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King's Cross - Inner Suburban

It's helpful to begin with the Inner Suburban service, which covered stations up to around 25 miles north of the terminus, and a few mile southwards to Moorgate, and for a long time was served by quadruplet sets permanently coupled in pairs to make 8-coach trains commonly (but misleadingly) called "quad-arts". There were three periods of construction:

1921 (GNR) on Fox bogies. Set Nos 48-66.

1923-24 (GNR/LNER) similar bodies on Gresley bogies, Set Nos 67-76.

1925-28 (LNER) new design bodies, Set Nos 77-94.

I don't propose at this stage to describe in detail design and bogie differences for they are complex and can be found in Michael Harris's final book "LNER Standard Gresley Carriages" (1998) and in the comprehensive and voluminous notes on the Isinglass Drawings: 4/2/1-4 (substitute the 4 for a 7 for O-gauge, if available).

Nevertheless, pictures of the trains in service do show the basics as well as giving a flavour of how they served.

In BR days, attempts were made to replace the "quad-art" trains by BR Mk.1 formations but the greater length of the coaches was problematic at Moorgate and its short platforms: developments during this later phase were described in detail in Model Rail, see in the Articles Index under "LNER Workings - BR Mk.1 - Secondary and Suburban".

As always, the illustrations are shown in chronological order, with new additions inserted accordingly. It may seem better to separate by design type, but there was so many changes and overlaps, that for the moment I think this approach gives the best overview.

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In a scene from 1931, N2 No 4766 is approaching Wood Green with a 1921 GNR "quad-art" train. Clearly visible is the rebated guard's end with ducket and hinged, opening toplights in the compartment windows. The doors have fixed toplights. It's a warm day and many of the toplights are open - it was a feature of GNR-based designs that tends to be overlooked. They were later made rigid, and then eliminated altogether. To the right, a North London Railway train is headed by LMS "Jinty" No 16594, hauling ancient NLR 4w carriages. What a contrast! Photo: Author's collection.

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N2 No 4757 has an LNER "quad-art" train as it attacks Holloway bank on the exit from King's Cross in 1937. The destination board on the loco declares that it's for Hatfield. Note the ventilator bonnets over the doors. Photo: Photomatic.

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In this post-War scene from 1946, N2 2674 is near Hadley Wood with an LNER-built "quad-art" train coming out of the sun. The set number, 93, can just be made out on the end carriage. With apologies for the mucky state of the picture - AG Ellis copied many pictures with, it has to be said, varying degrees of success. Photo: AG Ellis

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A scruffy post-War B17, No 1654 Sunderland at Hadley Wood station has an Outer Suburban working from Cambridge-King's Cross with a 1921 GNR "quad-art" train in the late 1940s. The Fox bogies can just be made out in the deep shade. The bodies are in the as-built condition with a full set of toplights, although the opening ones in the passenger windows had by then probably been sealed for not a single one is open. Photo: Author's collection.

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Another post-War Outer Suburban working from Cambridge-King's Cross behind a filthy loco, this time B1 No 1096, a March loco at the time as it rounds the curve near Potters Bar on 7th April 1946. It's another 1921 GNR "quad-art" train on which the Fox bogies are clear to see, and part of the Set No on the end "6-". In this set the passenger toplights had been eliminated altogether by re-glazing the whole window. Photo: D.A.Dant.

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N2 69521 attacks Holloway bank with an empty train towards the carriage sidings after the morning rush hour. A destination board for Hertford is still being carried and wedged behind it, another for New Barnet.

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L1 No 67784 heads out of King's Cross in June 1958 with the unique Set No 85 in which 1st class was restored and a strengthener was required for an evening rush-hour semi-fast working. This was the 5.58pm to Welwyn Garden City and the strengthener on this occasion was at the head and a Thompson 3rd, now 2nd of course. Photo: P.H. Groom.

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The brake end of 1924-built GNR/LNER Set No 71 at King's Cross in the late 1930s awaits departure for Alexandra Palace. It has the characteristic rebated guard's end and ducket, and two changes: addition of an illuminated destination board (from 1929); and elimination of the opening toplights in the passenger windows in favour of full glazing. By chance the same Set was also photographed in BR days, see below. Photo: HMRS ABJ023.

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The outer end of GNR/LNER Set No 71 shows the external fittings quite well. Note how well the teak appearance on the steel guard's ducket has been grained. Photo: HMRS ABJ024.

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Seen in BR days on 31st August 1956, with apologies for the quality of the print, is the outer pair E48601-2E of 1921 GNR Set No 61 in which the recessed guard's end, ducket, and heavy 8ft Fox bogies are prominent. The opening toplights in the passenger windows have been removed but the glazed toplight in the doors remain. The picture was taken at Hull, presumably to help with excursions in the NE Region. Photo: H.C.Casserley 90220.

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A BR-period view of the brake end of an LNER all-3rd quadruplet E86312-5E from Set No 86 after overhaul. The ventilator bonnets over the doors have been removed and the area panelled. The small text underneath the set number states "KING'S X". On this brake end the lighting switch is just above the buffers. Photo: Photomatic

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qa set 90

Not the best view despite my help with Photoshop but useful for showing the brake end of LNER Set No 90 with the lighting switch placed across the guard's window. I cannot yet explain why the different positions were used. Photo: HMRS ABJ520.

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The inner end of former composite quadruplet E86260-3E from Set No 71 is interesting in several ways for this is one of the 1923-24 GNR/LNER sets with recessed guard's end and ducket, and the same Set as shown above. The toplights in the passenger windows had already have been removed; now the toplights on the doors have been removed and panelled giving an appearance similar to the LNER quadruplet from Set No 86 above. Photo: Author's collection.

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Enter the Mk.1 stock

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Withdrawal of the oldest, ex-GNR 1921 "quad-art" trains began in the early 1950s to be replaced by 5-sets of BR Mk.1 stock, initially made up: BS,S,S,S,BS.

They fitted into Moorgate but their capacity was so much lower that they could only be used off-peak. N2 No 69591 is leaving Hornsey with a train bound for Hatfield. Photo: P.H.Groom.

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N2 No 69532 has a similar formation with a down working north of Finsbury Park. The inverted destination board states CUFFLEY. Photo P.H.Groom.

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Second generation "quad-art" trains of 1923-24 were still serving in November 1959, seen here passing Bounds Green signal box at Wood Green behind "Baby Deltic" No D5904, which has the 10.45am SuO Hertford North-King's Cross. Photo: J.F.Aylard.

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Brush Type 2 No D5605 with a down working of BR Mk.1 stock (BS,S,S,S,BS), north of Finsbury Park. The coaches are a mixture of crimson and lined and unlined maroon liveries. Photo: Peter Groom.

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