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Quainton Guide 1979
L44 (No. 1)
No. 1 was built in 1898 by the Metropolitan Railway at Neasden and given the number left vacant after the original No. 1, a class 'A' 4-4-0 tank, was scrapped following an accident. Two more identical engines, 77 and 78, were also built at Neasden and a further four by R & W Hawthorn Leslie of Newcastle in 1900-1. It seems likely that the class, designated 'E', was to have been extended as a gap was left in the list of locomotive numbers, the next to be used being 90. However the extension of electrification to Harrow and Uxbridge in 1905 made further engines of this type unnecessary and also led to the removal of condensing apparatus, fitted for working in tunnels, from the existing seven.
For more than twenty years these engines dominated the Metropolitan services to and from Aylesbury and they still appeared frequently on the main line even after the introduction of the 'H' class tanks in 1920. On 13th April 1933 the Metropolitan was taken over by the newly incorporated London Passenger Transport Board and No. 1 was renumbered L44. 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 Nos. 78, 79 and 82 were withdrawn in 1935 and No. 80 (L47) in 1941 while the remaining three survived until 1963-64 when 77 and 81 (L46 and L48) were scrapped and No. 1 purchased by the Society
Notable events for No. 1 in a working career of 65 years included haulage of the first passenger train over the Uxbridge line on 4th Julv 1904, the last steam train on the Chesham branch in July 1960 and a train of four bogie coaches and a milk van in the parade at Neasden to commemorate the centenary of the Metropolitan Railway on 23rd May 1963.
No. 1 arrived at Quainton in September 1970, and began having an extensive overhaul during 1975. The cab, tanks and splashers have been removed and the boiler lifted by crane for inspection and repairs carried out on a number of rivets.
Restoration is now nearing completion and the locomotive will be painted in the Metropolitan livery of maroon with black and yellow lining.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 13 December 2017