Tag Archives: Met 1

353 Goes Far East!

353 goes far East? Well certainly about as far East as it could and still claim London Underground legitimacy. The restoration of Metropolitan carriage no.353 to its former glory was a significant investment, and the Museum was helped out by a generous grant from the Lottery Heritage Fund. In recognition of this help, the carriage has been used at a number of events in 2013 at which the public can both see it and take a ride in its stunning first class interior.

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Hence on an early Saturday morning in July I found myself stood next to 353 on the platform of North Weald station of the heritage Epping and Ongar Railway, which was until 1994 part of London Transport’s Central Line. The Epping and Ongar Railway had organised an Underground 150 event as its contribution to this year’s celebrations.

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Truth be told, in my concern not to be late, I actually arrived a bit too early, just as the station was opening. Consequently I was treated to a happy hour or so watching while the trains for the day were formed up; it was a highly nostalgic image of what I would imagine a sleepy early morning in the summer on a steam secondary line must have been like.

The nostalgia quotient was piled on as a brace of Country Area RTs and a couple of RFs arrived on the apron outside the station, ready to run the shuttles bringing passengers from Epping station.

However, I wasn’t in deepest Essex to wallow in the past. For a change I was actually making myself useful and I spent the day acting as the steward on 353. This meant looking after the carriage, to make sure that nothing untoward happened to it. Just as importantly, I was also on hand to ensure that the public safely enjoyed their day and were able to understand a little bit about the history and restoration of 353. At this point I also have to mention the Epping and Ongar’s volunteers, who I found to be immensely friendly and helpful.

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So I spent a very happy day trundling to and fro through the summer countryside, in a train consisting of Metropolitan loco no. 1, carriage 353 and a “Dreadnought” carriage. I think it would be a fair reflection to say that a good time was had by all! (But especially me……)

Dave Olney, Volunteer

A carriage fit for a Queen

150 years of London Underground
Mike Brown shows the Queen the carriage at Baker Street, 20th March 2013 © Chris Radburn (PA)

Coach 353 was originally known as a ‘Jubilee’ coach, the design having been introduced in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee.  Having been such an important part of the Underground’s 150th anniversary celebrations, after a long and chequered career as carriage, workshop, club room, shop and home, coach 353 came full circle on 20 March 2013 when presented to HRH Queen Elizabeth II at Baker Street.

The royal party, including the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duchess of Cambridge, made a formal visit to mark the 150th anniversary. They were presented to station and operational staff and to those of us responsible for the restoration and operation of 353, including the apprentice and workshop manager from the Ffestiniog Railway, the chair of our Friends, our chairman and  sponsors Cubic and Siemens.

Shunted into the bay platform 2 at Baker Street, 353 glowed under the lights in all its varnished teak glory, next a four car train of the latest ‘S’- stock with ‘Buckingham Palace’ shown on its destination board. Thus both the past and the future of the Underground were inspected by the royal party and a presentation of a framed ‘Trooping the Colour’ poster by Margaret Calkin James from 1932 made to Her Royal Highness. Our trustee, Howard Collins, then stole the media show by presenting a ‘Baby on Board’ lapel badge to the Duchess of Cambridge. 353 stayed in the bay for the rest of the day and attracted a great deal of interest before being moved back overnight to our Acton Depot.