A Day at the Acton London Transport Museum

Posted on 28/12/2022 By

Not Bertie’s Day

Entrance to the Acton London Transport Museum.

Bertie: “You promised me. You bleedin’ PROMISED me! You promised to take me to the Acton London Transport Museum.”

Tim: “Yes, I know. I’m sorry. But it just didn’t work out. If I get to go again, then I’ll see if I can take you then. It was just unfortunate that Andrew was so busy arranging the Farewell to Bobby, and it just wasn’t possible to get you.”

Bertie: “Fair enough, but then you have the bleedin’ cheek to take another bear IN MY PLACE! Without asking! I don’t even know who this Charlie is. How dare you. Whose blog is this anyway?”

Tim: “Sorry, Bertie. No offence intended at all. I just felt it was important to have a representative of the Bear community come along. And, I think you’ll like Charlie. Let me introduce you.”

Introducing Charlie

Charlie the bear.

Charlie. Bear in a Chair. Ahahahahaha!

Tim: “Meet Charlie. I sort of “did a Bobby”. In the absence of you, Bertie, I needed a bear – not only to accompany me to the museum, but also for the “Lighting a Candle” photograph. So, we trawled around London, ending up in the Covent Garden market. And there he was. Couldn’t resist. Named him ‘Charlie’, in honour of our new King. Over to you, Charlie.”

The Acton London Transport Museum

This was a bitter-sweet day, back in September. When Tim had mentioned to Bobby that he was planning on going, like a shot Bobby invited himself along too! Tim knew he, and Bertie (eventually!), thoroughly enjoyed their last visit back in 2017, and I was secretly looking forward to Bobby’s wisdom on the exhibits.

So, it was a lonelier tour – and a much quieter one! It was interesting to note certain differences since Bobby’s last visit. Most notably, there were no rides to be had. No buses were running, and the miniature railway looked sadly forlorn and neglected.

The queue to get in to the Acton London Transport Museuum.


Acton Town Station.

Acton Town Station is right opposite the entrance to the Depot.

Useless fact: There are seven stations serving Acton! Acton Town (District & Piccadilly Lines), West Acton, North Acton & East Acton (Central Line), Acton Central & South Acton (London Overground) and Acton Main Line (GWR & Elizabeth Line).

Depot Unlocked poster.

Entrance sign to the Museum.

Getting nearer!

The miniature railway - out of action.

The miniature railway. Clearly no intention to run it, as the fence is on top of some of the tracks!

Covid instruction poster.

Sign of the times.

T567 NUW 567Y outside the depot.

Leyland Titan B15 outside the depot. In service from 1982 until 1993, when it was donated to the museum.

We shuffled along in the queue, showed our tickets, and were in. Even got in half-an-hour earlier than our booked slot, because we got there quicker than we expected.

Once inside, we looked at the first exhibits and then noticed that there were guided tours. So we signed up for the next one! This took us to a couple of behind the scenes places, and gave us a bit more in-depth info on some of the history.

All the exhibits in the depot are operational. Sadly, none were running today.

Class 487 Waterloo & City line train in NSE livery.

Waterloo & City line (“The Drain”) Class 487 unit in NSE livery from the time it was part of British Rail.

London Transport Trams.

Remember Watney’s Red Barrel?

Wooden floor on the rear entrance of an old London Bus.

They don’t make floors like that any more! Note also the staircase layout.

To seat 24 Lower Deck.To seat 32 Upper Deck.

Didn’t carry many passengers in the old days!

Trolleybus HYM 768.

BUT Trolleybus HYM 768 (1768) dating from 1948 and operated until 1961. Carried 70 passengers. Regulations at the time meant vehicles of this length needed double axles at the rear.

Charlie sat on the wheel arch of GS64 MXX 364.

The GS. One of Bobby’s favourites.

Sister vehicle GS13 was operating on the last Dorking Running Day.

JDZ 2315 and FJJ 774.

