1962 tube stock

This page was fully revised on 16 July 2008;
Selected additions on 6 August 2012, 15 September 2013, and up to 8 December 2023.

[PHOTO: Sandite unit, almost-head-on view in bright sunshine: 53kB]

Right: Ex-Central Line unit 1406, now part of the Central Line ‘Rail Treatment Train’ (Wasser), basks in Saturday-lunchtime sunshine in Ruislip depot (1 May 1999).


The 1962 Tube Stock was ordered as a continuation of the 1959 stock, following the decision not to pursue the design evolution begun with the experimental 1960 tube stock. As such, its 88 eight-car trains were virtually identical to the 1959 stock.

Key dates for 1962 Tube Stock
First train in service: 1962 April 12 (Central Line)
Last operation of Aldwych shuttle: 1979 October 17 (unit 1751)
Last day of operation in service, Central Line: 1995 February 17 (formed 1500+1620, train 112)
Lines worked: Central, Northern (from 1984?), Aldwych shuttle, occasionally Piccadilly main line
Last known operation in passenger service: 1999 November 11 (Northern Line, unit 1747)

Most of the 1962 tube stock fleet worked the Central Line throughout its 32-year lifespan. It was comprised of 4-car units of formation DM-T-NDM-DM); Central Line trains were usually 8 cars in length, though some shuttle services were worked by single units.

The 1962 stock replaced the so-called “Standard” stock; it was itself replaced between 1993 and 1995 by the all-new 1992 stock, and most of the fleet was scrapped. A few trains were used on the Northern Line from 1984ish to 1999, where they assisted availability of 1959 stock; occasionally, 1962 stock was used on the Piccadilly Line; and one special train operated the Aldwych Shuttle for many years.

A handful of trains still exist on LUL in the 21st Century, having been saved from scrap for various purposes.

Comparison with 1959 stock

[PHOTO: Sandite unit, almost-side-on view in sunshine: 53kB]

This stock appears at a glance to be indistinguishable from its 1959 stock counterpart, and for many purposes the type is simply known as 1959/62 stock. However, 1962 stock units differ mechanically and cosmetically from 1959 stock units in several subtle ways. Sandite Train (Right) DM 1406 clearly shows the Central Line idents and red stripe above the cab door. The corner grab-rails got removed from all remaining trains soon after this one was withdrawn, to deter “surfers”.

The following describes the unique features of 1962 stock and compares them with 1959 stock:

Service on the Northern Line, 1984-ish to 1999

In about 1984, three trains were transferred from the Central to the Northern Line to boost its stock. When, in about 1994, the Central Line was scrapping its 1962 stock in vast quantities, several more units were retained for use in passenger service on the Northern Line; in all, fifteen units of 1962 stock were used on the Northern. Of these, half had their NDM car removed to form 3-car units. All units were fully interchangeable with 1959 stock, and allowed the scrapping of the three 1959-stock prototypes (designated 1956 stock). By the law of averages, 1962-stock units were almost always coupled to 1959s.

[PHOTO: 1962 stock (rear) at open-air station: 51kB]

A rear view of one of the 3-car units, number 1747, as it departs Platform 3 at Finchley Central with a southbound train to Kennington via Charing Cross.

The Guard can be seen leaning from his doorway at the front of this car, checking that all is well before closing his local door. Note the (extinguished) red stabling lamp which is to the left of the headlamps. The light-coloured marks in the black roof around the destination blind are where the top layer of paint has weathered off. Coincidentally, unit 1747 would prove to be the last ’62-stock unit ever to run in passenger service, some six months later. (Photograph taken on Saturday 1 May 1999, scheduled as 18:52)


The 1962 stock is not quite dead yet! It has survived in various ways:

  1. Preservation: 4-car unit 1506 was undergoing restoration at Hainault depot by members of the group which owns it, Cravens Heritage Trains Ltd (see the 1960 tube stock page for an example of their work), though sadly they sold it back to London Underground on 21 January 2023 for Sandite train spares. Also, Neil White has preserved car 1677 in Nottinghamshire.

  2. Attempted preservation: Three ultimately-unsuccessful attempts have been made to preserve 1962 tube stock. The Epping-Ongar Railway bought an 8-car train (units 1616 and 1491) in 1996, but let it get vandalised until it was only fit for scrap; then in 2000 they bought the last remaining one (1744) and had it transported to Ongar; it too deteriorated and was taken away to be cut up. In 2000, Cravens Heritage Trains looked into the possibility of preserving unique unit 1751, but decided against it.

