's Met Jubilee Coach 353).

Actors in period costume were part of the experience

However, 22 and 23 June 2019 saw the final time a heritage steam train will travel on the Underground in central London — owing to the installation of a new signalling system on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.

Three commemorative steam jaunts took place between Ealing Broadway and High Street Kensington each day, giving passengers the opportunity to experience what it would have been like to travel on District line when it first opened on Christmas Eve, 1868. Actors in period costume, and a brass band, added to the ambience.

Nigel Holness the Managing Director of London Underground said:

The ongoing transformation of the oldest parts of the tube network into one of the most modern railways in the world will mean that it will be the last time steam trains will run through central London. The District line has been a vital part of London's transport network for 150 years and it is wonderful to be part of this historic weekend and experience what tube travel would have been like when the line first opened.

Fret not though: you can still catch steam trains in London.

All images © TfL

Last Updated 24 June 2019