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.
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