1938 Tube Ride!

February 25, 2019  •  , ,

I’ve always lusted after vintage transport excursions. I know that sounds a bit strange, but I love old trains and I’m desperate to go on the abandoned Tube station tour in London. At the moment I’m not sure I could handle all the stairs though! So when I saw the first tour on a 1938 Tube train of the year was scheduled, I really wanted to go. As always, my lovely girlfriend Katy listened to my ridiculous whims and managed to get tickets incredibly quickly before they sold out! (She also took most of the photos in this post!)

Me, next to the tube car
Inside a 1938 stock London Underground train.

Now, I will admit that the logistics of such a day out were a bit ridiculous! Last week was the week-long closure of about half the train line between Brighton and London. This meant we had to take a 45 minute rail replacement bus just to get half way to London. Then we had to take a train to Farringdon so we could get the tube to Moorgate, where the tour was due to begin.

The tour itself was 2 hours. Following it, we took a bus to one of our favourite restaurants. Then we took the Tube again before getting our train, followed by a rail replacement bus, and finally a taxi, before reaching home.

So essentially we spent about 4 hours travelling so that we could ride the Tube for an additional 2 hours.

It was worth it though! These rides are becoming increasingly rare as upgrades to the signalling systems render this old stock incompatible. The trains themselves are gorgeous – decked out in art deco patterned seats which are actually way more comfortable than anything I’ve encountered in modern trains!

Inside a 1938 stock London Underground train.
Inside a 1938 stock London Underground train.
Inside a 1938 stock London Underground train.

Of course, the past is always a tad romanticised, and in their actual heyday the designated smoking cars were apparently yellowed with nicotine which also rotted the fabric, and the floors were scuffed rather than varnished.

Inside a 1938 stock London Underground train.
An old Tube Map

Still, it’s fun to imagine commuting in such a charming atmosphere. The ads placed throughout were also super interesting. They are from all sorts of different eras up to the 70s.

I’m a bit sad that the current Tube stock aren’t painted completely red on the outside like these are! I wonder why they went for the current colour scheme.

Anyway, that was our nerdy day out. Well, mostly my nerdy day out. Katy still can’t believe I find sitting on a train so thrilling but I really loved it!

Inside a 1938 stock London Underground train.

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  • Wow! Absolutely stunning and so cool! I absolutely love old trains, trams, trolley’s, etc. I love anything to do with railroads, old planes and cars or anything transportation related. I love the 1920’s and 30’s as well. I would love to see something like that. I have never really been to London (unless you count through the airport, which I don’t) and have always wanted to go and the tube is one place I was always interested in. Especially the older sections of it.