Another train has arrived at the Locomotive Storage Ltd site in Margate.
The only surviving 4732 designated 4-SUB ( Sub standing for Suburban) arrived at the former Hornby factory site today (June 7) and joins the classic Gresley Class A4 Pacific locomotive, Bittern, the Mersey Rail Class 503 Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) and one coach from a preserved 4 EPB unit 5176 in BR blue, which also arrived today.
The SUB vehicles spent their entire careers working on all three of the Southern Region, Eastern, Central and Western divisions exclusively on suburban duties, being based at Slade Green, Oprington, Selhurst, WImbledon and Strawberry Hill.
Originally constructed as three car units, many soon were given an additional coach and classified as 4 Car SUBS. The Southern Region appointed Oliver Bulleid as their chief mechanical engineer, who is famous for the design of the Merchant Navy, Battle of Britain and West Country Locomotives of the SR. Whilst steam traction was still going strong, SR announced the introduction of a new electric multiple unit made using welded steel, with curved sides, which would be unique to the SR,
Bulleid’s design was used exclusively in their construction. In 1951 the design was encompassed to the then-new 2 and 4 car EPBs (Electro Pnuematic Brake system). Bulleid’s designed units were easily recognisable by the lack of a rain strip from the roof to the coach sides, rendering a downpour through open windows in a storm. The door handles incorporated cast brass, with a tube-like look, the later SR design was steel and rounded.
4732 spent its life working out of London Waterloo on the LSWR – London and South Western Railway Division, repainted into SR Green with sunshine yellow lettering, it was a celebrity and yet used on a daily basis on peak and off peak services.
Upon its withdrawal it was sent to the old Hither Green Continental Sidings with other class members in around 1981 – they were eagerly disposed of at a private contractor’s scrap yard at Snailwell.
4732 was fortunate, she was reprieved and kept in operational condition for specials. One of her last visits to Thanet was in September 1987 where she was used as a shuttle service between Ramsgate and Margate.
She was based at Lovers Walk Depot, Brighton, along with a preserved 2- BIL Unit. With the demolition of the old Pullman Car sheds at Brighton, 4732 was moved to Long Marston in 1995, She was privately purchased for preservation in April 1999, costing £5785, by the Suburban Electric Railway Association (SERA).
Another move to the Coventry Electric Museum took place where she has languished exposed to the elements for some time.
4732 has been exposed to the elements for some time, and last October the Coventry Electric Museum was closed – hence new homes have been sourced for many vehicles, including in Margate.
The SUBS were withdrawn from service in 1983:
The SR and BR (S) continued to build and rebuild 4-car units to slightly different designs which became part of the 4-Sub Class. Many of these later examples survived in passenger use until late 1983.
By this time they were allocated class number 405……..therefore Class 405 unit 4732 is made of the following vehicles: 4732 = 12795 12354 10239 12796 and was constructed in 1951 at Eastleigh.
Locomotive Storage operates a storage and maintenance business for classic railway locomotives and heritage rolling stock.
Its main depot facility is in Crewe but the company also bought the former Hornby site at Westwood in February 2017.
The main warehouse has been converted with seven railway tracks laid in the warehouse and access loading docks to facilitate the unloading and loading of locomotives and carriages. It is expected that up to 30 items of rolling stock will be housed there for eventual public display.
Report with thanks to John Horton