The old Waterloo & City Line shut 25 years ago

Twenty-five years ago today the Waterloo & City Line – as London knew it closed for good. The old line or the ‘Drain’ as it was affectionately known to Londoners had reached the end of its days. Friday May 28th 1993, was a whole day of celebrations and countless numbers of well wishers who had come to see the old trains work their last services between Waterloo and Bank.

Notice announcing modernisation of the line

Waterloo station at 15.47pm on the 28th May 1993 (inset) and this morning at 08.15am (28 May 2018)
Ironically there will be no celebrations on the Waterloo & City Line or anywhere else, not even today, this 25th anniversary, absolutely no tweets (so far) either. Except this special post from A London Blog! And it is a special one – in that a bit of the old Waterloo and City line gets featured!

The old headcode panel at Bank this morning – first time in 25 years it had been back to this station!
To start this post off I therefore present a bit of the old Waterloo & City Line – this is the ‘A’ headcode panel that rode the very last train from Bank to Waterloo on 28th May 1993. At Waterloo, the last train was shunted up and down the platform to give everyone photo opportunities then the single motor coach, numbered 56 at the north end of the last train was demonstrated running on its own.

The headcode at practically the exact spot where it was given to me on 28th May 1993
The driver brought out the headcode and opted to give it to one of the many people standing on the platform (this was from the rear end of the motor coach or rather the front end as it was now standing on the platform without a train! The last train had in fact featured a ‘C’ headcode.) That person happened to be me! The event as I remember was recorded on film. The headcode panel has hung on the wall in my home ever since. For the first time in 25 years it went back to the Waterloo & City line for a brief photo session!
There was no cheating. I took the headcode panel to the Waterloo and City Line on the exact anniversary day in question 28th May 2018 – this morning in fact. I came home and included the pictures in this post before publishing it.

Waterloo station on the day the old services ended 25 years ago.
May 1993 was indeed the end of the old line. It became what was essentially a new tube line with new stock and LU’s fourth rail system. It shut for two months to allow full replacement of the trains and total conversion of the lines and signalling to take place. Prior to the 28th some of the work had been partially undertaken and evidence of LU’s fourth rail system could already be seen as well as cables for the new signalling system.

On 28 May we say goodbye to the City

Photographers at Bank
Toward the end of the 1980s the 1940 rolling stock fleet was giving increasingly difficult service. They were of similar vintage to the 1938 tube stock however their design was entirely different. Each train consisted of driving motor coaches (which could be driven on their own) and non-motor carriages. The styling, which was art deco, varied greatly among the various stock. The motor coaches had their own little passenger compartments, whilst the non-motor stock had seats at both ends raised above the bogies. They were most unusual and no other train of this sort has ever been seen elsewhere on the tube.

The lovely wooden trimming and partition on the old motorcoaches which created a sort of private compartment area

Bank station 15.57pm 28th May 1993

Train at Bank in the afternoon of 28th May 1993
The old trains were rather wobbly. They were fast trains and quite stable to be honest, giving a good ride, but that was on the straight sections of the line. But for some reason they swayed quite alarmingly through the curves en route and at times the swaying was so bad one would almost feel nauseated. That was perhaps the one problem with these lovely old trains.

Waterloo on the Friday afternoon – about six hours left before the services ended
The lovely smooth run at either end of the line would always become unsteady and the carriages swayed alarmingly as the trains hit the first sharp curve in either direction (the one at Blackfriars gets even sharper.) If one was not careful it was quite possible to be thrown off one’s seat. Not to worry there were plenty of grab rails up and down the carriages so anyone wishing to hold on and steady themselves could do so.

Interior of one of the non-motor coaches
The wobbly see-saw nature of the old trains was far worse on the section running under the eastern end of Stamford Street as the line tries to follow its sinuous course below Upper Ground, Hatfields and Stamford Street. The severe reverse curves along here could ensure one was feeling a bit, well…. not quite right! In some ways this was a draw of the old trains, that roller coaster sensation that took unsuspecting travellers by surprise – nowhere else on any other railway in the world (besides an amusement park) did one get the sensation that could be found on the Waterloo and City Line.

Driver’s cab

The decision was taken to change the look of the Waterloo and City Line came about because of the construction of the 1992 stock for the Central Line. It was decided to extend the construction of these trains to allow for an allocation to the Waterloo and City. The work meant the fourth rail system had to be installed and a new aluminum centre current rail was provided.

Aluminum central contact rail already in place at Waterloo on 28th May 1993
Although some of the work had been done prior to closure (as my pictures show there was indeed aluminum centre fourth rail in place within Waterloo station) the closure was necessary to be able to do this work in the tunnels as well as new cabling for a new signalling system etc. (The original steel positive rails were eventually replaced in 2008 with aluminum rails.) Ultimately the 1993 upgrade meant the line was controlled entirely from Waterloo – the old system had a signal cabin at Bank that was used only during rush hours.

Signal cabin at Bank
The new stock was initially known as Class 482. When LU took over the Waterloo and City in 1994 this designation was dropped as they were essentially 1992 stock. For the record the old trains had been known as Class 487.

Guys wearing gas masks (commemorating the fact the trains had been introduced on the line during wartime)

The very last old Waterloo & City Line service – no headcode yet! Note aluminum centre rail and new cabling
The last train left Waterloo at 20.29pm and Bank at 20.36pm. Despite clebrations throughout the day the final run was somewhat muted although it is said the driver had the whistle on full blast as the train departed Bank.

Readying for the final journey to Bank – complete with ‘C’ headcode
On the return the platform at Waterloo was pretty crowded it wasnt really possible to take any good pictures, everyone was shuffling about trying to find positions to take their final pictures of the old W & C line.
After 28 May 1993, the services on the Waterloo and City were replaced by a temporary bus service. The line reopened two months later on 19 July 1993 with the new Class 482 stock. These had been delivered to the Waterloo and City Line on the bank holiday weekend of 29-31st May 1993. At the same time the old stock was taken away. The transfer of the trains took place via crane lift at the access point which is sited directly above the Waterloo & City’s sidings in Spur Road. Since the closure of the Armstrong lift this location is the one and only means by which trains can be removed from – or delivered to – the Waterloo and City Line.

Copyright © All right reserved.