  3. Non-passenger use on LUL: A total of 7 complete 4-car units remained on LUL metals into the early 2000s, however some of these have subsequently been repurposed or scrapped (details to follow). In 2023, one pair of units remains very much active as the Central Line’s Sandite train, with one of the Stock-pilot units having itself been repurposed as a second Central Line Sandite train; previously, one used to be a Utility unit, and another pair used to be an engineering train.

There follows a more detailed look into several of the re-uses of 1962 stock as outlined above.

Almost-preserved unit 1744

Four-car unit 1744 sat ‘on juice’ on number 16 road out the back of Morden depot for many weeks through the spring of 2000. It then had the distinction of being the last 1959/62 stock vehicle to move on the Northern Line system under its own power, when it left it (via the King’s Cross loop) on 18 July 2000.

It travelled to Neasden where it lay dormant until August 2001: then, as predicted here some 18 months in advance, it departed by road for the Ongar branch, with 1744 moving on 23 August, and the other three cars in order on 10, 11 and 12 September 2001. They were sold to the Epping-Ongar Railway, then owned by Pilot Developments. It will be recalled that a full 8-car train of 1962 stock (units 1616 and 1491) had been bought for preservation at Ongar some years previous—it was propelled to Ongar by a pair of battery locos on 18 October 1996; it sat at Ongar station for a couple of years until, thoroughly smashed up by vandals, it was removed (by road, inevitably) for scrap on 16-19 November 1998.

It comes as no great surprise to read in the railway press that, on 3 & 4 April 2003, the four cars of unit 1744 were winched onto low loaders at Ongar and taken away to Booths of Rotherham to be cut up. A sad, but perhaps inevitable, end to the story of 1744.

But apparently not quite! On 21 October of that year, in a sort of inverse scrapping procedure, the NDM car 9745 was returned from Booths of Rotherham to LUL at Acton Works, with a view to it being used as another Sandite car for a second Central Line Sandite train. As far as I can determine, nothing has come of this as yet and 9745 remains at Acton Works. [As of 2023 this appears no longer to be there, and a different car was used as the second Sandite car anyway.]

Unique unit 1751

Unit 1750-2750-1751 was an add-on order of 1962 tube stock, for just one three-car unit; thus it was unique, as all other 1962-stock units were four cars long. 1751 was also therefore the only unit of 1962 tube stock never to work on the Central Line. It was initially a self-contained train dedicated to working the Aldwych shuttle (though it did also work on the main Piccadilly Line from time to time); Piers Connor, then a driver on the Piccadilly Line, says that the one good thing about driving the Aldywch shuttle was that it was 1962 stock instead of 1959 stock, meaning that there was somewhere to put a mug of tea down in the cab! (The 1962 stock has a flush-fitting desk-plate in front of the driver, where 1959 stock just had the tops of the controller boxes.)

1751 worked the Aldwych shuttle (which soon became peak hours only), being maintained at Northfields depot when necessary. Piers’s accounts of some of the things they got up to, including an accident (not involving 1751), are available on the Usenet archives, courtesy of Google Groups. 1751 finished working the Aldwych shuttle on 17 October 1979 (it had just out-lasted the final transfer of 1959 stock off the Piccadilly Line), and followed its ’59-stock counterparts to the Northern Line, where it behaved like any 3-car unit of 1959 stock for ten years.

But in 1989 it was given a fourth car, NDM 9659 (renumbered 9751) and, nearly thirty years after all of its sisters, the unit finally motored down the tubes of the Central Line. In due course it was transferred back to the Northern Line, minus the extra car. It was withdrawn from Northern Line service for good on 5 October 1999, and there was talk of it being preserved by Cravens Heritage Trains Limited; indeed it was transferred from Morden to Ruislip on 25 January 2000 apparently with this in mind, as it was coupled to unit 1044 of the “Heritage” 1959-stock train; however it was not to be, and cars 1750-2750-1751 went by road for scrapping at Mayer Parry on 4–5 July 2000.

