New Cars for the Bakerloo Line (1920)

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Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 56, No. 1 · July 3, 1920 · pp. 4-7.



New Cars for the "Bakerloo" Line. The First Train for Joint Operation Over the Lines of the London (England) Electric and London & Northwestern Railways Has Been Placed in Service.

The first train has now been delivered on the joint order of the London & Northwestern Railway and the London Electric Railway, out of a total of ten multiple-unit trains of this type ordered in 1914. Each train will consist of six cars and will be made up of three motors cars and three trailers. The section of these new cars is made to conform to the dimensions of the "tube" of the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway, as they will operate through this tunnel as well as out into the country over the surface tracks of the London & Northwestern Railway.

The Baker Street & Waterloo Railway belongs to the London Electric Railway and, for brevity, is commonly referred to as the "Bakerloo." This is an underground tunnel line some 6 miles long running from the Elephant and Castle in South London to a junction with the London & Northwestern Railway at Queen's Park, Willesden, in the northwest of London. Some little distance before reaching the tracks of the London & Northwestern Railway the tube line comes to the surface. This extension and the making of a physical connection with the London & Northwestern line were completed two or three years ago, when the newly electrified tracks of the Northwestern company were finished. The electrified tracks of this latter company run out into the country as far as Watford, and the distance which the through electric trains will run from the Elephant and Castle to Watford is twenty-one miles. Direct current at 600 volts, with third and fourth-rail conductors, is employed. When these new cars were ordered in 1914 it was realized that additional rolling stock would be necessary in order to meet the growing requirements, but owing to delay caused by the war these cars are only now being delivered.

The new cars are being built by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Company, Ltd., of Birmingham, and are entirely of steel. Both motor cars and trailers are painted with the standard London & Northwestern colors, brown and white. In the interior the steel panels are painted cream color and the roof is of white asbestos millboard. Following are some of the dimensions:

Length over all50 ft. 10 in.
Width over body8 ft. 8 in.
Total height from rail9 ft. 5-1/2 In.
Distance center to center of trucks34 ft.
Wheelbase, motor truck7 ft.
Wheelbase, trailer truck6 ft.
Diameter of motor driving wheels42 in.
Diameter of trailer wheels32 in.
Weight of six-car trains without passenger loads161 tons

Each motor car seats thirty-six passengers and each trailer car forty-eight, which gives a seating accommodation of 252 passengers per train of three motor cars and three trailers. Ample floor space is also provided so that a large number of standing passengers can be carried when necessary. A combination of cross seats and longitudinal seats is used. The seats are very roomy and are upholstered in red and black.

As will be noted from the interior view of the car, no straps are provided for the accommodation of standing passengers. Near each end of the car two vertical rods run from the floor to the ceiling, one on each side of the door space. These give a hold for passengers standing near the vestibule. The cross seats, which are located a little farther along, are provided with grab handles at the aisle corners. At the center of the car there are short partitions on each side of the center doors and these are fitted with vertical rods, which passengers can grasp. It is believed that this arrangement will be much more comfortable for standing passengers than the strap-hanging arrangement previously used. The provision of hat or light-luggage racks is a novelty in tube car construction.


The subject of doors, which is always of importance, presents peculiar difficulties in the case of these cars. Owing to the shape of the upper part of the car body, which is necessary for clearance with the circular tunnel, it is impossible to have sliding doors unless they are placed inside at such distance as to leave a wide outside step. This would be a source of danger. It is necessary that the cars be constructed with no projections which might give a foothold for passengers, as they might get on this ledge while the train was standing at a station platform and as soon as the train started they would be instantly killed by striking the sides of the small tunnel, which begins immediately at the end of the station platform. For this reason previous tube rolling-stock, with one exception, has not been provided with center doors, and all loading and unloading of passengers has had to be done through the doors at the ends of the car. To expedite entrance and exit of passengers and cut down the length of stops the center-door arrangement adopted for these cars was devised for the original Bakerloo and Watford cars and it has been followed with improvements in this new rolling-stock.

The shape of the car and the type of construction followed thus make it necessary for the doors to be hinged and they are hung to open inward. The end doors, which open onto a vestibuled platform, are worked by a gateman. The center doors cannot be opened unless the end doors are open, and when the latter are closed the center door is shut and locked. Thus the center door is completely under the control of the gateman. It is closed automatically by means of a spring under the car floor, but it is not locked until the end doors are closed. A signal lighting arrangement notifies the gateman when all doors are properly closed. Embodied in the pedestal which holds the mechanism for operating the end doors is a switch which controls the circuit governing the electric lock of the middle door. In this way when the gateman opens the end door he automatically unlocks the center door, and this fact is made plain by the lighting of a red lamp in the pedestal supporting the end-door mechanism. When the end door is again shut it closes the circuit which locks the middle door and a green lamp in the pedestal is illuminated. Should the end door be shut and the center door for any reason be not properly fastened the lamp in the pedestal will continue to show red until the door is properly locked.


An additional problem in connection with the operation of through trains was brought about by the dif ferent heights of station platforms. The platforms of the tube railway stations are much lower than those of the London & Northwestern Railway stations. In the cars which have hitherto been in this service a ramp was provided on the platform of the cars. This new rolling-stock, however, has been built with the floors 5 in. higher than the old cars, so that the new floor level is a compromise between the height of the two classes of station platforms. The result is that a passenger entering a car from a Bakerloo platform has to take a small step up, while passengers from a London & Northwestern platform have to step down. This raising of the car floor has permitted the use of 42-in. driving wheels instead of 36-in. wheels, as were used on previous types of equipment.

Each motor car is equipped with two British Thomson-Houston motors of 240-hp. capacity each, a total of 1,440 hp. for a six-car train. The gearing provides for free running speeds of from 40 to 45 m.p.h. The trucks are built of steel plates and angles.

The particular type of Thomson-Houston multiple-unit control employed has not been used before in England except on some of the existing cars running on the Watford line. It is of the relay automatic type. In starting, the handle of the master controller is placed in either the full series or full parallel position and the contactors automatically notch up in their correct sequence to this position. A current-limit relay provides the notching arrangement and this operates whenever the motor current drops to a predetermined value. There is no bus line throughout the train, so that each motor car has a potential relay to drop off the contactors whenever the power circuit is opened. Westinghouse air-brakes with quick-action triple valves are used and the truck brakes are of the clasp type.


Special care has been given to the lighting and ventilating systems. The illumination for each trailer car is provided by nine opal-bowl ceiling lamps and eight small auxiliary lamps located along the sides between the windows. The motor cars have but six of each type of these lamps, as the total area to be lighted is smaller due to the space taken up by the motorman's compartment. A very satisfying light is thus provided which is both strong and diffused. The diffusion is increased by the reflection from the white roof and the cream-colored sides. Emergency lighting is also provided. Current for this is obtained from a small storage battery, which is automatically switched on should the main current fail. Ventilation is provided by the top sections of the windows opening inward on hinges and by a perforated air duct which runs the length of the car.

A further comfort which is not usual in tube railway rolling-stock in England is the use of electric heaters. The temperature of these tunnels even in cold winter weather is never very low, so that it has not been the practice to heat cars used in this service. These cars, however, will be required to make part of their journey in a warm tunnel and the remainder of it in the open country. This change of temperature during frosty weather is irritating to passengers. Electric heaters have therefore been placed under each seat and these can be switched on by the trainmen when the trains are in the open and turned off again, if desired, when they enter the tunnel.



Electric Railway Journal, McGraw Hill Company, Digitized by Microsoft, Americana Collection, archive.org.

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