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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Acton Depot Open Weekend - When the Tube runs like clockwork

On the 12th and 13th March there's another of the semi regular open weekends of the
London Transport Museum Depot at Acton. It's the overflow site of the museum in Covent Garden and you can explore over 70 rare road and rail vehicles. New to the collection and on show for the first time is the 1967 Tube stock driving motor car No. 3052. You'll be able to sit in a car where the Queen made one of her infrequent London Underground visits. She travelled on it to launch the Victoria line in March 1969.

Queen opening the Victoria Line by London Transport Museum

As well as trains, the place is chock-a-block with signs, old ticket machines and other memorabilia ripped out of stations that have been refurbished.  You can also take rides on the Depot’s miniature railway, which features steam & electric trains and full size heritage vehicles.

Miniature Railway photo by Toby Bryans

For the weekend they are also running trips on the Wootton Electric Tramway, brought over from the Isle of Wight, which will carry visitors along its own tracks around the Depot powered by overhead electric wiring.

To continue the London’s Transport in Miniature theme there's loads of working model railways from professional and amateur modellers. A must see is John Polly’s Abbey Road model (pictured below), a fictious London Underground station which is split over a level four platform station and based on Charles Holden's designs.

If that's not enough to whet your appetite, specialist transport writer and broadcaster Christian Wolmar will give two talks each day at the Depot.  Both talks will be centred around his newly published book Engines of War and also the highly popular Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How it Changed the City Forever .

Saturday 12th March
Engines of War: How wars were won and lost on the railways - 13.20 - 14.00
Subterranean Railways: Fantastic achievements of London Underground’s pioneers - 14.50 - 15.30

Sunday 13th March
Engines of War: How wars were won and lost on the railways - 13.30 – 14.10
Subterranean Railways: Fantastic achievements of London Underground’s pioneers. 15.30 – 16.10

If you're going along  IanVisits has some handy tips.

Buy tickets in advance - they last all weekend, and avoid the often lengthy queues on the door.

If taking a bag, make it a very small one as larger bags have to be left in the cloakroom. My camera bag just happens to snugly fit in their airport style measuring box - so I don't have to queue up to get my bag back when leaving.

Admission (remember tickets are valid both days):
£10.00 for adults, £8.00 for senior citizens, £6.50 concessions and £5.00 London Transport Museum Friends. Accompanied children under 16 Free.  To avoid the queues, tickets can be booked in advance by calling 020 7565 7298. (or in person at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden).  Full details of all the activities and opening & closing times are on London Transport Museum's site.

Sounds like it will be a pretty packed weekend and here's a few posts from when I've been in the past.
Model Tube System
Museum Depot meets the Dust Masker & Nikki
London's Transport in Miniature

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