Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Steam Underground in London Transport Museum


Steam locomotive, Metropolitan Railway Class A, Number 23 at London Transport Museum

On the final day of my vacation in the UK, I visited the London Transport Museum near Covent Garden Station on the Piccadilly Line of the underground.

One of the most precious exhibits is a steam underground, Class A, number 23. It’s the only existing underground locomotive, built in 1866 by Beyer & Peacock & Co. of Manchester. This manufacturing year is earlier than that of Japan's first steam locomotive, which was also built in the UK in 1871. Number 23 had been operating on the underground lines for nearly 40 years. Then, it was kept as an engineer’s train, because passenger services were electrified in 1905. I give tribute to the people who created the underground railway system in the early years…, but it must have been a terrible experience for drivers and passengers because of the sooty smoke.

Another interesting item was coach number 4728, Q Stock (originally G Stock) electric car for the underground (the bottom photo). It’s built in 1923 by the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Company as one of 50 manufactured cars. Number 4728 had been operating on the District Line etc. until 1971. I like the design of this electric car very much, for example “hog-backed shape” front windows and black staunch bogies. But, my most favorite one is the unique “topknot of Japanese samurai” style train roof.

London Transport Museum … it’s a treasure house of the early London Underground.

Electric car, Underground Q stock, Number 4728 at London Transport Museum