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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 sometimes even included a Pullman carriage offering light refreshments. These engines hauled trains over the electrified section between London and Harrow-On-The-Hill (or, after 1925, Rickmansworth) whilst steam locomotives operated services over the rest of the route. The use of electric locomotives to haul passenger trains ended in September 1961 and initially 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.

Eventually however their nostalgic value was realised and two have been preserved. One of these now lives at the London Transport Museum which is located at Covent Garden in central London http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/ (link opens in a new window) 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 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" globally. 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.   Scones and afternoon cream tea anyone?

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Seen in the 1980's this image shows Sarah Siddons in London Transport livery being used as a brake block test locomotive, in west London at either Northfields or South Ealing station.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Sarah taking part in the 2000 'Steam On The Met' event. Usually these events used two locomotives per train, sometimes with one at each end of the train, othertimes with them both at one end of the train.

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 the 'Cravens' tube train can just about be seen approaching on the single track for the Chesham branch.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
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 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.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Nowadays Sarah is in Metropolitan Railway livery and is formally used on the Metropolitan Heritage 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.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Her Heritage Train headboard.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Her nameplate.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Like many railways of the era, the Metropolitan Railway had a Coat of Arms, which Sarah proudly wears.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
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Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
She even has a registration number for the modern railway!

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
More about Sarah Siddens and the rest of the fleet.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Unfortunately slightly blurred and with the image affected by ambient light, this details exactly who the human 'Sarah Siddens' was.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Before entering to take a look inside we pause and examine the entrance doorway floor details, which include the manufacturer's name plate.

Inside Sarah has much of her electrical equipment is located down the centre, with narrow walkways on either side. As will be apparent, internal space is very restricted with sight lines extremely limited, so even with a wide angle lens landscape format photography was a challenge, which explains why so many views are in portrait format.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
By comparing the view out of the windows it is possible to tell in which direction I was facing when taking these photographs.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
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Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
This image was taken using 35mm film at the Acton Works open day event in 1983.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
This image was taken using 35mm film at the Acton Works open day event in 1983.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
This image was taken using 35mm film at the Acton Works open day event in 1983.
Note the red and green flags below the right-hand front window and the special notice to drivers (on the left).

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
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.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
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.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
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Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
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Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
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Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Sarah was in action again on Sunday 22nd May 2011 in connection with the Rickmansworth Festival, and here she is seen at the front of 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 corridor carriages is especially nostalgic, and 1st class is especially comfortable!

In British Railways days the Class 438 4TC trains comprised of un-powered multiple-unit fixed formations with a driving position at each end of the set. Originally these Mark 1 carriages were locomotive-hauled, they were converted to multiple-unit format by BR at York Works 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, 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 (and without the 4REP units).

They were purchased from BR in 1992 and have 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. They are capable of being hauled by steam, diesel and electric traction.

As an aside, some original Metropolitan Railway wooden carriages (just about) survived into the present-day era and having been restored now carry passengers on the Bluebell Railway. Some photographs of these can be found at the first link below - which leads to another page within this website. Passenger Compartments On British Trains. This next link leads to the Bluebell Railway website http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/ (links open in new windows).

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
The Metropolitan Heritage train - the side corridor plus some of the compartments can be seen through the window and open doorway.

Metropolitan Railway Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons.
Along with one (or two) heritage diesel locomotives Sarah hauls the Metropolitan Heritage train, which has been re-liveried in a faux lined teak design.


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