"As one of the lucky individuals to be on the 38TS run on Tuesday, I thought I would share my experience with you all.
The main reason for the run was to ferry a bunch of kids from Acton High School to Covent Garden and back so that they could have a tour round the LT Museum. The rest of us were invited as volunteers and staff of the museum.
We were all waiting on platform 4 at Acton Town and as the train appeared at the top of the gradient at Ealing Common Depot all (me included!) got very excited…a bit like when somebody famous appears. As the train pulled into the platform it seemed so much smaller than the current Picc. Line stock, and it was nice to hear the station staff making PAs to the effect that only "special" ticket holders were to board the train.
We traveled on the fast line to Hammersmith and the train had a lovely bouncing movement, which (coupled with the lovely squishy seats) made for a very voluptuous ride, despite the badly maintained track…unlike my return trip later on the 73TS which felt like we were traveling over a cobbled street, sitting on sacks full of turnips!
There were some very surprised looks on the punters' faces as we passed through stations, although quite a number of people of a certain age smiled in appreciation of something from their past…possibly remembering the days of nice comfy trains. Btw…this was the first time that this train had been through the pipe since it was withdrawn from service (and I gather that LUL were not happy about it running in tunnel sections) so all credit to the museum for sticking their necks out!
We chucked the kids off at Covent Garden and had the train to ourselves up to Oakwood. Needless to say, "J" doors were open so that we all got a good look into both front and rear cabs in both directions. The DMIs on the platforms had various descriptions on the way north…"Hyde Park Corner" from Acton Town; "Special" from HPC to King's Cross, and "Cockfosters" for the rest of the journey…no wonder the punters were confused!!
As we passed through Arnos Grove I saw Tube Troll with his "box Brownie" on the platform. He was oblivious to my "Queen Mother" wave!!
As we approached Oakwood I discovered that those people with LUL track/OPT licences could stay on the train into Cockfosters depot, and 99% of my fellow volunteers were a bit miffed when they had to get off to visit the fleshpots of Oakwood, while we had the joys of machine coffee in Cockfosters canteen. Canteen? I remember years ago when Cockfosters depot had a proper canteen with real people serving real food. Now it's three vending machines and a microwave!!!!!
On the way back we picked up the museum gang at Oakwood and set off back to pick up the sprogs at Covent Garden. When we got back to Acton Town I found out that those of us with licences could stay on for the run to Ealing Broadway and then back to the museum Depot via Ealing common Depot. Unfortunately, even though the DDM had requested that we be routed via "A" road round the back of Ealing Common, the Old Man at Earl's Court routed us into one of the sidings…where we sat for over an hour while he got the evening peak together! Eventually, after a nifty bit of shunting, we got on to "A" road and then made a run for the museum Depot (which doesn't have juice rails) and glided into the Depot.
Congratulations to the two drivers (I don't know their names) who drove the train faultlessly and to the staff of the LT Museum who had the courage to stick two fingers up at LUL by taking the train through the pipe. Let's hope for more trips soon!"