Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive No.12 'Sarah Siddons'
Originally part of a fleet of 20 electric locomotives Sarah Siddons was built in 1923 by the former Metropolitan Railway for its London - Chesham / Amersham - Aylesbury (and beyond) services which until WW2 (on some journeys) included a Pullman carriage offering light refreshments. These engines hauled the trains over the electrified section between London and Harrow-On-The-Hill (or, after 1925, Rickmansworth) whilst steam locomotives were used over the rest of the route. The use of electric locomotives to haul passenger trains ended in September 1961 when new sliding door electric multiple units were introduced. Sarah Siddons was one of eight locomotives which escaped the "knacker's yard" - four went to British Railways (London Midland Region) for electric locomotive testing purposes and four remained with London Transport for "operational" reasons, such as acting as depôt shunters.
Until WW2 this fleet of electric locomotives also hauled the through GWR trains which travelled from destinations to the west of London to "The City", which means Moorgate / Liverpool Street / Aldgate, with the exact city destination varying according to the timetable. These through trains used the GWR's City Stock fleet of passenger carriages and switched between steam and electric traction at Paddington.
Two of the locomotives retained by London Transport have been preserved. No.5 John Hampden now lives at the London Transport Museum which is located at Covent Garden in central London http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/ whilst Sarah Siddons has been kept in fully operational condition and sometimes takes part in leisure-orientated events such as "Steam on the Met". Until railway privatisation some railtours even saw her hauling British Railways InterCity carriages on railtours over both the Underground and the 3rd rail Southern Electric networks.
Named Galatea and Mayflower (after two yachts contesting in the 1886 America's Cup) the two Pullman carriages were actually introduced in 1910 and using different electric locomotives were the first electrically hauled Pullman's "anywhere" planetwide. They were for first class passengers only and as usual there was a supplement (extra charge) for travelling in them. Initially this was either 6d (ie: six pence in real money or 2½p in modern decimal money) or 1s 0d (ie: one shilling, which equated to 12 pence in real money or 5p decimal) according to distance travelled, although later this was reduced to just 6d for all journeys. In addition to offering freshly cooked light refreshments they were also fitted with toilets, which - as was usual in those days - discharged on to the tracks and were even allowed to be used whilst travelling through tunnelled sections of the route. Their demise came as a wartime economy in October 1939, and it is reported that neither survived. Hot kipper breakfast or scones with afternoon cream tea anyone?
This 1980's photograph shows Sarah Siddons at South Ealing station in London Transport livery whilst being used as a brake block test locomotive.
Sarah taking part in the 2000 'Steam On The Met' event. This photograph was taken looking north at Chalfont & Latimer station. Sarah is at the rear of a northbound train, in the distance an unknown steam locomotive can be seen leading a southbound train and even further in the distance a red-liveried 1960 Tube Stock 'Cravens' tube train can just about be seen approaching on the single track for the Chesham branch.
Sarah seen at Watford station on another 2000 'Steam On The Met' event.
The images above were all sourced from 35mm film. Most of the next batch of images seen below were taken using a digital camera at Upminster depôt on its 2009 50th anniversary opening day. At this event Sarah was an unpowered static exhibit and visitors were able to have a look inside.
Nowadays Sarah is in Metropolitan Railway livery and along with some steam locomotives hauls either the Metropolitan Heritage Train or the Metropolitan Vintage Train. The barriers preventing access were only located on one side of the railing, so despite appearances taking this photograph was possible from within an area open to public access.
Her Heritage Train headboard.
Like many railways of the era, the Metropolitan Railway had a Coat of Arms, which Sarah proudly wears.
She even has a registration number for the modern railway!
More about Sarah Siddens and the rest of the fleet.
Unfortunately slightly blurred and with the image affected by ambient light, this details exactly who the human 'Sarah Siddens' was.
Before entering to take a look inside we pause and examine the entrance doorway floor details, which include the manufacturer's name plate.
Much of Sarah's electrical equipment is located down the centre, with narrow walkways on either side. As will be apparent, internal space is very restricted and sight lines are extremely limited, this explains why so many views are in portrait format.
Three of the internal images were taken (using 35mm film) at the Acton Works open day event in 1983. The rest come from Upminster depôt in 2009.
Note that at one end of the locomotive the train driver has a round seat whilst at the other end there is a square seat.
Note the red and green flags below the right-hand front window and the special notice to drivers (on the left).
An enlargement of the special notice. The variable nature of the background is because the sign was partially lit through the locomotive's end windows.
Because of the limited range of the flash I took this and the next two views at slightly different locations along one of the side walkways.
