Heritage electric train offered permanent home at Margate One:One railway and transport collection

4Sub 4732 Photo by Tim Saunders.

By John Horton

An electric commuter train (EMU) has been offered a permanent home at the One:One railway and transport collection housed at the Locomotive Storage Limited depot in Margate.

The 4 SUB 4732 first arrived at the depot – alongside the Hornby site – in 2018 on a temporary basis after needing to leave formerly at The Coventry Electric Museum but will now be housed permanently on the proviso that the unit undergoes a full cosmetic restoration to  display standard.

The unit was built at Eastleigh Works in June 1951. The unit is made up of four cars, with a driving cab at each end, and could work in multiple with other units of the same class.

Never intended to be anything more than work-a-day, high density suburban units, the 227 4-SUBS were replacements for stock dating back to the First World War.

Photo John Horton

Unloved by many commuters, the compartment vehicles were, nevertheless, the first to provide six-aside seating. The slam door style was already obsolete in Europe, but was perpetuated in BR stock into the 1970s.

Apart from specials, and seaside working, the 4 SUBS strayed little from domestic work on routes out of London termini during their careers. The livery was originally green and later BR Blue. Withdrawals started in 1972 and speeded up in 1976. Many were converted into departmental stock, such as two car De-Icers and Stores Carriers.

Sub 4732 had many lucky escapes from the scrap man. It was involved in a collision at Wimbledon Park in November 1974 and was reformed due to accident damage. A replacement coach added in place of the damaged vehicle. It was  the last of the SUBS to retain a compartment vehicle and was repainted into SR green in 1982 with full yellow ends.

Photo John Horton

It was withdrawn from service in 1983 but was then re-instated for use on the Waterloo Suburban services and was noted on such duties. Following the last service runs of the stock in September 1983, it was retained in BR ownership for Rail tour use and featured at many BR open days.

In 1987 4732 was used as a shuttle service between Margate and Ramsgate for the Margate Gala Day, sponsored by Network South East. It was manned by a Ramsgate crew, including drivers Jim Twyman and John Julian.

Christopher Hurst, sales officer for the 4 SUB Association, said: “ This is simply too good an offer to turn down. From being stored in a field on the outskirts of Coventry in all weathers to being on display  alongside an A4, Deltic, Eurostar and other iconic trains in an all-weather facility is a far more appropriate retirement for the very  last of the 4-SUB units, and the Heritage Electric Trains Trust is very grateful for this chance.

Photo John Horton

“We will be launching an appeal to start the work very soon. Driving Motor Brake 12796 is now designated ‘Car One’ and will be the first  vehicle to go off site for the body overhaul, under frame cleaning and  full repaint before returning to Margate.

“We will be aiming for June  2022 as completion date for Car 1 with the other three to follow in sequence with the whole unit treated by Summer 2024.
“We will need support, full details of how to be a supporter will  be published on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/4SUBunit


  1. Yes, good news, that this unit is being looked after.
    I am not sure having ridden in them, that I would swap them for the Networker sets which replaced them, or the outer suburban 375’s, apart from the seats and the luggage racks, which are abominable in modern rolling stock.
    What I would really like to see in a museum is the third rail DC electrification system, which is way overdue for replacement.
    Why in the 21st century are we still using equipment that owes its origins to the late Victorian era?
    Has the Department for Transport not heard of Nikola Tesla and all his works?

  2. Excellent news. The new One:One rail museum combined with the Hornby visitor centre should prove a real draw to the area for tourists. And crucially, these are exactly the sorts of attractions that can be visited year round, not just in summer. We should be supporting this and other similar projects as much as we can. Would be worth tidying up that part of Westwood Cross, planting a few trees etc.?

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