Tag Archives: vehicles

An Art Deco Classic in Metroland

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.

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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 In fairness I suppose it is only a year or so since they were withdrawn.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.

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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 The A62 was in ‘as withdrawn’ condition, and truth be told it was as if it had never been away.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

So That’s How they Keep Them So Clean: Working Party at Acton Depot

Roughly every month there is a volunteers’ working party at Acton Depot, so with keen anticipation I made my way to the depot on the 23rd October to see what one involves. On arrival I tracked down Robert Excell, the Curator in charge of the day’s event. Vehicle cleaning was the order of the day, and I found Grey Green Volvo Ailsa VA115 ready for a thorough sprucing up. Upstairs wielding an expert mop and brush was Jerry Pratchett, burnishing a floor that you could eat your lunch from.

Jerry has been a volunteer for more than 15 years, his interest in transport being sparked by his father who worked on the buses at Hendon. Conversely, downstairs I found a volunteer who had a long career on the buses: Malcolm Bowers, who started his career with London Transport and finished with Arriva. I found Malcolm busy giving the downstairs seats a thorough hoovering.

A clean interior demands a clean exterior. At Acton washing is done by hand as there’s no drive-through washer. Whilst I was inside VA115, Ron Bristow had arrived, and was preparing to start the external clean. A volunteer for 20 years, Ron has been involved with many activities, such as guiding and museum moves. I can tell you that I was starting to feel a bit of a novice at one month’s service.

To prove that it isn’t just about the buses, Robert Bedford was found busy with the vacuum cleaner inside the recently acquired A60 stock car. After 51 years in service it probably needs a good clean! Robert has been a volunteer for about a year, and already has a varied list of interesting activities.  Once again I came away from the depot very impressed by the volunteers’ contribution.

Dave Olney, Volunteer