Another event which I attended where Sarah was in action was the Rickmansworth Festival on Sunday 22nd May 2011. Here Sarah leads a train which had just arrived at Amersham station. The carriages for the train are known as The Metropolitan Heritage train.
The Metropolitan Heritage Train is formed of four ex-British Railways Class 438 4TC (Trailer Control) carriages. At each end of the train is a DTSO / driving trailer second open carriage (Nos. 76297 & 76324), between them is TFK / trailer first corridor (No. 71163) and TBSK trailer brake second corridor (No.70283). Travelling in the compartments of the two side-corridor compartments is especially nostalgic, and 1st class is especially comfortable!
In British Railways days the Class 438 4TC trains comprised Mk1 carriages in multiple-unit fixed formations with a driving position at each end of the set. Originally these Mk 1 carriages were locomotive-hauled, they were converted to multiple-unit format by BR at York Works in two batches in 1966-1967 and 1974. In this format they were primarily used on services between London Waterloo and Weymouth. Between London and Bournemouth they operated in push-pull mode with a high power (3200 HP) 4REP four carriage electric multiple-unit attached at the London end of the train, whilst over the un-electrified line between Bournemouth and Weymouth they would operate in push-pull mode with a Class 33/1 diesel locomotive at the Weymouth end of the train (and without the 4REP units).
Two sets of Class 438 carriages were purchased from BR in 1992. They were purchased because it was found to be cheaper than hiring rolling stock from British Rail, which had been the practice since the first Steam On The Met in 1989. Along with another Mk1 and 4x Mk2 passenger carriages they were painted in Metropolitan Railway maroon livery. After privatisation of the Underground they all ended up being advertised for sale, with one 4TC set and all four Mk2 carriages actually finding new homes with various living museum railway operators. However one 4TC set remained unsold and ended up being used for more leisure events which involved Sarah Siddens and either steam or diesel locomotives. To enhance its status as The Metropolitan Heritage Train it has been covered in a vinyl wrap themed along the unpainted teak (ie: wooden) bodied carriages which at one time the Metropolitan Railway used on this route. Typically it is hauled by at least two locomotives (one each end) as this makes it easier to reverse the direction of travel and reduces the chance of the train delaying normal passenger services should one of the vintage locomotives develop a fault and be unable to power the train.
Photographs inside this train can be found on another page within this website at this link:
As an aside, these photographs also demonstrate what was always a standard feature of varnished teak carriages, this being that there were always variations in shade (hue, colour depth) between the wooden panels which formed the carriage sides. This was because they come from a natural product of different ages.
The Metropolitan Heritage train - the side corridor plus some of the compartments can be seen through the window and open doorway.
The driving cab end of driving trailer second open (DTSO) carriage No. 76324.
One of the carriages which has side-corridor compartment seating also features a guard's area with adjacent luggage space.
The other rake of passenger carriages which Sarah sometimes hauls have become known as the Metropolitan Vintage Train. This comprises original Metropolitan Railway wood-bodied passenger carriages (and a ventilated milk van) that date from between 1892 and 1900. Usually at the other end of the train will be Metroplitan Railway steam locomotive No.1.
In January 2013 and August 2014 Sarah Siddons together with the Metropolitan Vintage Train took part in celebrations for 2013 being 150 years since the 1863 opening of London's Metropolitan Railway and 2014 being the 150th Anniversary of the Hammersmith & City railway which opened in 1864 - and is now served by Hammersmith & City and Circle Line trains. What was most remarkable about these events is that steam locomotive Met No.1 was actually in steam, this possibly being the only times that a steam locomotive which was in steam had travelled through these tunnels in the last 100 years.
For each of the two events the special train made multiple journeys spread over two days. All journeys travelled west from Moorgate station along the original subterranean section of the Metropolitan Railway, with some journeys ending at Edgware Road station and others travelling onward to other western destinations which varied according to the special event timetable.
As an aside, four of the passenger carriages in this special train are normally to be found at the the Bluebell Railway where they sometimes carry passengers. The others are normally stored at the London Transport Museum's Acton
Depot. Some photographs of these can be found at the first link below - which leads to another page within this website.
Below are three photographs from the 150th Anniversary of the Hammersmith & City railway event; more photographs - which also show all of the pre-1900 vintage train - can be found at this Flickr photostream link.
The special train headed by Sarah Siddons waits for the correct departure time at Moorgate's platform No.4.
The special train with Sarah at the rear passes through Wood Lane station, also seen is an S stock train travelling towards Hammersmith (Met) station.
The special train headed by Sarah passes through South Ealing station at the end of the day whilst returning to Northfields depot.
Links to other web pages of related interest:
Electric Locos - The Wendover, Barrow-in-Furness, Baker Street connection
Metropolitan Vickers Bo-Bo Locomotives
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