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.
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.
It was withdrawn from service in 1983 but was then re-instated for use on the Waterloo Suburban services and was noted on such duties.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.
“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 “