Posts Tagged ‘Underground’

Blossom time

May 9, 2016

Here we have May from our floral underground poster calendar.


Bright and cheerful blossom appears to be the theme of this month. The art work is by Walter Spradbury and dates from 1929. The poster, of course, extols the virtue of reaching the parks and gardens named by Underground.

I don’t feel the need to travel up to London to see blossom. I just look out of my window and see it. Actually, this apple blossom dates from the May of 2004


Our Bramley tree was absolutely awash with blossom that year.


Daffodils at Kew

February 29, 2016

A perfect mix! A railway poster – albeit London Underground and a garden! What could be better?


This is a February calendar image and as I write this I can see daffodils out in my much more rural garden.

This work of art is by Catherine Alexander and dates from 1924. It is titled ‘Daffodils at Kew Gardens’ but the poster implies similar sights at Hampton Court as well.

Actually, I see the wording of this poster as an argument for an integrated transport system. If I arrived at Wimbledon station I might feel it a good idea to go to a very handy Hampton Court rail station by train. But in 1924 that service was operated by a different company so it got no mention.


I’m just going to add that today would have been the birthday of my mother. If she were still alive this would have been the 22nd occasion her birthday could be truly celebrated.

Underground to Overground

October 3, 2014

I was a student at Goldsmiths which is situated at New Cross in South East London.  From New Cross, or more usually New Cross Gate, we students could catch the East London Line of London Underground up to Whitechapel, or through to Shoreditch in rush hours. I managed some none too brilliant photos of the antique trains which operated in this busy backwater, taking in stations at Rotherhithe, Wapping and Shadwell.

It always felt just a tad scary. The stations were dingy to say the least and the tunnel under the Thames had been designed by Marc Isambard Brunel – father of the better known I K Brunel – long before a railway was planned.

I gather the line closed in 2007 for a complete refit and opened as what is now called the London Overground in 2010. So my late 60s pictures are historic.


This train is arriving at (I think) New Cross Gate. This is not tube stock which was built to a much smaller size. The original underground railways in London could take normal sized trains like this one. I think this was originally metropolitan Railway K stock and it dates from the 1920s. In that respect it was like all other trains on the line – 40 or more years old.

A similar train arrives at Whitechapel.


That was a bit of a dismal place. I’d be glad if it has been well tidied up.

Guess what? My information comes from a train spotting book.


This book is undated but from the stock it lists it must be from the 1950s. And by the way, I was never sad enough to collect underground train numbers!

London Underground – 150th anniversary.

January 11, 2013

When I heard this news item my thoughts were, .No. This can’t be. It was only a few years ago we were celebrating the 100th anniversary.’

But on consideration, I realised it was fifty years ago we did that. I still have the poster from that occasion.


Can I gripe first about news coverage about a steam train on the tube? The line opened from Paddington to Farringdon Road in 1863 was not a tube. It was shallow, only just below street level and it was constructed by opening out a cutting and then putting a roof on it where needed. The whole of the Circle line, the Metropolitan and the District are cut and cover or out in the air normal railways. The first tube line in London, at deep level and formed in tube like fashion was the City and South London. It was opened in 1890 and was electrically operated from the start. Steam trains, to the best of my knowledge, have never operated in London tubes.

But back in the 1960s, London Underground was still acquiring steam engines for maintenance work. Several ex GWR pannier tanks were purchased. The steamer had the advantage that it could work when the power was turned off.

Trains could be said to have a life of about 30 years but in some cases they last much longer. After Minister of Transport Ernest Marples and his stooge, Dr Beeching, closed most of the lines on the Isle of Wight new trains were needed that were smaller in overall size than normal stock. The Island Line between Ryde and Shanklin became the home for some old underground trains. Hang on. Let’s be precise. They were former tube trains.


This was photographed in the early 1980s but the train dates from 1923 so it was 60 years old when I snapped it (and travelled on it). I had travelled on such trains on the Piccadilly line in London during the early 1960s. When made suitable for Isle of Wight work some were in 4 coach sets called 4-Vec and others in 3 coach sets known as 3-Tis. A typical 7 coach train was thus a Vec Tis with Vectis being the Roman name for the Isle of Wight


This image of such a train running in London Transport red comes from . My memory is of trains in tunnels in London and they certainly don’t stick in the mind as having such sparkling bright paintwork.