The Metropolitan Railway, a substantial part of which now forms the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground, once had a fleet of steam locomotives. The steam classes saw most use on surface lines, although trips underground were part of the daily routine for most types.
No. 1 is the only survivor of a class of seven engines designed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Met, Mr T. F. Clark, for use on the Baker Street to Verney Junction service. (Verney Junction was the Metropolitan Railway's furthest outpost, where it joined the LNWR Oxford to Bletchley line). No. 1, built in 1898, was the last locomotive constructed at Neasden Works. It was built as a replacement for "A" class 4-4-0T No. 1, which was broken up after an accident at Baker Street, at the junction of what is now the Inner Circle. Two identical locomotives, Nos. 77 and 78 were also built at Neasden, with a further four built by R & W Hawthorn Leslie of Newcastle in 1900-1. It seems likely that the class, designated "E", was to have been larger, as a gap was left in the list of locomotive numbers, the next number used being 90.
No. 1 and its classmates proved very successful and were more than capable of the work asked of them. On 4th July 1904, gaily decorated with flags and bunting it headed the first passenger train on the opening of the Uxbridge branch from Harrow on the Hill. The completion of the Metropolitan Railway’s electrification programme made more engines of the same type unnecessary and also led to the removal of the condensing apparatus which had been fitted for working in the underground tunnels. For over twenty years these locomotives were the mainstay of the Metropolitan services to Aylesbury, and still appeared after the introduction of larger engines, such as the "H" class tanks, in the 1920s.
From about this time the class was gradually used for less strenuous work on branch lines and freight and engineering workings, although all survived to be taken into London Transport stock when the Metropolitan was taken over by the London Passenger Transport Board on 13th April 1933. Met No. 1 became London Transport L.44, and it is known that by July 1936, though probably earlier, Met. 1 was repainted in London Transport livery. The duties of the class at this time included passenger services on the Chesham Branch, pilot engine at Rickmansworth, and goods transfer and engineering trains around Neasden.
Nos. 78, 79 and 82 were withdrawn in 1935, and No. 80 (L.47) in 1941, while the remaining three survived until 1963-4, when Nos. 77 and 81 (L.46 and L.48) were scrapped. No. 1 survived to work the last steam train on the Chesham Branch in July 1960 and the last steam-hauled passenger train anywhere on LT in 1961. But it was another two years before the locomotive was withdrawn, after a final moment of glory when in took part in the Metropolitan Centenary parade at Neasden on 23rd May 1963, where it hauled four bogie coaches and a milk van.
Following this, L.44 was purchased by the Society and delivered in steam on 26th March 1964 to the LRPS's temporary store at Skimpot Lane, Luton. Whilst at this depot an attempt was made to prepare the locomotive for a live steam appearance at the Bedford Centenary Exhibition in October 1968. Some defective stays were replaced and the Bedford shed boilersmith made plans for an hydraulic test, but unfortunately the locomotive was not permitted to be in action for the journey or in steam at the Exhibition.
The locomotive was subsequently moved to Aylesbury, where she was stored for two years. Transfer by rail to Quainton followed on 23rd September 1970, with a track slew from the mainline into the Downyard. Some initial preservation and investigatory work was done, but the first major overhaul started in earnest on 13th August 1975 with the removal of the tanks and cab, followed by a boiler lifted in February 1976. L44 has been extensively overhauled, the first overhaul starting in August 1975 with the removal of the tanks and cab, followed by a boiler lifted in February 1976.
For a number of years Met No.1 was maintained to the standard required of British Rail mainline running, and was periodically used for special steam trains organised by London Underground, over the old Metropolitan lines from its original birthplace at Neasden. These events were called Steam on the Met, Met No. 1 also attending various depot open days including the Upminster Open Days. Met No. 1 even ventured into Baker Street station, a "No Smoking" station!
