Upper Stratton train buff invited aboard as steam returns to London Underground

Swindon Advertiser: Howard Carey with his invitation to the special train journey in London Howard Carey with his invitation to the special train journey in London

TWO train enthusiasts will be going underground this weekend to celebrate a special anniversary.

Howard Carey, 84, of Upper Stratton, will join John Clements, secretary of the Shrivenham Heritage Society, as one of 150 VIP guests in London.

Tomorrow, London Transport will be marking the inaugural public passenger underground journey with a very special trip.

Howard and John will board the Metropolitan Locomotive No1. when it travels from Kensington Olympia to Moorgate, bringing steam back to the underground.

The pair have been invited because they have a special connection to one of the carriages that will be pulled on the day.

The Metropolitan Railway ‘Jubilee’ carriage No.353, built in 1892 and thought to be the world’s oldest, has been restored thanks to a £422,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Transport Museum Friends.

Howard was able to fill in the London Transport Museum about the history of the coach after his dad worked on it when it was sold to the Weston Clevedon and Portishead Railway in 1907.

Howard moved to Swindon with his father where he himself worked at the Great Western Railway.

In 1977, he was reunited with the coach after spotting it rested on timbers in a corner of a high-walled garden in Shrivenham, before it was preserved by London Transport.

Howard and John have both written a lot of history about the coach and are looking forward to seeing it restored to it’s former glories tomorrow.

Howard said: “The only reason that I can think as to why I have been selected as one of a handful of people is because I filled London Transport in on a lot of the history about the coach.They were shocked when I said that I had travelled in it many times, because a lot of the people who worked on it have passed away.

“For me it is a very big recognition and honour for information I have been able to pass on.

“I am elated to be chosen, it has very much come out of the blue, and I never dreamt that I would be invited to see it be used again.”

Following the Underground anniversary celebrations, the carriage will tour preserved railways in London and the South East and it is hoped that the carriage will appear at the Shrivenham Fete.

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