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Steam train on London Underground for 150th anniversary

Published on Jan 14, 2013 6:11 AM
Metropolitan 1, a restored steam train built in 1898, passes a modern tube train as it passes through Farringdon Tube station on it's journey between Olympia Tube station in the west to Moorgate station in the City of London, Sunday, Jan 13, 2013, as part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the London Underground Tube system. The first stretch of the world-famous network opened to the public on Jan 10, 1863. -- PHOTO : AP

LONDON (AFP) - A 19th century steam train took passengers for a rare ride on the London Underground on Sunday to mark the 150th anniversary of the world's oldest metro system.

A red and black locomotive dating from 1898 and specially restored for the occasion ran between Kensington Olympia station in west London and Moorgate station in the financial district. It was pulling the oldest operational Tube carriage, which was built in 1892, a set of four carriages from 1898, and a vintage electric locomotive.

London mayor Boris Johnson, who was among the passengers, said: "It was just extraordinary. "We had steam coming in through the windows, huge thick clouds of white steam going past and then bits of soot coming through from the engine."

The last regular steam train service on the London Underground network - more than half of which is actually overground - ran in 1961. The London Underground opened on Jan 10, 1863 and a century and a half later the Tube runs for 402km, linking 270 stations and carries passengers on 1.1 billion journeys per year.