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Four Car, ex-Three Car Suburban Units

photograph: British Railways

N°4227 formerly N°1278 thankfully augmented with a matching trailer. Having been re-classified as a 4Sub N° 4227 it remained in service until 1954.

During 1934 the original Nutcrackers were lengthened and rebuilt onto standard steel under frames. Like all the three car suburban units they were increased in capacity in the late 1940s by the addition of an augmentation trailer, re-classified as 4Sub and renumbered in the 4xxx series.

Although efforts were made to match the augmentation trailer with the rest of the unit this didn't always work out in practice and a lot of making-do and mending was done after the war when the backlog of maintenance and war damage repairs often became critical.

Once the nucleus of electric stock had been established the Southern threw itself into the wholesale conversion of its suburban coaching stock into electric units. As each extension was made to the system stock was introduced which had been converted from that made redundant by the previous extension. The principle was to take whatever the existing configuration had been and rebuild it onto standard steel underframes with the long term view of retaining the underframe and eventually replacing the bodies.

The exception to this arrangement mainly concerned Ex-Brighton stock. The most modern coaches from the LBSCR were referred to as "Balloon Stock" because of their unusually large size. Unfortunately they exceeded the loading gauge of the erstwhile SECR and LSWR and despite their comparative youth they ended up in the scrap yard.

The stock converted from the ex-LBSCR CP and CW stock, moreover, was already mounted on steel underframes but these were non-standard in terms of the general policy.

This stock was converted to DC operation, formed into three car units, upgraded with heaters and communication cords and fitted with Southern style driving cabs in 1928 - 29. They were, however, easily distinguished by the segmental roof profile as opposed to the almost square section of the ex-LSWR and ex-SECR stock. The impression was that the roof line was lower than the others although in reality there was very little difference.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • 4134
    Clapham Jn
    Renumbered as unit N°4134 with what seems to be a matching augmentation trailer seen here at Clapham Junction on a Waterloo - Twickenham via Teddington special.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • 4537
    Clapham Jn
    Unit N°4537 seen here leaving Clapham Junction in January 1956 - not only with a new wide bodied Bulleid trailer but the second trailer doesn't seem to match either!.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • s4330
    Originally N°1500 a 1925 Eastern Division unit seen here augmented to a 4-Sub unit with a Bulleid trailer and renumbered S4330. Although the old LSWR alphabetic headcode system was intially used for all suburban routes S4330 is seen carrying a numeric headcode on a Cannon Street - Orpington service.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • 4576
    Unit N°4576, an example of one of the ex-LSWR units converted from steam stock between 1932 and 1937 Originally numbered in the 1579 - 99 series seen here at Wimbledon in January 1956 on a Holborn Viaduct to West Croydon via Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, Wimbledon, St Helier and Sutton service.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • 4173
    Unit N°4173 pauses on the down slow line at Norbury station on an unknown date. The second coach is very obviously the one added to the previously 3 car Suburban Set.
    Photograph by Mike Morant.
  • 4567
    Hither Green
    Ex-Brighton unit N°4567 at Hither Green in November 1955 on a Blackfriers to Orpington service.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • 4503
    Ex-Brighton unit N°4503 at Dartford in June 1959.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • 4506
    A lovely shot of ex-Brighton unit N° 4506 in what appears to be a newly out-shopped condition.
    Photograph: Glen Woods collection.
  • 4328
    Hither Green
    Unit N°4328 Augmented with a new Bulleid trailer at Hither Green in September 1955.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • 4324
    Tulse Hill
    Originally unit N°1309, a 1925 Western Division unit, seen here augmented to a 4-Sub unit and now N°4324 departing Tulse Hill.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • 4304
    Forest Hill
    Unit N°4304 Augmented with a new Bulleid trailer at Forest Hill with a Crystal Palace - Victoria service in September 1958.
    Photograph by John Wills.
  • 4308
    Unit N°4308, one of the 1925 South Western units, in the sidings at Micheldever following withdrawal, taken in July 1963. Note the roundness of the cabs which was distinctive of both these units, and the ex-L&SWR EMUs.
    Photograph: Chris Gammell/Mike Morant collection.
  • Two car Sub
    >In this view the remains of the original trailer and the additional Bulleid one have been removed, leaving just the two driving units.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 4338
    Unit N°4338, another of the converted South Eastern three Car Suburban Sets, also in the sidings at Micheldever following withdrawal.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • De-icing 014
    Lovers Walk
    Now as N°014, one of the 1925 South Eastern units, reduced to a two car unit and now in the Engineer's Department at Lovers Walk depot having been converted into a de-icing unit.
    Photograph: Transport of Delight.

This page was last updated 7 November 2020

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