Published 26th October 2012
Just after 1.00 p.m. on 9 January 1863 the inaugural train of the world’s first underground railway pulled out of Paddington station to begin a 3½ mile journey under the capital’s streets and into the history books.
The literally ground-breaking line had been built and financed by the Metropolitan Railway, a private company, to link the mainline stations at Paddington, Euston and King’s Cross with the business district of central London.
It was a novelty that thousands of Londoners were eager to experience for themselves and to admire what one newspaper called ‘the most stupendous engineering undertaking yet achieved in the railway world’.
On two Sundays in January, the 13 and 20, the 1898 built 04-4T Metropolitan Railway steam Locomotive ‘Met No. 1’ will make a special journey to celebrate the inaugural public passenger underground journey.
It will also bring public steam trains to the London Underground after an absence of 12 years. ‘Met No. 1 will pull the Metropolitan Railway ‘Jubilee’ carriage No. 353, which was built in 1892 and is being restored being funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
Completing the historic lineup will be The ‘Chesham’ set of coaches borrowed from the Bluebell Railway. The 85 year old Electric locomotive, No. 12 ‘Sarah Siddons’, will also be operating on the train providing the braking system.
The special anniversary train will be used in a number of heritage runs across the Underground network throughout 2013. The former British Rail Southern Region ‘4TC’ is also likely to be used as is GWR design Pannier Tank, No. 9466 which has been used at every Steam on The Met event.
Steam on The Met ran for 10 seasons each May with the last one in 2000. Three steam engines were used along with Sarah Siddons and a class 20 diesel on trains between Harrow on The Hill, Amersham and Watford Met. These trains raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity and created a 10 day festival for the Met Line’s staff and passengers alike.
Tickets for these trains are very strictly limited and so Transport for London has decided that anyone can apply for a ticket but they will be allocated randomly by a computerised Ticket Ballot.
The ballot will open on Monday 29 October 2012 via online applications at from 10am and from 5 November 2012 for phone applications, also at 10am. Applications can be made until Sunday 11 November 2012.
The trains will run on Sundays 13 and 20 January 2013 and a maximum of two tickets per person can be requested. Only one application per person will be accepted.
Applications can request the date and either first or standard class seats but will not be possible to select specific seats or train departure times. Successful applicants will be selected at random by computer and notified from 19 November onwards. Successful applicants will be contacted to arrange payment with tickets sent out from 3 December.
To mark the anniversary, London Underground - working in partnership with London Transport Museum has been organising a range of events throughout 2013:
The Rickmansworth Festival on 19 May
Steam back on the Met on 25-27 May
London Transport Museum at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre on 3-4, & 7 August.
Neasden Depot Open Day on 31 August
The engine was built in 1898 and is the only survivor of a class of seven engines designed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Met, Mr T. F. Clark, for use on the Baker Street to Verney Junction service. It was the last locomotive constructed at the Met’s Neasden Works. On 4 July 1904 it was adorned with flags and bunting as it headed the first passenger train on the opening of the Uxbridge branch from Harrow-on-the-Hill.
The Royal Mint will issue two new two-pound coins in 2013 to mark the anniversary and ‘Poster Art 150’ is an exhibition at the London Transport Museum focussing on the iconic poster art that has been a feature of London Underground for much of its history.
There will be some behind the scenes events and Open Weekends at the Museum's store at Acton to look forward to as well.