London Underground: 150 years

The age of steam returns to the Tube today as part of festivities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. The first passenger journeys took place on January 10th.

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Steam tribute for tube anniversary

A 19th Century steam train took passengers on the London Underground today to mark the 150th anniversary of the first Tube journey in the capital.

Specially invited passengers moved off from Kensington Olympia Tube station in west London aboard a train pulled by Met Locomotive 1, which was built in 1898.

Passengers don period costume for tube celebrations

Passengers dressed in period costume enjoyed a trip on the restored 1898 Met Locomotive 1 today to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground.

The steam train headed to Moorgate underground station in the City of London after a journey from Olympia in west London.

Passengers dressed in period costume prepare to board the restored Metropolitan Railway carriage No 353.
Passengers dressed in period costume prepare to board the restored Metropolitan Railway carriage No 353. Credit: PA

London mayor Boris Johnson, who was among the passengers, described the journey as "romantic" and "pure Conan Doyle".

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, waves from aboard the 115-year-old train.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, waves from aboard the 115-year-old train. Credit: PA

He said: "It was just extraordinary. We had steam coming in through the windows, huge thick clouds of white steam going past and then bits of soot coming through from the engine."

Metropolitan 1 began its journey by reverses from its sheds near Earl's Court, London.
Metropolitan 1 began its journey by reverses from its sheds near Earl's Court, London. Credit: PA

Johnson added: "It was fascinating, as the train started to go up from Kensington to Notting Hill you could feel the engine really strain, but as we levelled off it picked up a lot of speed. You could see how the Victorians were able to run a very timely service."

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Full steam ahead for London Underground's 150th anniversary

A restored steam train beginning its journey from to Moorgate, as part of the London Underground's 150th anniversary celebrations.
A restored steam train beginning its journey from to Moorgate, as part of the London Underground's 150th anniversary celebrations. Credit: PA

A 115-year-old restored steam train has begun its journey from its sheds near Earl's Court, London, as part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the London Underground.

When Met Locomotive 1 reaches Kensington Olympia Tube station in west London, the Metropolitan Railway carriage No 353 will take a group of specially invited passengers to Moorgate station.

London Underground to go back to steam age

The age of steam returns to the Tube today as part of festivities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground.

At 9:54am this morning, a group of specially invited passengers will pull away from Kensington Olympia Tube station in west London aboard a train pulled by Met Locomotive 1, which was built in 1898.

The passengers will be in the restored Metropolitan Railway carriage No 353, which was built in 1892, as well as a set of Chesham coaches on loan from the Bluebell Railway in Sussex.

Metropolitan Steam Locomotive Number 1 and electric locomotive Sarah Siddons at an Underground depot near Earl's Court
Metropolitan Steam Locomotive Number 1 and electric locomotive Sarah Siddons at an Underground depot near Earl's Court Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Click here to see a history of the London Underground in pictures.

Making up the train will be the No 12 Sarah Siddons - one of the world's oldest electric locomotives in service and was constructed in 1922.

The engine will travel non-stop to Moorgate station in the City of London and is due to reach its destination at 10:30am.

The historic train will travel slowly along the route, and can be seen at a number of Underground stations on-route, including Earl's Court, High Street Kensington, Bayswater, Paddington, Euston and King's Cross.

London Mayor: the Tube was 'truly revolutionary'

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson says that the London Underground is "still admired around the world" 150 years after the first trains set off on the Metropolitan Railway.

It annihilates distance, liquidates traffic and is the throbbing cardiovascular system of the greatest city on earth.

It continues to play a hugely important role in the success of our Capital - efficiently moving record numbers of people during the London 2012 Games.

Our massive upgrade programme builds on the engineering ingenuity of our Victorian forefathers and through new signalling, trains and track, millions of Londoners and visitors will continue to benefit from what is arguably the best, and most iconic, underground transport system in the world.

– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

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Sought-after steam run marks Tube anniversary

Tickets for the events were available by ballot only due to high demand and cost up to £180 for a First Class seat. Credit: London Transport Museum

Train enthusiasts and history buffs will be able to experience something of what the first Tube journey was like when they travel on a steam train on the Underground.

A special heritage run will take place on Sunday to mark 150 years since the first Underground journey was made.

But only a lucky number of ticketholders will be able to ride on the special service between Kensington Olympia and Moorgate as it brings steam back to the line.

The celebratory journey will see Metropolitan Locomotive No 1 pull the Metropolitan Railway Jubilee carriage No 353, which was built in 1892 and is being restored thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Transport Museum Friends.

150 years since first passengers rode London Underground

Boris Johnson described the network as "arguably the best, and most iconic, underground transport system in the world". Credit: PA

The tube turns 150 today.

The first stretch of the world-famous network opened to passengers on 10th January 1863.

London Underground is planning a series of events to celebrate the milestone year including a series of additional heritage rail trips using steam trains, two new two-pound coins and a set of 10 special stamps issued by Royal Mail.

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