No 8 Sherlock Holmes


Metropolitan Vickers Bo-Bo Locomotives


No 1 photo
 John Lyon


No 2
Oliver Cromwell
Thomas Lord


No 3
Sir Ralph Verney


No 4
 Lord Byron


No 5 Photo
John Hampden 


No 6
 William Penn


No 7 Photo
Edmund Burke


No 8
 Sherlock Holmes


No 9
John Milton


No 10 Photo
William Ewart Gladstone
W. E. Gladstone


No 11 Photo
George Romney


No 12 a b c d
 Sarah Siddons


No 13 Photo
 Dick Whittington 


No 14 Photo
 Benjamin Disraeli


No 15
  Wembley 1924


No 16 Photo
 Oliver Goldsmith 


No 17 Photo
 Florence Nightingale

No 18
 Michael Faraday


No 19
 John Wycliffe


No 20
 Sir Christopher Wren


Photo references used in table above
 5 Loco & Train at NN.htm
 c (see images 43 to 48 on this page)

For anyone seeking information about Metropolitan Railway electrics of the 'Sarah Siddons' type this page was compiled from data collected from a web trawl to find what there was. Initially the compiler was asked what the other locomotives in the class were named.  As this was not a mainline British railway locomotive type, details were scarce. Hopefully this will be a page to answer web researchers initial questions. Apologies to those web sites from which this data was trawled. Links refer to the original pages. With thanks to London's Transport Museum, Covent Garden. 


Early Locomotives

No's 1-10

In 1902, the Metropolitan Railway started to electrify its routes. To this end, in 1904, ten locomotives were ordered from the Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon Co. Built between 1904 and 1906 these bogie locomotives Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 featured a central cab, somewhat like the previous Central London locos, Photo 4 although larger. They weighed 50 tons, and had four 200hp traction motors. The electrical equipment was to a Westinghouse design similar to those used on existing multiple unit stock. The first were delivered in 1905, and were numbered 1-10. They were of the Bo-Bo type, on two four wheel bogies, and were intended for hauling Great Western main line trains between Bishop's Road (Paddington) and Aldgate.
These locomotives worked the outer suburban routes, hauling conventional carriage stock. Other routes were worked by 1902 and 1904 built electrical multiple units. The locomotives lasted in service until 1922/23, when they were replaced by new locomotives constructed by Metropolitan Vickers.

 Photo 1 
 Photo 2
 Photo 3 BW loco.jpg

 Photo 4 

 see also

No's 11-20

In 1907 ten locomotives numbered 11-20, also of the Bo-Bo type, more exclusively for the Metropolitan's own use were added. Built by British Thompson Houston to a box cab design which gave it the appearance of a luggage van. The body work was of all steel. BTH electrical equipment,  dual brakes, vacuum for the train and air for the locomotives was used. The specifications called for a 120 ton train to be pulled at 35mph on the level and to start on a 250 ton train on 1 in 35 and haul it up 1 in 44.
  Photo image[1].jpg

Metropolitan Vickers Locomotives

In the 1922/3, the Metropolitan Railway placed an order with Metropolitan Vickers of Barrow-in-Furness for twenty electric locomotives. These were built from 1922-23, and were numbered 1-20. 

The two types of electric locomotives were withdrawn in batches in 1922 and sent for reconstruction to Vickers at Barrow in Furness.  The electrical equipment and bogies were removed for reuse in multiple unit stock, leaving the underframes , bodies and brake equipment. Parts were used. Essentially the rebuilds were considered to be entirely new. ('Rebuilding' may have been an accounting term to gain approval for new equipment.) The new electric locomotives replaced the earlier locos which were underpowered for the longer haul to Rickmansworth. The new locos were also Bo-Bo arrangement but had slimline bodies with a blunt V shaped cab end.

 Four Metro-Vick 300 HP motors, the largest possible in the space available, were fitted. These were expected to enable the locomotives to haul a 180 ton train on a tight schedule with frequent stops and starts with automatic acceleration, a continuous 17.5 mile run non stop, handle freight trains of varying weights and carry out slow shunting.  Cooling air was blown by a fan mounted on the motor.  A gangway was provided on each side of the body around the control  and brake equipment  between the cabs at each end. The maximum speed of 65mph was achieved with a tractive effort of 31,400lb.
The locomotives were painted in a chocolate colour and lined in yellow and black. Initially they ran with the word Metropolitan between two coats of arms  on each side of the body. A bronze nameplate replaced this in 1927 during an advertising campaign and the original 'London character' names were applied. They were all named and were adorned with brass nameplates commemorative of celebrated characters, mostly connected with London.

They were equipped with 300h.p. motors, one geared to each of the four axles, with electro-magnetic control. The overall length of the locomotive is 39.5ft., and its total weight 61.5 tons. It can be driven from either end, and is equipped with dual brakes, vacuum and compressed air (Westinghouse).
They replaced the earlier electric locomotives on outer suburban work. In 1925, the line was electrified to Rickmansworth . The Vickers locomotives hauled trains from Baker Street to Rickmansworth, from where a steam locomotive replaced the electric locomotives for onwards haulage to Amersham and Aylesbury. This practise continued until 1960 when the line was electrified as far as Amersham, and services beyond were discontinued. These locos hauled the Aylesbury trains of bogie stock from Aldgate as far as Rickmansworth where they were changed for steam traction for the remainder of the journey, one of the features of this service was the highly efficient changeover of locomotives that usually took as little as three minutes to achieve!  All were withdrawn by 1960 except four engines No's 1,3,5,12 retained for departmental use. 

