In Video: the Waterloo & City 1940 Stock


For those who have yet to encounter it, the SouthernRailwayFilms channel on Youtube has a veritable treasure-trove of videos related to the history of the old Southern Railway Company.

The Waterloo & City line was, of course, not technically part of the London Underground for some time. Originally constructed for the London & South Western to connect Waterloo to the City across the river, it was taken over by Southern in 1923 and did not officially become part of the Underground until privitisation in the 1990s.

For a long time, it had a single connection to the mainline railway – an Armstrong Lift located next to the main Waterloo terminus where the old Eurostar terminal is now. The first video below shows this lift in action, with it being used as part of the process to remove the old 1898 Jackson and Sharp wooden rolling stock and replace it with the new 1940 stock built by English Electric (Class 487s to their friends).

Ultimately, the 487s would have an impressively long life. They would remain in service until 1992, when the line would receive the current 1992 stock. The second video, below, shows the 487s and the Armstrong Lift towards the end of both their service lives.

The sight of an Underground train in British Rail colours will certainly seem strange to anyone born after about 1985, but helps demonstrate that London Transport (and its governance) has always been an ever-changing beast. Indeed its tempting to wonder what comes next – perhaps future generations will find the idea of London suburban services in non-Overground colours equally bizarre.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.