1938 Stock

1938 Stock just after completion
The two-car train, soon after completion in the mid-eighties. [Photo: A.A.]

The Prototype:

The 1938 stock design was a result of London Underground's need to provide modern and efficient trains to handle increasing passenger numbers. It was the first tube design to have most equipment mounted underneath the car, giving it a greater passenger capacity than the earlier 'Standard' stock.
Trains ran as 3 or 4 car sets, with two Driving-Motor cars at either end, with an unpowered trailer (and in four car sets, a non-driving motor car) in between. These sets were often coupled together to provide longer trains.
During their lifetime, the 1938 stock trains worked the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Northern, East London and Central lines. Although all were withdrawn from London Underground service by 1988, a number were transferred to the Isle of Wight and still operate services between Ryde and Shanklin.
A number of 1938 stock cars have also been preserved and London's Transport Museum maintains a 4-car set in working order.

1938 Stock Interior
Interior view of a 1938 car - as preserved at London's Transport Museum at Covent Garden, London. [Photo: A.A.]
1938 Stock Controls
The drivers' controls from a 1938 train, set up here (at the LT Museum) as a driving simulator! [Photo: A.A.]

The Model:

The 7" 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 early 2003, Fred offered to sell the two driving cars to his friend Adrian. Adrian had driven the tube many times and was eager to acquire it and get it operational again. However during April he discovered that the storage space he had earmarked for it would no longer be available and consequently he would no longer be able to buy the tube.

After hearing about these storage problems, Daniel, a good friend of Adrian's and a member of the club that operates his model railway, approached his parents to ask whether it would be possible to store the tube at their house in Farnham. To his delight they were more than happy about the idea, and a co-ownership deal was agreed between Daniel and Adrian.

Because of the extra storage available, it was agreed that Daniel and Adrian would also buy the third car of the tube train, the track used for portable events and the trailer used to transport it.

The train was given a major overhaul which saw it fitted with brand new wheels, axles, gears, motors, wiring and a new motor controller. In 2013 it 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!
The train is available to run on permanent miniature railways, and is usually seen at the Acton Miniature Railway. It can run as a two or three car set.

Work carried out on the train since overhaul::

  • Rebuilding the power bogies to give a better gear ratio and more reliable drive. Fitting the 'A' end (unpowered) driving car with motors. (2015: completely new bogies.)
  • Replacement of the axles and wheels, as the old ones were almost life expired.
  • Replacement of the old motor speed-controller with a 4QD model, and associated rewiring.
  • Some cosmetic work on the body, including repainting and repair or replacement of rotted sections. (2015: completely new bodies on 'A' and 'D' cars, and new older livery.)
  • Refitting new footboards and cushions.
  • More work during 2015 Overhaul:

  • Fitting working LED head and tail lamps and changeable destination blinds.
  • Fitting a whistle to both driving cars, driven by compressed air.
  • Future work:

  • Fitting continuous and parking brakes, probably compressed air.
  • 38 Stock control panel.   New hand-held controller.
    Left - The old control panel for the 1938 stock (shown while the body was removed). This has since been replaced with a hand-control unit.
    Right - The new hand-held control unit. on a lead (which makes it much more comfortable to use).
    [Photos: A. A.]

    Technical Details:

  • Cars: 3 - 'D' Car 11231 (powered), Centre Car 012314 (unpowered) and 'A' car 10231 (powered). The train can operate without the centre car if required.
  • Length: Each car is approximately 7ft long.
  • Height: Approx 1ft 5in from roof to rail top.
  • Power Supply: 4 x 12V, 110Ah leisure batteries, 2 in each end car.
  • Motors & Drive: 8 x axle-mounted 150W motors. Every axle of the two end cars has a motor driving it directly.
  • Speed Controller: 4QD 200A controller, with a custom hand control box.
  • Braking: Regenerative. Air braking to be considered.
  • Passenger Capacity: Up to 9 on the 2-car set, 12-13 on the 3-car set.
  • Maximum Speed: Approx 12mph.
  • Running time on one charge: A full day of intensive service with no loss of performance. Batteries can be recharged overnight for weekend events.
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