On Saturday I was lucky enough to make it to the London Transport Museum’s Depot Open Weekend. Although I’ve been to the main site in Covent Garden several times, this was the first time I’d visit the Acton Depot. A huge train shed, it’s filled with all the treasures the Museum has neither the space nor the money to exhibit in the museum proper, so a couple of times a year they open the doors to allow the public opportunity to view the full unedited collection.
There is everything from train cars to buses, station signs to lift gates, ticket machines to signalling equipment. Transport artefacts from the Victorian period to the present. Some bits are just piled high in racks, with little apparent semblance of order – although I’m sure that’s not the case – and there isn’t too much in the way of labelling or explanation, unlike a regular museum. Fortunately the were no shortage of passionate Museum Volunteers on hand to talk curious visitors through the items on display, and the lack of reading matter is probably just as well considering the size of the depot and the number of things look at. I stayed for around 4 hours and probably still didn’t quite see and take everything in.
There were also stalls selling memorabilia, several food vans in the yard (I had a lovely crepe), and a children’s play area, so all well set up for visiting families as well as transport nerds. Overall, a great afternoon out and an essential destination for anyone with an interest in London’s transport infrastructure.
Entering the depot
Spiral elevator fragment from Holloway Road station. It was an Edwardian experiment that failed to catch on.
London Transport International!
The old station sign design, before the target style roundel had been developed.
A preserved car of 1960 A-stock. I’ve a fond memory of these as my first home in London was Rotherhithe on the East London Line, which ran with this kind of train.
Living in Kensal Green these days, I’m all about the Bakerloo now.
Now the North London Line section of the Overground, this sign from the British Rail days was taken from North Woolwich station, now gone and replaced with a DLR branch.
A burnt out car from the 1904, it used to serve on the Metropolitan Line.
The fantastic 70s interior of a 1983 stock Jubilee Line car. They only had single leaf doors, and were not considered successful, being replaced by the trains currently running on the Jubilee by 1998.
The art deco interior of a 38 stock tube car.
Me getting all excited twiddling the knobs in the front of an experimental train designed for the Central line in the 1990s.
In the late 1940s the words London Underground were removed from tube stations and replaced with London Transport signage to emphasise the joined up network that encompassed trains, buses and trams. The rebrand didn’t last long however and the London Underground name returned to the network within a decade.
This is an E/1 type tram dating from 1910. It was in use in London until 1952.
A tram on the left and a trollybus on the right. The trollybuses replaced trams entirely by 1952, as removing the track infrastructure removed maintenance costs. The trollybuses themselves didn’t last too much longer, diesel buses replacing them in turn in 1962.
A GS type bus dating from 1953.
A sneaky Sinclair C5, hidden behind a bus.
An NS type bus dating from 1926.
A horse drawn bus from the 1890s.
A model escalator, the early types required users to exit to one side.
A model of a concept “Spacetrain” designed as a possible replacement for the Victoria line’s original 1967 stock. A cheaper and more conventional design was eventually chosen.
A model of Canada Water tube and bus station.
Your guess is as good as mine.
Old style ticket machines. You had to use the machine that dispensed the correct fare for your journey.