Derby-based Railway Vehicle Engineering Limited (RVEL) is supporting London Transport Museum’s campaign to restore Met Locomotive No. 1 in time for next year’s 150th anniversary celebrations of London Underground – the world’s first underground railway.
Once restored, the 1898 built former Metropolitan Railway locomotive No. 1 will take part in a recreation of the inaugural public passenger journey, bringing steam back to the Metropolitan line on Sunday, January 13, 2013. The locomotive will also take part in a number of other steam events throughout 2013.
Andy Lynch, managing director of RVEL, said: “As the UK’s largest independent rolling stock engineering company we are very pleased to be a funder of this exciting project. Great Britain gave railways to the world and it is absolutely fitting that the world’s first Metro should celebrate its history as it continues to serve the capital; safely carrying passenger numbers undreamt of by our Victorian forebears.
“At RVEL we are proud to be known for our innovative rolling stock engineering and so we look forward to supporting London’s future railway needs as well as celebrating its glorious past.”
On January 10, 1863, the world’s first underground train pulled out of Paddington station to make the first public passenger journey. The train made the 3½-mile journey under the streets of London from Paddington to Farringdon and into the record books.
The new Underground line was built and financed by the Metropolitan Railway, a private company which had been formed in 1854 to undertake the literally ground-breaking project to link the mainline stations at Paddington, Euston and King’s Cross with the city centre business district to the east.
While the train consisted of an ordinary-looking steam locomotive and carriages, the event itself was something truly novel. The excitement around this new form of transport led hundreds of cheering well-wishers to gather for the departure of the first train. The first passengers were VIPs and included business people and engineers who had built the railway.
Travelling on the new railway was a novelty that thousands of Londoners were eager to experience and on the first day of public service long queues formed at every station. The line was a huge success with 26,000 passengers using the railway each day in the first six months.
Sam Mullins, director of London Transport Museum, said: “We are delighted that Rail Vehicle Engineering Limited has chosen to support the restoration of Met Locomotive No. 1. The return of steam to the London Underground will be a spectacular occasion and a fitting celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the world’s first underground railway.”
To support the fundraising campaign visit http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/met1
Details of all special steam runs and the 150th anniversary of London Underground events programme will be released at the end of 2012.