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Metropolitan Railway E class locomotive.

The Metropolitan Railway's E class is a type of 0-4-4T steam locomotive, which was built from 1896 to 1901.


The Metropolitan Railway ordered in a batch of these locomotives to pull and haul passenger trains all along the London Underground system in the early to mid 20th century. A total batch seven E class tank engines were built. Three of them were built by the Metropolitan Railway's Neasden Works, whilst the other four were built by the Hawthorn Leslie and Company. These engines were an improvement on the fleet on the Metropolitan Railway, compared to the older A class locomotives that were built without any cabs (open cabs). These engines were obviously built and designed for efficient, running on the Underground railway system of London. Examples of modifications these engines had included condensing apparatuses to lessen the effect of the steam and smoke that they released. Later on these engines had the apparatuses removed as they were replaced by electric fleet instead. The E class locomotives found themselves working on goods trains with GWR/LT Pannier's and Chesham Branchline Shuttles alongside LMS Ivatt tanks. The first E class engine was scrapped in 1935 before the class was renumbered by the London Transport company; in the end it was only that four of the seven tank engines got their new numbers. These changed No.1's number to L.44 and the rest of the class followed suite. As time went on the engines were withdrawn quickly, all except L.44/No.1. This engine was given the honour of pulling the last London Underground or Metropolitan Railway steam hauled train service in the year of 1961. Though it was still kept in storage round the country until 1965 when it was brought by the Buckinghamshire Railway Center. It still remains there today.


Not only was No.1 famous for being the only sole survivor of its class, but its preservation history saw it return many times to the London Underground metals. It returned during "Steam on the MET" events that took place numerous times between 1989 and 2000. In 2001 MET No.1 was overhauled completely. It guest starred in in the Bluebell 2007, 125th anniversary celebrations, where it pulled a rake of four bogie Metropoliatan carriages for the event as well as many other galas such as at Barrowhill Roundhouse. After it's 2010-2013 overhaul at the Flourmill Workshops in the Forest of Dean, it went to the Severn Valley Railway for testing. However MET No.1 was driven up to 55 mph on the 15 mile stretch of preserved track, that's twice as fast the legal limits on UK heritage railways according to the Light Railway Order's Act. However it was given special permission to do this. At Kidderminster station very few press companies were allowed the interview the engine's crew, including "Heritage Railway" magazine. In the latter months of 2013 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, MET No.1 ran a number of specials on the network constantly throughout the year, and is still scheduled to do so within the forthcoming years. It pulled stock of one 0-4-0 Metropolitan Coach with a Metropolitan Railway milk van sharing the same configuration. As well as the Bluebell railway's four bogie Metropolitan Railway stock, MET No.1 was banked by Sarah Siddons, the Metropolitan Electric Railway's preserved Diesel.

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