Saturday, 2 March 2013

"MET 150 - Baker Street Revisited

A centre-spread in the March 2013 Railway Observer celebrates one hundred and fifty years of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first "Underground", which went from Paddington via Baker Street to Moorgate and came   into operation on January 10th, 1863.
The re-enactment used steam locomotive no. 1 and electric locomotive no. 12 (aka "Sarah Siddons") for a V.I.P. Special starting  from Kensington (Olympia) on 13th January this year. All the electric locomotives which hauled the 'slam-door trains' from the 1920's to the 1950's were named for famous Londoners and, as well as Siddons, included Thomas Lord, John Lyon and (No.8) Sherlock Holmes! Were any Sherlockians  waiting at Baker Street to see this re-enactment?!
In "The Bruce-Partington Plans" an observant Conan Doyle writes about a similar line, The District Railway, calling it  the "Metropolitan  Underground". From 1872 this ran west London trains on what later became the southern section of the Circle Line, and Doyle describes how Holmes deduces that the body of the unfortunate Cadogan West must have been placed (by the villains of the piece) on the roof of the steam train when it paused briefly at Cromwell Junction near Kensington and fell off  at a sharp curve which caused the train to roll just before Aldgate  East Station.

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