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.
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
3 featured a central cab, somewhat like the previous Central London
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
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
The locomotives lasted in service until 1922/23, when they were replaced
by new locomotives constructed by Metropolitan Vickers.
3 http://www.trainweb.org/tubeprune/Met BW loco.jpg
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.
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.
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
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locomotives were withdrawn in batches in 1922 and sent for reconstruction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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
The Railway Magazine May 1974
London's Underground, H.F. Howson 1958
Observers book of Railway Locomotives of
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. radleymodels.co.uk , 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.
Richard Hobby - sales @rrhobby.ca