Oral history workshop

Fig. 1: Sarah Siddons at Harrow-on-the-Hill on the 12th September 2015 working with Met number 1 steam loco.  Copyright: Ian G. Handley

Trainspotting Tribulations Part 2: Metropolitan locos at Rugby. 

In the mid 1960’s Rugby was one of the locations for an electric depot that served the southern end of the West Coast Main Line.   However, the depot appeared to see little used as I never saw an AC electric on shed, only on one occasion did I see one AM10/310 unit on shed.

On one occasion we made a beeline for Rugby loco shed as we had heard stories of interesting engines located there.   On this visit we saw four London Transport/Metropolitan Line Bo Bo’s on shed whilst being moved from London to a scrap yard.   The engines in question were numbers 2, 7, 16 & 18, and we were able to cab three of them, number 16 being locked.   I have recently read that these four engines were retained for use by BR for load bank testing & moved to Willesden, later being moved to Rugby on their way for scrapping.

Robin Hood Line

Fig 2: London Transport Metro electric loco No. 10.

I have had the good fortune to see six of these locomotives, these four, number 5 preserved in the same condition as when it became part of the London Transport Museum and Number 12.   Contrary to popular belief, number 12, is not preserved but at one hundred years old is in fact the oldest working engine in England having assisted with Heritage events including Steam on the Met specials and has been used for research purposes by London Transport.   I counted myself fortunate to have seen these locomotives as they had been replaced by modern electric units in 1961 and this was 1966.

Short video clip of Metro electric loco, Sarah Siddons, at Rickmansworth in 2011. 

An interesting point regarding this class of engine is that they can be considered the prototype for Hornby Dublo’s motor on the cab.   When cabbing these engines, I noticed that the motor protrudes into the cab and the driver stands next to it.

Robin Hood Line

Fig 3: Metropolitan-Vickers built electric locomotive names

Metropolitan-Vickers built locomotive names

These engines all carried names that were associated with the area which they served. This being Metropolitan Line services between Paddington & Liverpool Street as well as services north from Baker Street to Rickmansworth. The exception being Wembley, as this gained its name due to being exhibited there at the 1924 Exhibition. The landscape of the Metropolitan Railway is immortalised in John Betjemen’s epic poem, Metroland.  


Blog by Ian G. Handley

Posted by SB2K admin – 14th August 2023