Met 1 has also visited a number of other preserved railways, including:
A heavy overhaul of Met 1 was completed in 2001, with much of the work completed at Bill Parker's Flour Mill restoration base, its boiler certificate expiring in April 2011. Intermediate maintenance work has included:
During 2010 Metropolitan No. 1 came to the end of its current boiler certificate, with a special Farewell to Met No.1 event in on 17th October 2010. The Society then looked at options for its next overhaul, ideally before the 150th Anniversary of the Metropolitan Railway in 2013. An agreement has been reached with London Transport Museum that Met No. 1 should be transported to the Flour Mill workshops for assessment and costing of the work needed to return the loco to steam in time for the 150th anniversary of steam on the Underground. Once costings were available the Society and the London Transport Museum decided to launch a full restoration appeal. All transport and works for the first steps were at no cost to QRS. A tender was issued for restoration to Railway Group standards for mainline running, with a view to allowing Met. 1 onto the underground system in 2013. The tender was awarded to the Flour Mill where a heavy overhaul was recently completed, with the aim to run the first services on the London Underground in January 2013.
The latest restoration of Met. No. 1 finished on the 21st November 2012 with a steam test. Met No. 1 was then transported to Bitton on the Avon Valley Railway where she went under initial running trials and problem solving. Met No. 1 then was transported to the Severn Valley Railway for running in trials from the 28th to 30th November. Using three Mark 1 carriages, trials were completed at 25mph, 30mph, 40mph and finally 50mph. Further preparatory work at the Severn Valley Railway including wheel weight balancing. The loco was then transported to London, being at London Transport Acton Depot by the 4th December 2012.
The first run on London Transport metals was undertaken in the early hours of the 16th December from LT Ealing Common Depot to Earls Court via the District Line. Met No. 1 then proceeded to Edgware Road via the Circle and District Line, and then onto Baker Street on the Metropolitan Line, travelling onto Kings Cross, Farringdon and Moorgate. The route was then reversed, with the 1912 built Metropolitan Railway Bo-Bo electric Sarah Siddons No. 12 in charge, with Met No. 1 on the back of the formation.
On January 10th 2013 Met No. 1 hauled the recently restored Metropolitan Railway Coach No. 353 and the Bluebell Railway's ex-LT four-coach Chesham set, with Metropolitan Railway Bo-Bo electric Sarah Siddons No. 12 bringing up the rear. This formation took 75 passengers from Earl's Court to Moorgate, via Baker Street. The formation set off at 1 am and returned a little more than 3 hours later. On the 13th January 2013 a VIP special ran over a similar route, with public trips being run on the 20th January.
On February 2013 Met 1 returned home to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre where it operated paired with Metropolitan Railway Dreadnought Carriage No. 465, which is on extended loan from the Vintage Carriages Trust. Met No.1 is scheduled to be back in London over the weekend of 13 - 14 April 2013, appearing at London Transport's Acton Depot open weekend. On the 25 - 27th May Met No. 1 will run several public trips on the northern end of the Metropolitan Line.
A number of years ago a QRS member funded the manufacture of a set of replacement builders plates for the locomotive. However, a number of years passed before they were fitted whilst the puzzling evidence of why there was no sign of the original fitting location was researched. As mentioned above Met. No. 1 was built to replace the original of that number, a Beyer Peacock locomotive similar to No. 23 in the L.T. Museum. It would appear that the Operating Department applied to the Metropolitan Railway Board for funds with which to replace No. 1. This was denied for financial reasons.
At about this time the small batch of the E class locomotives was being built at Neasden Works, together with spare parts to maintain them. The Operating Department was still desperate for another locomotive, so arrangements were made to manufacture one additional set of spares to repair the original Met No. 1. When assembled a new locomotive emerged, but on paper the original Met No. 1 had been repaired. The loco was given No. 1 and not a higher number for this reason. To have fitted builders plates with the date of "building" would of course been a giveaway - hence the inability to find the original fitting location.
|Builder :-||Metropolitan Railway||Date Built :-||1898||Origin :-||MET|
|Number :-||1||Alternate Numbers :-||LT L.44||Name :-||-|
|Wheel Arrangement :-||0-4-4T||Tractive Effort :-||14,515 lb||Boiler Pressure :-||150 psi|
|Cylinder Dimensions :-||17" X 26"||Weight :-||54t 10c||Driving Wheel Dia. :-||5' 6"|
|Owner :-||QRS||Status :-||Operational||Location :-||London Transport Depot|
|Accession Number :-||W/0002|
Text © Quainton Railway
Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced
Page Updated: 29 March 2013