Northern Line utility unit 1680

Central Line unit 1680 was withdrawn from Central Line use on 19 January 1995, and at some point thereafter it was transferred to the Northern Line as a utility unit: used by engineers for transport to/from working sites, storage, carriage of materials, et cetera. For reasons unknown, it lost its NDM car (9681) at some stage and so was formed 1680-2680-1681. On 5 November 1998, Northern Line unit 1124 was withdrawn from passenger service, and on 14 December it travelled to Acton works; 1680 arrived there on 20th, and the two were amaglamated:

  unit 1680:   1680 2680      1681
  unit 1124:   1124 2124 9125 1125

The result :   1680-2680-9125-1681  utility unit
               1124-2124-1125       stored

The reformed utility unit was returned to Edgware on 29 December 1998, while the remaining cars of unit 1124 hung around at Acton until finally being sent by road to Mayer Parry for scrap on 3–10 July 2000. One of the train’s two regular drivers during its time with Northern Line Engineering tells me that the 1959-stock NDM car (9125) was added specifically as a personnel carrier for a 6-month-long job between Highgate and East Finchley.

1680 unit had Northern Line Engineering written on labels stuck onto the outside of the destination-blind windows, and during its useful life it lived in a siding at Edgware; the ex-Central Line cars had a distinctly drab appearance. On 20 April 2000 the unit was transferred to Ruislip ostensibly for disposal, the Northern Line having presumably finished with it; soon after its arrival at Ruislip I observed that the ex-Northern car was full of orange wheely-bins!

The unit hung around at Ruislip depot for over 6 months before two of its cars got exchanged with two from the Sandite Train, of which more below.

The reformed unit 1680-2680-9515-1515 remains at Ruislip depot, facing an uncertain future. [As of 2023 these four cars appear no longer to exist.]

Sandite Train (“Wasser”)

Like most railways in Britain that run partly in the open, the Central Line suffers from poor rail conditions during the leaf-fall season. Following the availability of surplus 1962 stock in better-than-scrap condition, some of it was converted into a Sandite Train. This lays a mixture of sand and a gluey substance on the railhead to improve traction.

[PHOTO: Sandite car itself, contra-jour photo in depot: 56kB]

Above: The Sandite car — officially designated the Rail Treatment Car — is NDM 9459, seen above in its unique “red-topped” livery which has since been covered over.

Sandite car 9459

Sandite car 9459 has a very chequered history. It began life as Non-Driving Motor (NDM) car 9501, the third car of unit 1500. On 16 November 1982 this unit collided with another Central Line train on the westbound road at Marble Arch (not Holborn as stated elsewhere and previously here), damaging two cars (1501 and 9501), and two cars of the unit it hit (1548 and 2548). The undamaged two cars of these two units were combined thus:

 unit 1500:  1500 2528 9501 1501
 unit 1548:  1548 2548 9549 1549

The result:  1500-2528-9549-1549  serviceable unit
             1548 2548 9501 1501  damaged

In the serviceable unit, 2528 was renumbered 2500, and 9549-1549 were renumbered (briefly from December 1984 until March 1985, then for good in May 1989!) 9501-1501 to match the original numbering-sequence for unit 1500; the (only slightly) damaged 9501 was repaired, renumbered 9459, and was first used as a Sandite car in September 1989.

Many reformations of the Sandite train

The DM cars of ex-Central Line unit 1406 (i.e. 1406 and 1407) have been fitted with Central Line ATP; apart from 18 of the battery locos plus the tunnel cleaning train and track recording train [and latterly the Asset Inspection Train?], they are the only vehicles besides 1992 stock to carry Central Line ATP. Note that unit 1406 appears in a photograph on page 354 of Rails Through The Clay by Croome and Jackson, 2nd edition; it was running as a single unit, 1406 end leading, at North Weald station with the shuttle service for Ongar on 1990-03-31; it had not yet been fitted with inter-unit jumpers, but that modification can only have been a few months away. Unit 1406 was eventually withdrawn from public duties on 19 August 1994.

Another NDM, ex scrapped unit 1600, was brought in, presumably to give more power; the train was reformed thus:

  unit 1406:  1406 2406      9407      1407
  unit 1600:            9601
Sandite car:                      9459

The result :  1406-2406-9601-9407-9459-1407
[PHOTO: Sandite unit, almost-head-on view in shadow: 51kB]

The D-end Driving Motor car, 1407. The connection-box and jumper-lead below the Number-1-side cab window were to carry Emergency Alarm wires (dating from 1989/90) through from this unit to another, when they were in passenger service.

