Last Metropolitan Line steam driver dies at age of 96

By Phil Marsh

HARRY Robinson, thought to have been the oldest surviving member of London Underground’s Metropolitan Line’s steam crew, has died aged 96.

He joined the Met as a cleaner at Neasden in April 1938 and drove several notable anniversary trains in his long career.

Harry Robinson (far left) on the front of the last Chesham steam train with town mayor, fireman Jim Skerritt and passengers. PHIL MARSH COLLECTION

The return to steam at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre of Metropolitan E Class 0-4-4T No. 1 in late 2002, prompted his family to contact the author to see if would be possible for Harry to be ‘reunited with his engine’.

The arrangements were made and Harry had an eventful visit at Quainton Road, being collected in a 1956 split screen Morris Minor from his home close to Bletchley station.

His door flew open at the first roundabout and it was fortunate Harry was wearing his seatbelt or he may not have survived to be reunited with Met No.1!

He had been booked to ceremoniously launch the 2004 Steam on The Met services celebrating the centenary of the Uxbridge branch, but for various political reasons, the trains did not operate.

Harry Robinson stands next to Metropolitan Railway E class 0-4-4T No. 1 at Quainton Road on April 14, 2004. PHIL MARSH

However, he did ride on Met No. 1, even managing to fire a few rounds to celebrate his 83rd birthday, with the author driving for the afternoon visit.

His railway career lasted 48 years and included driving the Uxbridge branch’s 50th anniversary train in June 1954 and the last steam service on the Chesham branch in December 1962 and ending up as shed foreman at Neasden when he retired in 1986.

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