LNER Quad-Art Set
Moving commuters in and out of London has long been a problem for the railway companies. On the Great Northern suburban route out of London this was exacerbated by short platforms and steep gradients on the Metropolitan Widened Lines to Moorgate. To overcome these problems required the use of some unusual railway technology.
The answer was articulation. Nigel Gresley, the newly appointed GNR Carriage and Wagon Superintendent (and later LNER Cheif Mechanical Engineer) decided to experiment with carriage articulation where a 4-wheel bogie supported a common twin-coupler between two coach underframes. At the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, Gresley had two key elements of his hallmark carriages – successful articulation and ground breaking coach bogies, following research that eventually led to the ‘Gresley’ bogie.
With a seating capacity of over 600 in an overall length of some 350 feet, the pairs of sets were ideally suited to the limited space available at Moorgate. The minimised weight, in spite of the relatively heavy bogies, and the reduced rolling resistance assisted in rapid acceleration, especially when hauled by the GNR’s powerful N1, and latter N2, locomotives.
The interiors were basic – plain unbuttoned moquette on very thin bench seat backs and bases. The side and door panelling was oak matchboard. The bulkhead partitions had mahogany panelling below cornice level with three picture frames and wired luggage racks.
The Quad Arts continued in service until the mid-1950s by which time they were in maroon livery.
The last Quad Sets were finally withdrawn from GN services on 1st April 1966 having been retained to cover as spares for BR Mk1 sets. These sets 67, 79 and 90 were transferred to Sheffield and worked local summer specials until their final withdrawal in September 1966.
Our set, no. 74, withdrawn early in 1966, was sent to A. King and Sons at Wymondham in Norfolk for scrapping. It was initially stored on the former Wymondham East Junction – Forncett line at Ashwelthorpe, which by this time had been reduced to a single line siding running from Ashwelthorpe to a ground frame at Wymondham. After being transferred to an embryonic Sheringham, along with several other items of rolling stock, the Quad set formed the backbone of early North Norfolk Railway passenger services. It was used until 1979, but the poor condition of the many doors forced its withdrawal.
In 2001 a comprehensive survey was undertaken which estimated the cost of restoration to be £500,000. After a generous benefactor offered £50,000 if it could be matched, fundraising began to restore set no.74. Following an appeal and articles in the railway press, the Heritage Lottery Fund put forward a match funded grant of £341,000 with representatives from the NRM acting as project monitors. This was in addition to the £308,000 granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the construction of Bridge Road Carriage Sheds, which were built to store the Quad-Art set, once restored, in dry conditions.
Our set comprises Nos 48861 (Brake Third); 48862, (Third); 48863, (Third); 48864, (Third).