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L11 - A Unique Electric Locomotive
In the early years of London's Underground rolling stock overhaul was carried out at individual depots. However after the First World War it was decided to concentrate car overhaul at a single location. Opened in 1923 Acton Works occupied a 50 acre site just to the south of Acton Town station on the District and Piccadilly lines.
An electric shunting locomotive was built for the works by cutting two cars of Hampstead stock in half and joining the driving/motor ends back-to-back. The resulting double ended loco was numbered L10. This locomotive survived until 1978.
In 1964 a replacement locomotive was constructed by the same method, this time from 2 cars of Standard Stock, 3080 and 3109 and numbered L11. Air reservoirs and brake valves were removed from the underframe and placed in the former passenger compartment. The four traction motors were retained. The Acton 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.
From 1974 shunting at Acton was also carried out by L13A/B, a pair of 1938 TS DMs.
In the late 1980s train overhaul once again became the responsibility of the depots. The declining workload at Acton meant that the locomotive was no longer required. We have been unable to establish the date that the locomotive was last used. However, L11 was transferred to Ruislip depot on 22 June 1989. It returned to Acton for storage in 1991 joining and was officially transferred to the LU Heritage Fleet in 1993.
The Preservation Plan
During the 1990s other vehicles in the heritage fleet were also stored at Acton, including some of the Standard Stock cars that returned from the Isle of Wight in 1990. A number of pilot motors and personnel carriers withdrawn from service stock were also earmarked for the heritage fleet. However by 2002 the future of these vehicles was uncertain; the space they occuppied was required for other uses while their condition continued to deteriorate.
In the summer of 2002 L11 was inspected by a group of CHTL members. Despite time spent in the open air and some graffiti the condition of L11 was generally good. Following discussion by members at the 2002 AGM it was agreed that CHTL would seek to place L11 on static display adjacent to Epping Signal Cabin.
Following several months of discussions and preparation of the site it was possible to confirm a loan agreement with London Underground in March 2004 and begin making arrangements to move the loco.
The night of 14th/15th April was selected for the move with departure expected around 2130. Engineering Services were chosen as haulier having vast experience of this type of work. The assistance of the Emergency Response Unit had been secured in case of difficulties moving the locomovtive - it had not moved for many years and the wheels and breaks were locked solid.
The event was recorded by a film crew from Mosaic Films and featured in an episode of Carlton TV's dccumentary series 'The Tube' broadcast in August/September 2004. Photographs of the move are kindly provided by Donald McGarr.
Once loaded L11 departed from Acton Works at 2210 and arrived at Epping at 0059. Once the fence had been removed and the tractor disengaged temporary track was laid L11 could be unloaded, finally reaching it's new home just after 3am.
Work on restoring L11 has begun. The locomotive will be painted in the maroon livery carried by service stock in the 1960s.
There have been many without whose help the preservation of L11 would not have been possible
Thanks also to Bob and Donald for providing the information and photographs used on this page.
Home News 1960 Stock Aldwych Branch Photos
High Barnet Shuttles
East London Explorer
1962 Stock Signal Cabin History Preserved
Central Line Track Replacement
Aldwych 2003 Wood Lane 2003
Isle of Wight 2003 More
For more information on CHTL contact Bob Yeldham - email@example.com
For comments, questions and contributions to the website contact admin@cravensheritagetrains
Our three-car unit of 1960 Stock operated on the Central Line until
withdrawl in 1994. Since 1995 we have operated regular railtours on the Underground
Aldwych Branch Photos...
High Barnet Shuttles...
East London Explorer..
Our second train also operated on the Central Line for 30 years and is now being restored at Hainault depot. More...
Epping Signal Cabin
Epping Signal Cabin became redundant in 1996 when re-signalling of the Central Line was completed. Since 2001 CHTL has leased the Signal Cabin - we hope to restore the frame and open a small museum.More...
The eastern branches of the Central Line started life as part of the Eastern Counties Railway More...
More Preserved Tube Stock
Many other items of underground rolling stock have been preserved. More...
Central Line Track Replacement
Wood Lane 2003
Isle of Wight 2003
The Holden F5 Trust
Re-building a lost steam locomotive... More...
Low Hall Steam and Transport Museum in Walthamstow commemorates the industrial heritage of the Lea Valley. For more information visit the Pump House