When this Sandite train ran in autumn 1998, the NDM car number 9507 was borrowed from Cravens Heritage Trains’s preserved unit 1506 to provide extra power; it was returned at Christmas. In preparation for leaf-fall in 1999, though, they took advantage of the withdrawal of 1962-stock units from the Northern Line:

                 unit 1406:  1406 2406                          1407
ex-Northern Line unit 1514:            9515 1515
ex-Northern Line unit 1683:                      1682 2682
               Sandite car:                                9459

                The result:  1406-2406-9515-1515+1682-2682-9459-1407

What they did was to remove (and send for scrap) 9601 and 9407, and add in three motored cars and one trailer from two ex-Northern 1962-stock units (1514 and 1683). This gave a proper 8-car 1962 stock train. Note that only the outer DM cars 1406 and 1407 are fitted with Central Line ATP.

During the leaf-fall season of 2000 the Sandite train’s performance had become poor, with weak motoring and a tendency to lose ATP Codes. Accordingly, two of the motored cars were swapped with two from the “for disposal” Northern Line utility unit which had been conveniently sat around at Ruislip for half a year:

        A-end unit of Sandite train:  1406-2406-9515-1515
  former Northern Line utility unit:  1680-2680-9125-1681

reformed Sandite train’s A-end unit:  1406-2406-9125-1681
             stored, future unknown:  1680-2680-9515-1515

So, as from the 7 November 2000, the Sandite train was formed 1406-2406-9125-1681+1682-2682-9459-1407; it has remained so at least up to September 2013. This means that it is a truly motley assortment of cars! It includes 3 cars from 1406 unit, two from 1682, and three “odd” cars of which one (1959-stock Non-Driving Motor car 9125) has now been reformed at least twice, to say nothing of 9459 which last saw passengers in 1982 whilst called 9501

Although the train’s future was considered carefully prior to the 2001 season, as far as can be determined 1406+1407 has soldiered on right through to the present day. Just before Christmas 2002 it was transferred to Acton Works for a heavy overhaul, which was intended to extend its useful lifetime by another few years; it seems to spend each summer at Acton Works nowadays, sometimes visiting Neasden Depot, but returning to Ruislip or Hainault Depots when the Sandite season approaches.

In July 2009 this 8-car train was transferred from Ruislip to Neasden to visit the underfloor wheel-lathe; subsequently, prior to the Sandite season it was “painted” in the LU corporate livery, albeit with no red doors as none of its doors are for passengers. I believe the livery is not really painted but self-adhesive vinyl, though the roofs (matt black) and inner car-ends (matt grey) appear painted.

In August 2013 this train suffered a minor derailment during a visit to Neasden Depot.

As of 2023, further reformations are reported to this train; these include it gaining car 9577 in place of Sandite-dispensing car 9459 (stored spare), and car 2406 having been converted to dispense Sandite.

[PHOTO: Sandite unit, front-3-quarter view in sunshine: 50kB]

“The Wasser” (pronounced ‘wozzer’) is the coloquial name given to this Sandite train — it is nicknamed after the then Central Line Engineering Manager who ran the train, Sylvia Wasserman, who emailed to confirm this story. On the corner of the solebar nearest the camera can be seen the Tripcock Isolating Cock, in the isolated position (labelled ATP in this case).

1995/96 Stock-pilot units

The new Northern and Jubilee Lines’ trains (1995 and 1996 stocks respectively) were all delivered to Ruislip depot by rail from Birmingham, by way of Didcot and the West Ealing curve. Following initial commissioning, all Northern Line units and most Jubilee Line units were transferred by rail from Ruislip to their own lines’ main depots, Golders Green and (then) Neasden respectively; this involved shunting out of the back of Ruislip depot into Ruislip siding, and up the Met/Piccadilly tracks to Rayners Lane. Northern Line trains would go down the Piccadilly route to King’s Cross, and reverse over the King’s Cross Loop, while Jubilee Line stock would turn left for Harrow-on-the-Hill.

The difficulty with this lies in the power-electronics that the new stocks have: this can interfere with signalling; so they had to be dragged, one 3-car unit at a time, by a tractor- or pilot-unit. It is doubtful whether whole 6-car trains of the new stocks could have been dragged by the pilot units, but in any case the combined 10-car length of such a train would have been incompatible with the length of the track-circuit berths as designed into the signalling systems.

[PHOTO: front car of train in yard, sunny: 58kB]

Car no. 1441 of 4-car stock-pilot unit 1570-2440-9441-1441.

There have been four stock-pilot units, though not all at the same time; all were four-car ex-Central Line 1962 stock units. One of them, 1570-2570-9571-1571, had been painted British Racing Green and was known as the Green Goddess. She was largely written off at South Ealing by an (unharmed!) 1995-stock unit on 17 February 1997 (Alstom had insisted on doing commissioning work on the South Ealing test track themselves).