Two unusual vehicles. JDZ 2315 (DW15), a Dennis Dart with Wright Handybus body, in Gold Arrow Livery. FJJ 774 (TF77), a 1939 Leyland TF coach, one of just 88 built in a joint venture between Leyland & London Transport.

DMS1 EGP1J. The first Daimler DMS.

1970 DMS1 EGP1J. The first Daimler DMS.

Busy scene in the museum.

Busy in here!


The prototype Routemaster.

Starting handle on old bus YR 3844.

Imagine having to turn this to start your bus!

XC 8059 (K424)

Bit draughty driving that!

Old horse bus.

Old Horse Bus. Apparently, when it goes out it is pulled by another vehicle, not a horse. Shame. Guide Dog Loki didn’t fancy a try at pulling it either!

Charlie at the controls of a tube train.

I rather fancy myself as a tube train driver!

ESL 107 Sleet Locomotive

ESL 107 – a 1940s “Sleet Locomotive”. Used for de-icing open-air sections of the Underground. Eighteen were built at Acton Works during 1939 and 1940. Constructed out two former 1903 Central London Railway motor cars, back to back. Became redundant in the 1980s, when de-icing equipment was fitted to passenger stock.

1986 Prototype Tube Stock

Metro Cammell prototype tube train from 1986. This is one car from one of the 3 four-car sets built for the Central Line.

One of the benefits of the guided tour was going behind the tram seen earlier. Of particular interest was the section of conduit slot. In central London (the “posh” parts!), overhead wires were not allowed and the trams had to get their power through a central rail – as seen in the Kingsway Tunnel blog.

Section of conduit.

The skate (as seen on top of the slot) was picked up by the bottom of the tram. This was then connected to the electric supply well below the conduit slot.

Section of conduit.

A clearer view showing the slot and the electric rail below. This system was unpopular with operators as by default they were subject to all the problems the British weather could throw at them!

One of the oddest and, perhaps, most interesting possessions in the collection is the Spiral Escalator. Probably never actually used, it was installed in 1906 at Holloway Road Station but very quickly abandoned. It was discovered during refurbishment work in 1988.

The Spiral Escalator.

In 1911, more conventional escalators made their first appearance. The once very familiar wooden one finally disappearing as a result of the Kings Cross fire in 1987.

Section of wooden escalator.

Remember these?

Section of tube.

A section showing how low-level tube lines are constructed – complete with 4 aspect signal.

Charlie with our tour guide.

Our tour guide for the day.

Old Underground Ticket Machine.

Before Oyster!

1972 unpainted Aluminium tube stock.

1972 unpainted Aluminium tube stock.

Inside an old underground train.

Underground luxury.

Charlie on a comfortable looking underground train seat.

I could get used to this!

Metropolitan Railway electric stock trailer carriage, 1904.

Perhaps the saddest exhibit. The only surviving carriage from Uxbridge Line of the Metropolitan Railway electric stock of 1904-5. Sadly suffering fire damage just prior to being transferred to the museum in 1997.

NLE 537 (RF537)

Back outside, a familiar shape in an RF. Staple of the single deck services for many years.

Whilst enjoying a well-earned cuppa, we shared a table with Mark and Tom, a couple of volunteers from the museum. Somehow through the conversation we discovered that we not only had a mutual interest in canals – but also had some very good friends in common too! Tom has his own inspirational blog, which we would highly recommend.

Mark, Tom and Charlie.

With the Leyland Titan we saw in the beginning in the background, Mark and Tom pose with Charlie.

We had a great day, and this is only the edited highlights. Maybe one day we will go again.

Lighting a Candle for Bobby and Diddley

There was only one place we could go – St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Charlie, with a candle lit for Bobby and Diddley in St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Charlie watching the musicians.

There was a concert taking place. We think Bobby would have approved.


  1. Bernadette Josiah says:

    Thank you, what a wonderful day out. I had no idea there’s a transport museum in Acton. One for me to visit

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