14.1.13

A SESQUICENTENNIAL.

The Powers That Be in London didn't want those smelly railways near The City.
To avoid disruption in the core, a Royal Commission on Railway Termini, appointed in 1846, drew a box around central London and decreed no line shall enter the cordon. [This box resembles the congestion charging zone adopted in the early 21st century, which aimed to reduce cars, rather than prohibit trains]. The result was railway terminals locating on the edges of the central region. London, like many cities, has no unified railway station, as the North, South, East, and West lines have no common intersection. The problem is worse though in London, as even lines from the north run by different organizations would be build adjacent (St. Pancras/ Kings Cross), or nearly adjacent (Euston), stations without convenient interchange. Later (between 1858-60) some penetrations of the box were permitted by Parliament, but most of the City of London (the original walled city where the financial district still lies) remained untouched. While preventing railways from severing the most densely populated part of the city, which would have been expensive for both the railways and the city, it created a need for a connection between the termini to allow transfers. The Metropolitan Railway, a private concern like all railways of the era but with some support from the Corporation of the City of London, was approved by Parliament in 1854. It aimed to connect the northern termini (Paddington, Euston, St. Pancras, King's Cross, and Farringdon, which was later added to the plan) to ease movement for through travelers.
The first bits of the Metropolitan Railway commenced operation in January 1863, with steam power. A commemorative steam train returned to Metropolitan metals of the weekend.
Transport for London, the new name for London Transport, ran a VIP special and followed up with public trips at a fare of $240 per person or 70 times the regular fare for a trip across London. More steam trains are planned to run Jan. 20, and those runs are already sold out. These have been the first steam trips on the London Underground in 50 years.

To get steam trains back onto the Underground network required much preparation. Metropolitan Railways 0-4-4T No. 1 was restored to working order at a cost of around $400,000; coaches, a mixture of authentic ex-Metropolitan Railways wooden bodied cars dating back to 1897 and normally in use on the Bluebell Steam Railway in Southern England, had to be brought in; and, the London Transport Museum restored its Metropolitan Railway Jubilee Carriage No. 353, a four-wheeled first class carriage built in 1892. Wales’ Ffestiniog Railway, which has extensive experience in working with wood coaches that are more than 100 years old, performed coach restoration work.
January 20, 1963 is significant in Cold Spring Shops ferroequinology, as it is the last full day of operation of the North Shore Line.  The London Underground festivities appealed to the people.  Going Underground was not able to use a press pass valid for a ride from Kensington Olympia, but did get pictures from Earl's Court.  It would make sense that the early rapid transit stations would resemble conventional railway stations, as Sprague and Yerkes and Belmont developed the electric subway concept in New York.



Go to Going Underground for additional coverage of the steam excursion.

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