Whoops! If this website isn't showing properly, it could be that you're using an old browser. For the full American Magazine experience, click here for details on updating your internet browser.
1938 Q Stock Car at Earls Court Station, 1939. Photo © London Transport Museum Collections 1938 Q Stock Car at Earls Court Station, 1939. Photo © London Transport Museum Collections

Sign up to The American magazine's newsletters (below) to receive more regular news, articles and updates on America in the UK.

A Rare American-Style London Underground Car Being Restored
Help the London Transport Museum to bring this US-style Underground Car back to life
Published on November 22, 2018
Donations Here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/qstockrestoration

1935 Q Stock Car 1935 Q Stock Car with American-style Clerestory roof at Ealing Common Depot, London, 1936. Photo © London Transport Museum Collections

The London Underground is one of the most iconic British forms of transportation, and yet many of its origins and influences have connections with the United States. One such link is being celebrated as the London Transport Museum launches an appeal to help fundraise the restoration of the last three surviving 1930s London Underground Q stock carriages. The carriages, known as 'cars', were among the last British train cars to be built with an iconic American design.

Whereas London Underground trains in use today are made up of identical carriages, Q stock trains were formed from a combination of sleek new cars, purpose-built in 1938 to run with a range of older American-style cars dating as far back as 1923. Passengers never knew what formation would pull into their platform.

Running together, the different cars revealed the evolution of train design on London's Underground throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The Q stock car dating from 1935 is the only-remaining example of the last train carriages in Britain to be built with American-style clerestory roofs. This classic design was first brought to Britain in the 1870s by the American engineer George Mortimer Pullman. In contrast, the Q stock cars dating from 1938 have smooth, curved roofs. They also have sleek, flared sides, a radical styling unique to the 1930s. The design of these newer cars represents an experimental pre-war period of modernisation on London’s Underground, ushered in by the establishment of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. This programme of modernisation was overseen by the Board’s Chief Mechanical Engineer, US-born William Graff-Baker.

Discussing the restoration project, the Director of the London Transport Museum, Sam Mullins, said "The last-surviving Q stock cars are gems in London Transport Museum’s collection, revealing the evolution of London’s underground rolling stock, which at times has been heavily influenced by American engineering and design. As one of the world’s leading museums of urban transport, we are appealing for support to restore these rare Q stock cars to their former glory, preserving them for future generations to learn from and enjoy.”

Donations to help in the restoration project can be made via this website: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/qstockrestoration. For donations larger than $500, contributions can be made to the London Transport Museum via CAF America (CAF America is registered in the US as a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organisation.)

>> MORE NEWS

© All contents of www.theamerican.co.uk and The American copyright Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. 1976–2018
The views & opinions of all contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that all content is accurate
at time of publication, the publishers, editors and contributors cannot accept liability for errors or omissions or any loss arising from reliance on it.