"Their London terminus was Baker Street (off peak), or Liverpool Street (peak), not Aldgate. confirmed by the June 1960 LT Timetable which shows all LT Aylesbury peak services starting at Liverpool Street, where there was space to hold a loco in the headshunt.  For some years after the MetroVics were withdrawn, possibly as late as the late 1970's, the A60 EMU stock on the Amersham service continued to terminate at Liverpool Street even though there was no need to do so, other than capacity at Aldgate."
(correspondence K.Montgomery)

The last locomotives were withdrawn from traffic in 1962, following deliveries of new stock. However, four locomotives, nos. 1, 3, 5 and 12, were transferred to departmental duties, hauling engineers trains around the network. The final locomotive (no. 12) survived in departmental service until withdrawal in 1982. They were assigned:- No 1 to Neasden, No 3 to West Ruislip, No 5 to Acton, No 12 to Ealing Two locomotives (nos. 1 and 3) were subsequently scrapped, but the remaining two survived into preservation.

Each locomotive weighed 61.5 tons, were 39ft. 6ins. long, and were capable of accelerating from rest to 25mph in 25 seconds with a top speed of 65mph. They were also designed to start a 265 ton freight train up a 1 in 45 gradient on a straight track and could shunt at speeds as low as 2mph.

A special brake block test locomotive is kept. This is the sole working survivor of the famous fleet of twenty Metropolitan electric locomotives which were built between 1921 and 1923 and worked passenger trains on the Metropolitan Line until 1960. The last working locomotive is No 12 named Sarah Siddons. In addition to her test duties she is occasionally used for enthusiasts excursions on the Underground and she has been specially modified for use over 3rd rail electrified sections of British Rail.

Metropolitan Railway BoBo 1200 H.P. electric locomotive No. 7 built by Metropolitan Vickers in 1922. The nameplates were removed in 1948 when the locomotive was painted grey. A completely different style of cast aluminium nameplate was applied in 1956, and the locomotive was withdrawn on 7th March 1962. Only two of these original style bronze nameplates are known; the other one being the other "Edmund Burke".

The Metropolitan Railway was independent of the other Underground Lines until 1934. This independence showed in its rolling stock, which was more main line in character than the other Underground lines. It used compartment stock for locomotive haulage and some EMUs. It also used saloon stock  for its electric services. This all disappeared in the 1950s.

The locomotives were finally withdrawn from service in 1963. 
No 5 is at the London Transport Museum. 
No 12 is preserved in working order.

Disposal and scrapping.
"No. 2, 7, 16 and 18 as 'to BR (Rugby via Mitre Bridge) in 7/3/1962 with scrap date of 8/3/1962'."  "Scrap date nominal because four locomotives were still at Rugby on 11/4/1965" Where photo of No. 18 was taken. "Recorded 18, 7, 16, 2, on site" Letters, Railway Magazine Sept 2013.

No 2 was previously named Oliver Cromwell but when their names were restored after the war the name Thomas Lord and plaque with crossed cricket bats were used instead.
No 10 was named William Ewart Gladstone and later W. E. Gladstone
No 15 was named  Wembley 1924 and later Wembley. It was displayed at the 1924 Wembley exhibition with one side removed to show the internal equipment. No.15 was installed in the Palace of Engineering for the second and final season of the exhibition. Publicity matter for the exhibition frequently depicted the Metropolitan 1,200-h.p. electric locomotives. No.15 was withdrawn in 1951.
All the names were removed during the second world war to recover metal for the war effort. They were replaced later with aluminium plates, some with altered names.

The Railway Magazine May 1974
London's Underground,  H.F. Howson 1958
Observers book of Railway Locomotives of Britain 1955-66
The Metropolitan Railway C. Baker Oakwood Press 1951 

Provided by London's Transport Museum 
Other references to these locomotives can be found in the following publications:-
'The Metropolitan Railway' by David Bownes. Tempus Publishing Ltd 2004 ISBN 0 7524 3105 6
'Metropolitan Railway' by John Glover published by Ian Allan Publishing 1998 ISBN 0 7110 2630 0
'London's Metropolitan Railway' by Alan Jackson. David & Charles Publishers 1986 ISBN 0 7153 8839 8

Provided by Keith Montgomery
'Metropolitan Electric Locomotives' by R. Benest,  Lens of Sutton in association with the London Underground Railway Society, 1963 
'London Transport In Colour 1950-1969' by Kevin McCormack, Ian Allan Publishing 2005, ISBN 0 7110 3073 1
Phil Radley, of Radley Models, www. , makes and sells Cast Resin & White Metal Kits of the locos, and other LT rolling stock of the period including the Dreadnought coaching stock, all in 4mm scale.

If you have suggestions, corrections, contributions, or concerns over source and attribution please contact page author. 
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