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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 third 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 standing on the front of Met Loco No.1 which was in the bay platform at Rickmansworth station. Sarah is between an
unidentifed steam engine and a former British Railways Mk2 passenger coach which has been painted in maroon livery. Also seen is a northbound A stock train in the then new London Underground corporate livery.
Sarah seen at Watford station in another 2000 'Steam On The Met' event image.
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.
Here Sarah is leading a train which has just arrived at Amersham station during the Rickmansworth Festival on Sunday 22nd May 2011.
The carriages for the train are known as The Metropolitan Heritage train.
Here Sarah is at the back of a train which includes some maroon liveried Mk2 passenger carriages plus a former British Railways Class 438 4TC set. The location is Chalfont And Latimer station, and whilst
the train with Sarah is travelling north towards Amersham station two southbound trains are also approaching - these being another Steam On The Met train on the adjacent track (coming from Amersham) and,
in the distance, a Cravens tube train from Chesham is on the bi-directional branch line track to the right.
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 first class is especially
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.
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. Often at the other end of the train will be Metropolitan 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 Bluebell Railway where they sometimes carry passengers. The others are normally stored at the London Transport Museum's Acton
Depot. More information and photographs inside this train can be found on another page within this website at this link:
London Underground's Vintage & Heritage Trains
Metropolitan Vickers Bo-Bo Locomotives information, including all the locomotive names, on both these and the previous batch of Metropolitan Railway electric locomotives
Direct links to other related pages (with small images)...
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