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Locomotive L11

Sometimes referred to as 1923 Tube Stock or Pre 1938 Stock, ‘Standard Stock’ was the usual term applied to a variety of Tube stock built between 1923 and 1934, all of which shared the same basic characteristics, but with some detailed differences. Most of the Standard Stock was built to replace the first generation of Gate Stock tube trains or to provide additional trains for line extensions built in the 1920s and early 1930s. Standard Stock trains consisted of motor cars (with a driver's cab, behind which was a ‘switch compartment’ occupying approximately one-third of the length of the car), plus trailer cars and ‘control trailers’ (with a driving cab but no motor). All were equipped with air operated sliding doors, although the guard's door on the earlier trains was a manually operated inward-opening hinged door.

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At the end of their service life in 1964 two former Piccadilly Line motor cars 3080 and 3109 were selected to form L11 for use as a shunting locomotive at London Underground's Acton Works. The passenger compartments were removed to leave just the 'working bits' these were then joined together in a classic ‘cut & shut’ to form one Locomotive. The Acton facing end of the loco was fitted with couplers at both tube and surface stock height and a special window in the cab door for improved visibility when shunting. The loco was fitted with sanding gear for hauling stock up the steep gradient to Acton Town station and painted maroon. Like other stock in the engineer's fleet it was painted yellow in the early 1980s. It stayed at Acton on shunting duties until 22 June 1989 when it transferred initially to Ruislip depot and then back to Acton in 1991 for storage.

 

After thirteen years in storage at Acton, the threat of being cut up for scrap loomed, so agreement was reached between Cravens Heritage Trains, the Bakerloo-Central-Victoria part of MetroNet and London Transport Museum which saw L11 transported by low loader to her new home in Epping overnight on 14th April 2004. The move was even filmed and went out on Carlton TV’s series about the Underground. There is an excellent website with additional details here.

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The first decade of L11 being at Epping saw little done in the way of preservation except a coat of Red Oxide not long after arrival. L11 was not looking good and comments about the 'rusty hulk’ and 'eyesore' on Facebook prompted a new and concerted effort to turn the clock back and get L11 looking good again.

We set up a Facebook page and via this initial use of social media our first combined working/open day in May 2017 was organised. This first day proved to be eventful and by close of play there was a noticeable change of fortune for L11. The comments made on social media since have been so encouraging and it was rewarding to see L11 spend her 90th birthday in 2021 in much better shape. Take a peek at this 2017 YouTube video - you'll see some of the fun we had during the restoration!

We would like to extend our thanks to Transplant at Ruislip Depot for the donation of 10 litres of Yellow Engineers train paint.

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