A Brief History

The London Underground was the first Underground Railway in the world and started as the Metropolitan Railway in 1863.  By 1884, working with the District Railway, the Circle line was completed. By 1907 much of the system had been  electrified. Other schemes were developed by a number of different Companies in much the same way as the land based Railways had been built. By 1933 much of the present system had been completed and at this time all of the Underground Railway Companies and London based Tram and Bus Companies were merged into the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB). In 1948 LPTB was nationalised along with the big four Railway Companies. In 2003 control for running services passed to Transport For London with various other Companies maintaining the infrastructure. By 2010 this system had failed and TFL took full responsibility for running London's transport system.

This sign was introduced on most Underground Stations in Central London by the early 20th Century.

This area of Collecting is becoming increasingly popular now having its own Specialist Auction run by an enthusiast that covers all London Transport items both for buses and trains. The Company name is Transport Auctions of London.
The most frequently  seen Railwayana items are enamel signs from Underground Stations that were taken down during refurbishment, with many being sold off in auction in the early 1990ís. There is also a flourishing market in Paperwork items such as Maps (as above) and timetables with early items fetching four figure sums.

The most sort after items are the enamel targets within a brass surround that were mounted on the Station walls along the length of the platform on both sides of the tunnel.  These came in a variety of sizes with the most popular being the smaller ones as they are easier to display. These again now tend to sell for four figures particularly the earlier ones where the enamel was made in one piece. However there are plenty of other items to collect if your budget is more modest and I think this is an area of collecting that will continue to increase in popularity as the names involved are areas of London and so are well known throughout the world.


The only readily available items from the trains themselves are small enamel plates giving a coach number and steel double sided plates with brass ends that were placed on the front of trains to show which line they were on, or what was the trains final destination.


Further information about London Underground can be accessed by clicking the links below