This week-end sees one of the occasional Open Weekends at the Museum Depot of the London Transport Museum at Acton, West London. Perfect for a family afternoon out (or a whole day, if you are really keen), the theme for this week-end is "London's transport in miniature", with collections of working model layouts and rides on the Museum's miniature railway.
The Depot itself houses a substantial part of the museum's collections, which are not on display in the main Museum in Covent Garden. Among the 370,000 items kept here are the original works of art used for the poster collections, vehicles, signs, models, photographs, engineering drawings and uniforms. Although the Depot's main purpose is to act as a working museum store, it opens to the public for special events, such as this week-end.
The miniature theme will include working model layouts of twentieth century London transport, put together by both amateur and professional modellers. Varying in size and scale, scenes are depicted right down to the finest detail and cover all modes of London travel from Underground trains and trams to cycling and walking. Other attractions include unique vehicles, station models, posters and artworks, ticket machines and stalls selling transport related merchandise.
The week-end will include a special visit by Sarah Siddons, the last operational Metropolitan Railway electric locomotive. Built in 1921, No. 12 'Sarah Siddons' is the only surviving member of the twenty locomotives built by Metropolitan Vickers and named after real or fictitious people associated with the area served by the Metropolitan Railway. 'Sarah' survived by being retained for shunting, brake block testing, and latterly for special passenger trains, when most of the other locomotives were retired.
One of the favourites with children is the London Transport Museum's outdoor miniature railway, which is over 100 metres long and provides rides for children. The trains include models of the Sarah Siddons and a scale model of the 1938 Tube stock called 'the Little Red Train'.
Tickets are valid both days, and can be bought in advance by phoning 020 7565 7298.