A good proportion of the vehicles in the Museum are maintained as working exhibits, and as such are, from time to time, allowed back on the road or rails, giving the public the opportunity to sample travel from earlier eras.
The Rickmansworth Canal Festival in mid-May provided an ideal opportunity for just such an outing. The festival has grown over the last 20 years or so into a major waterways event, drawing large crowds. Many of these visitors have a more general transport interest, so it’s an ideal opportunity to dust down a train or two and let them loose on the Metropolitan Line. This year two trains were running: a train of A62 stock and a train of 1938 tube stock.
Being valuable historic items the Museum has to make sure that the trains are well-stewarded, and a mix of LTM staff and volunteers fulfil this requirement. Safety is also important, as is ticket inspection. The trains run mixed in with the normal service, and I saw a number of people try to board the A62 assuming that it was a normal service train. In fairness I suppose it is only a year or so since they were withdrawn.
Also out and about was the prototype Routemaster RM1 from the Museum’s collection, assisting with the bus connection from Rickmansworth station to the festival site, again with crews and stewards drawn from Museum volunteers.
I was lucky enough to ride on both trains and RM1. The A62 was in ‘as withdrawn’ condition, and truth be told it was as if it had never been away. On the other hand the 1938 stock train is restored in immaculate condition, and regular readers will have seen it being prepared for service by Chris Daniels in an earlier post on the Volunteers’ blog.
Both trains drew a good number of passengers, but inevitably it was 1938 stock that was the star of the show. I can confirm that it gave a very lively ride, and drew many an admiring look from passengers on the new S8 trains. The interior was a delight, including the period adverts. Oh to be a guard on £25 14/6 a week.
Dave Olney, Volunteer