History of the Little Red Train

Little Red Train

The Little Red Train (or LRT for short) is a passenger-carrying model of a London Underground 1938 Tube Stock train. These trains operated on London Underground for nearly 50 years, and on the Isle of Wight until the end of 2020.

Newly constructed LRT
The two-car train, soon after completion in the mid-eighties. [Photo: A.A.]

The 7¼” gauge 1938 stock was built by Fred Blois and first ran in 1987. Between then and 1995 it attended 136 events and carried over 46,000 passengers, as well as paying visits to permanent miniature railways.
After its last run in 1996, it was put into long-term storage at a motor museum in Sussex.

In 2003, the train, along with associated portable track and trailer, was sold to Daniel & his friend Adrian, who set about overhauling it for a return to service with brand new wheels, axles, gears, motors, wiring and a new motor controller.

Over the next few years, the train and portable track attended events all across the south of England, including:

  • School, village and church fetes
  • Full sized preserved railways
  • London Underground depot open days
  • Street parties
  • .. even an open day at a cemetery!

The train also visited a number of permanent miniature railways, including the Great Cockcrow Railway in Chertsey, the Spinney Light Railway in Farnham, and the East Herts Miniature Railway in Ware

In 2005 the LRT was invited to the opening of the newly constructed Acton Miniature Railway (AMR) at the London Transport Museum Depot.
Being very suited to the line, it was a regular visitor to the railway’s running days, and many of the LRT volunteers also became volunteers on the AMR.

in 2010 we ceased operating portable track events (due to the ever increasing time and cost commitments) and the LRT became permanently based at the AMR, with occasional visits to other permanent railways, and the portable track was sold.

In 2013 the LRT was taken out of service to receive a major refurbishment, and re-entered service (as a 2-car set) in April 2015 almost as a new train, with completely new bodies and bogies. LED head/tail lamps and compressed-air whistles were also added.

With the closure of the AMR at the end of 2017, Adrian sold his share of the LRT to Daniel and Andrea and the train was relocated to its new permanent home at the Phoenix Hill Railway.

Although we haven’t ruled out future visits to other miniature railways, transport and other constraints mean that this is unlikely any time soon.