Unknown Domain

London Transport Museum Depot – Open Day

Every year that goes past it becomes harder and harder to think of gift ideas for my parents birthdays, it just so happened that the day after his birthday was the London Transport Museum Depot open day. We met early near the entrance to the depot and were able a quiet morning viewing.

As we walked in we noticed several control panels that had been saved from some kind of electrical control station, waiting to be moved and categorised, on one such panel was a label detailing the power ratings, a jaw dropping 2,000–33,000 amps! At any voltage that is an epic amount of power, but based on the normal voltage of trains (660V) that could be as much as 22 mega watts of power, who knows if this is right but either way that is simply unimaginable power (muwhahaha!).

The depot is literally a treasure trove of interesting objects from London’s history. There were several entire platform booths, previously hosting small businesses selling sweets, drinks and newspapers. I found it amazing how much work went into the simple construction of some of the historical parts of London Transport, the booth was a beautiful wooden installation, while some of the older carriages were almost like human sized antiques.

We had a really fantastic day out, and I know my dad really enjoyed it too! Among the vast number of signs we managed to find a West Ham sign, which most certainly made him very happy as a fan of the team, I would recommend going along for a visit to anyone, it isn’t great for those who aren’t so mobile and there are no labels on any of the exhibits but it was a great day out and we really enjoyed it!

Interestingly there was a couple of chaps from the ‘friends of the museum’ group who were demoing their signal mans booth simulator which resurrected a old fashioned signal booth from Marble Arch and accurately simulated traffic which responds in real time to the signals from the old booth. While I didn’t snap any images of the original control panel, I did manage to get a sneak peek inside the simulator which was a mass of relays driven by a computer, quite amazing really!