The Metropolitan Railway opened in 1863 was the world's first underground railway (predating the Paris Metro), and its cut-and-cover tunnels linked some of the disparate railway station terminii that different railway companies had left dotted around London, apparently without much consideration how people would get from one rail network's London terminus to another.
The Metropolitan inspired (and later became absorbed into) the rest of what became the London Underground network (then the London Passenger Transport Board) in 1933.
The Metropolitan trains were originally hauled by steam locomotives (the Metropolitan A Class tank locomotives built by Beyer Peacock), but even with special steam condensers and spark-catchers designed into the locos, steam travel underground was not ideal, and in 1905 the Metropolitan introduced some of the first electric locomotives to get around the problem.
1928 promotional text:
When in London – travel Metro
To reach any part of London easily, quickly and comfortably, travel by the Metropolitan Railway. It goes north, south, east and west; links up at eight points with London's Tube system; provides convenient connection with the whole of the Main Line Terminii and affords speedy and comfortable travel at the minimum of cost.
— , Metropolitan Railway, , The Railway Magazine, , May 1928
Although these early electric locomotives can now look to us to be rather quaint with their brass-coloured fittings and external handrails, they were considered at the time to be cutting-edge technology, and both Meccano Ltd. (Hornby) and Bing produced train sets designed around the new modern electric trains.
In the case of the Hornby model, this was also the company's first ever electrically-powered model locomotive – although the company couldn't produce authentic steam-powered models of steam locomotives, it now could now produce an authentically electrically-powered model of a real-life electric locomotive. Although the first Hornby models ran off 110V DC rather than the real locomotive's 500V DC, the track was still (authentically!) potentially lethal, and lower-voltage versions quickly followed.
- The railway company created "Metro-Land", an area of new housing outside London designed to allow people who worked in the City to live outside and commute in using the new railway. This also encouraged the development of the centre of the city to focus on purely commercial premises rather than on also housing the workforce required to run those businesses.
- The London Underground's Metropolitan Line is named after the railway, and makes use of some of the original Metropolitan line tunnels and stations.
- First Day of the London Tube, by Richard Cavendish (historytoday.com)
- Opening of the Metropolitan Railway to the public (theguardian.com) – contemporary news report, Sunday 11 January 1863
- London Transport Museum: Steam Underground 1863-1905 / Metropolitan Railway (ltmcollection.org)
- Metropolitan Railway (gracesguide.co.uk)
- Condenser" tank locomotive (scienceandsociety.co.uk)
This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total.
Pages in category ‘Metropolitan Railway’
The following 4 pages are in this category, out of 4 total.
Media in category ‘Metropolitan Railway’
The following 10 files are in this category, out of 10 total.
- Bing Metropolitan Train (BTC).jpg 1,392 × 662; 201 KB
- Hornby E36 Metropolitan Locomotive (HBoT 1934).jpg 2,127 × 1,225; 375 KB
- Hornby Metropolitan locomotive 110-Volt, detail.jpg 800 × 600; 219 KB
- Hornby Metropolitan Train Set (1926 HBoT).jpg 2,936 × 1,142; 407 KB
- Hornby Metropolitan Train Set (HBoT 1930).jpg 3,106 × 975; 465 KB
- Hornby Metropolitan Train Sets (HBoT 1938).jpg 2,182 × 769; 279 KB
- Hornby Metropolitan Train Sets graphic small.jpg 3,373 × 1,978; 597 KB
- Metropolitan Railway electric train set, Bing gauge 0 (BingCatEn 1928).jpg 2,600 × 1,150; 626 KB
- The Hornby Electric Train (MM 1925-12).jpg 1,166 × 1,600; 355 KB
- When in London Travel Metro (TRM 1928-05).jpg 755 × 1,200; 299 KB