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Cravens Heritage Trains

Introduction

Cravens Heritage Trains was formed to preserve the 3-car unit of 1960 stock that operated the last Epping - Ongar services until the closure of the line in September 1994. The unit has been maintained in working order and is now the only train in private ownership to have operated on the London Underground.

A second 4-car unit of 1962 stock was purchased and this is now undergoing restoration at Hainault depot.

In the future the group also hopes to lease and restore Epping Signal Cabin.

Membership of Cravens Heritage Trains is open to all those who wish to support the continuing preservation of the stock. Members have the opportunity to support the work practically and also recieve a newsletter five times a year.

Click on the logo above to visit the groups own website.

1962 Tube Stock 1507 and 1960 Tube Stock 3906 seen at Hainault in 1995

(Both photo and Cravens Heritage Trains logo supplied by Bob Yeldham)

The 1960 Stock

3906 + 4927 + 3907

London Underground Ownership

The 1960 stock was built as a prototype for the replacement of the pre-1938 stock then operating on the central line. 12 driving motor cars were ordered from Cravens of Sheffield. Like the other underground stock of that era the car bodies were made from aluminium and finished unpainted. The cars were numbered 3900 to 3911. 12 pre-1938 stock trailer cars were converted so that 4 car trains could be formed in service. These cars were painted white to match the aluminium finish of the new cars. These trailer cars were numbered 4900 to 4911. Four of these cars dated from 1927 and the other eight from 1931.

The new stock was operated in 8 car trains and entered service on the central line. It was anticipated that more trains would be ordered. However circumstances forced a change to these plans. New trains were needed for the Central Line rapidly, the electrification of Eastern region services into in Liverpool Street was expected to result in rapid increases in passengers. The pre-1938 stock was also becoming increasingly unreliable. It was therefore decided to order more trains of the 1959 Stock then entering service on the Piccadilly line. These trains became known as the 1962 Stock and provided the service on the Central line until 1995.

In preparation for the opening of the Victoria line it was decided to use the lightly used Woodford-Hainault branch for trials of Automatic Train Operation (ATO). Five of the six trains were converted, the other unit was to be used for engineering purposes. ATO went into operation on this short section of line in April 1964.

By the late 1970s the trailer cars were almost 50 years old and their condition was very poor. It was planned to replace them with trailer cars of the 1938 stock then being withdrawn. Because traffic between Woodford and Hainault was so light a single 1938 car was sufficient for each train. Six 1938 stock cars were originally selected, 012177, 012229, 012331, 012392, 012406 and 012408.

The ATO equipment was life expired and removed in 1986. The trains were then used as conventional one person operation trains. Another train was withdrawn from passenger service. The driving motor cars were used to form LULs track recording train. They continue to be used for this purpose.

In 1990 three units remained in service. One was repainted in red livery with Central London Railway coats of arms to celebrate 125 years of the Loughton-Ongar railway. A second unit was repainted the following year, whilst the third was withdrawn as a source of spares. Timetable changes saw the 1960 Stock replaced on the Woodford-Hainault service by 8-car trains of 1962 Stock. The Cravens units took the place of a 4-car train of 1962 Stock on the Ongar line. This was a peak hours only service for which only one train was required. The working timetable showed a mid afternoon Hainault-Woodford-Loughton-Epping changeover train.

Into Private Ownership

With the impending closure of the Epping-Ongar line a preservation bid for the line had begun. It was hoped that the current supply could be maintained after closure allowing the line to become the first preserved railway to use electric traction. With this in mind a group of ORPS members set up the Cravens Preservation Fund to purchase a unit. 3906 + 4927 + 3907 operated the last train to and from Ongar on 30th September 1994. It was withdrawn from service and stored at Hainault depot. It was purchased in 1995 and operated it's first passenger journey in private ownership in Juy of that year. Further tours were operated in 1996.

Unfortunately in 1996 ORPS did not recieve the opportunity to begin operating Epping-Ongar trains when Pilot developments were nominated as the prefered bidder. Instead the train was transfered to Ruislip depot. It has continued to operate in private ownership with tours of the Metropolitan, Jubilee and Northern lines being carried out. The train has also provided the Chesham branch service during Steam on the Met events.

The 1962 Stock

In order to speed up the replacement of the pre-1938 Stock on the central line and cater for the expected growth in traffic, the proven Metro-Cammell 1959 entering service on the Piccadilly line was chosen in preference to the Cravens Stock. As a temporay measure some of the 1959 Stock operated on the Central lines. The 1962 stock was virtually identical and built directly after the 1959 Stock. It entered service between 1962 and 1964.

The trains operated reliably on the Central line until the early 1990s. At this time the increasing age of the stock combined with modernisation work and frequent "security alerts" often made travelling on the Central Line a fraught experience.

Introduction of the repalcement 1992 Stock began in 1993. 1506 + 2506 + 9507 + 1507 was withdrawn in November 1994 and was stored at Hainault depot. It remains there undergoing restoration.

The above is reproduced with the kind permission of Cravens Hertitage Trains. I would strongly urge you to visit their site and read more about their work.

A collection of photographs of the 1960 Tube Stock in it's aluminium finish can be seen here.

Since preparing this page, the following picture has been kindly supplied by Jeremy Wilcox of the Craven Unit at Upminster on the recent tour undertaken by the train.

Apart from the obvious interest of the main subject of the picture it also gives an excellent comparison of the proportions of a tube stock train against a surface stock train.

It was with some difficulty that I resisted the temptation to retouch the picture to get rid of the graffitti that adorns the front of the D Stock unit!

Track Recording Train

There is however one 60TS unit that has survived in London Underground service in the form of the Track Recording Train.

This unit is equiped with high intensity lighting and various recording equipment and travels around the system examining the condition of the track and, by the means of a spray dispenser, highlights areas of track in need of attention. It's workings are published in the Traffic Circular and drivers warned not to look at the high intensity lighting for extended periods - believe me they are as bright as they appear in the following photographs.

My thanks to my good friend Tube Troll for providing these and allowing their use. The pictures were taken whilst the TRT was on the Heathrow loop of the Piccadilly Line.

Update

It's been some considerable time since I last reported on the progress that has been made by Cravens Heritage Trains since this section was last updated.

This thought was prompted today with the arrival in the post of the latest edition of CHT bulletin, which every member receives. A quick conversation with Bob Yeldham has seen approval for the reproduction of part of this here, as it sums up the current state of play very well.

Though I think the pages should be readable, I've also uploaded larger versions - if you wish to see those, click on the images below.

So, you'll see from the above, that the Group's been very active and busy in striving to reach it's goal of preserving a variety of London Underground history.

But, this is not a cause for complacency.  There's still much to do with all the projects and new members are always welcomed. If you've not been involved with a preservation group before, this is your chance to get your hands VET dirty, and become actively involved.

Join now!  Details of membership are available on the web site here.

 

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