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LNER "Quad-arts"

This nickname for the articulated trains at King's Cross's is widely used by modellers and convenient - but it is confusing for two reasons:

- they served as 8-sets with two, slightly different, quadruplets permanently-coupled together and were used mainly for the Inner Suburban service. trains.

- Gresley also designed quadruplets for Liverpool Street but to a different specification and to run singly in Outer Suburban service on the line to Hertford. These I shall cover separately.

There have long been plastic kits for the King's Cross quadruplets - the all-3rd and the composite - in the Kirk range, and more recently, in etched brass from RDEB. Before describing a model from the former stable, here's an outline of the basic types.

The King's Cross "quad-arts"

There is already a separate topic describing the KX service (see link below). The design originated under Gresley in GNR days and there were three periods of construction:

1921 (GNR) on Fox bogies. Set Nos 48-66.
1923-24 (GNR/LNER) similar bodies on Gresley bogies (8' heavy), Set Nos 67-76.
1925-28 (LNER) new design bodies on Gresley bogies (8'6" heavy), Set Nos 77-94.

Individual numbers 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).

Details - Carriages which served a long time tended to be modified. For example, GNR aspects in the first two designs concerning the opening toplights were gradually eliminated. In the final series, ventilator bonnets were fitted over the doors in the normal fashion but corrosion led to their removal. Fittings on the ends also appear to have changed although this is harder to quantity. The nature of these changes as sets passed through the works meant that there tended to be a mixture of variations running together, which I have tried to show in the following pictures.

It's often forgotten that the GN Section retained 2nd Class accommodation in London and the composite quad-arts were built with 1st, 2nd and 3rd Class compartments. The 2nd Class was abandoned in 1938 and 1st Class during the War, in 1942. Only then were all the quad-art trains entirely 3rd class. An exception was Set No 85 (see "LNER Suburban - King's Cross" topic) in which 1st Class was restored.

GNR-built sets of 1921

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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 GN-style ducket and hinged, opening toplights in the compartment windows. The doors have fixed toplights but it's a warm day and many of the main window 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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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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GNR/LNER hybrids of 1923-24

By a quirk of randomness, I have many pictures of trains made up with the first and last designs, but none of the hybrid designs built in between. However, there are some good detail views.

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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 have already been made with 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 with the lighting switch in a mid-position, across the end windows. Note how well the teak appearance on the steel guard's ducket has been grained. Photo: HMRS ABJ024.

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Seen from the inner end, 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. Photo: Author's collection.

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Now for something a little complicated.... During WWII, Set No 67 was hit by the Luftwaffe and three carriages were destroyed (and replaced, see below). This is the end that survived. Note the Gresley 8' heavy bogies fitted to these sets. The toplights had been modified as described although a single door had, unusually, gained a ventilator bonnet. Seen after withdrawal in 1967. Photo: Author's collection.

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Set 67

The outer end of Set No 67 showing the later arrangement of the fittings. Note how the train alarm gear was fitted off-centre. The lighting switchbox is now slightly larger and placed lower, along with a longer lever. This arrangement required the set number to be moved to the right. Photo: Author's collection.

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A detail view showing the Gresley 8' heavy bogies as fitted to the hybrid sets. Note how thin the partitions between the compartments were; quite a challenge for modellers. Toplights over the doors had been replaced by panelling. Photo: Author's collection.

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LNER sets of 1925-28

In the final series the rebate in the guard's end was omitted along with the ducket, making for a more streamlined and more modern appearance.

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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. Note the ventilator bonnets over the doors. 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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Set 90

An undated view believed to be from the LNER period of the outer end of Set No 90. The lighting switch is in the mid-position and the train alarm gear is mounted vertically. Underneath the set number there is neither KING'S CROSS nor KING'S X which I suspect wasn't added until BR days. Photo: HMRS ABJ 520.

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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". The lighting switch appears to have been moved to just above the buffers. Photo: Photomatic

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A general view of Set No.67 after withdrawal in 1967 at Dore & Totley, awaiting disposal. Nearest the camera is one of the replacement carriages from Set No.92. Photo: Author's collection.

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The outer brake end which came from Set No.92. Photo: Author's collection.

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A Kirk-based model

A single illustration for now while I set up this up....

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Two of the carriages at the guard's end in early BR crimson livery.

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To be continued.

LNER/ER King's Cross suburban services are here.

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