A second unit had been kept as a spare for just such an eventuality: 1440-2440-9441-1441. Three cars of the Green Goddess, plus 1440 of the spare, were scrapped, and the amalgamated (and motley, having one green and three silver cars!) pilot unit is 1570-2440-9441-1441. The 1441 (silver) end is seen above in Ruislip yard on Sunday 2 May 1999. Note that the green (1570) end DM car of this unit has been fitted with a coupler that can couple to 1992 stock, whilst the 1441-end DM is equipped only to couple to the 1995/96 stocks. However this might change—it only requires a different jumper-pin layout on the auto coupler—since to be more operationally flexible this pilot unit would best be 1992-stock compatible at both ends. In any case, 1570-2440-9441-1441 is still in use as at May 2008, conducting 1992 stock units to the South Ealing test track for brake-testing.

[PHOTO: cab interior, driver’s door open, daytime: 46kB]
[PHOTO: wide-angle close-up of cab side/front: 41kB]

Present at Steam On The Met 1999 was a 1996 stock unit; it could only get there by use of a pilot unit: 1560-2560-9561-1561 is seen above, uncoupled but only a foot or two away from the Jubilee Line unit. On the right, the car-number has been displayed in large Johnston Typeface numerals. On the left is the cab interior of 1561; seen through the door is the 1973-stock train on display. Note that 1560 pilot unit is (was?) still set up for piloting 1995/96 stocks (only), a role which it may have kept when (if?) it is used as a Radio Test Train for the Connect project.

Mention should be made at this point of the fourth pilot unit, 1630-2630-9631-1631. It was doing fine until Thursday 21 January 1999, when it suffered a Yikes, no brakes!-type incident whilst shunting in the yard at Ruislip depot. DM 1630 got “re-styled” (a technical term) on buffer stops close to Ruislip Gardens station, and all cars have since been scrapped. As an aside, 1992 tube stock unit 93420 got comprehensively re-styled on the same buffer-stops more recently, and in fact was sent away to Derby for rebuilding with the actual ironwork thereof still embedded within the carriage!

[PHOTO: interior view of converted DM, daylight: 53kB]
[PHOTO: interior view of unconverted car, daylight: 49kB]

The stock-pilot units required considerable modification when they came out of service, in order to carry out their new tasks. Because the new unit being dragged would be unpowered, the pilot unit had not only to be able to pull more than its weight, but also had to supply compressed air for the whole train. Accordingly DM 1561, seen above left, contains a large compressor and air reservoir (at the far end), a tool-cupboard (on the left), and a set of relays and pneumatic connections/valves (see below). The other picture above right shows the adjacent and relatively untouched Non-Driving Motor car 9561, still sporting a full complement of Central-Line seating moquette.

[PHOTO: close-up of electrical/pneumatic connection area: 63kB]

Not only did the Stock Pilot units have to be able to pull the new trains, but to avoid totally unfeasible shunting movements (or driving from the rear of the train) the Pilot units’ motors and brakes had to be capable of operation from the cab of the new train. I’ve never seen these units at work, but it must be most weird to see the driver push forward on the fore/aft Traction Brake Controller of a modern train, and yet to hear the tik-tik-tik of the 1962-stock’s Pneumatic Camshaft Mechanism and the pop of its line-breakers! Naturally, the new trains’ cab gives an entirely different set of electrical signals down the control wires, and so it is this system of relays, pneumatic valves and isolating cocks which translated the two.

On 2 March 2000, the final transfer of new stock to its home line occurred (unit 51646 from Ruislip to Golders Green). Therefore these stock-pilots are, in theory, redundant; however, with the possibility of a not-quite-unforseen need to move the new stocks away from their home lines at some point, I suspect that at least one pilot unit will be kept ready for the task. I’ve heard it suggested that at least one of the two remaining pilot units will be sold to Alstom, which would seem to make sense. On the other hand, when 1996 tube stock units have been transferred to/from South Ealing or Highgate test facilities more recently (e.g. 2005), they have been marshalled between the pair of Schoma Diesel locos which have Wedgelock couplers, themselves topped & tailed by conventional LUL battery locomotives. As at July 2008, nothing further has been heard; however, as mentioned above, 1570 unit has been out recently taking Central Line 1992-stock units down to the Ealing area to use the Test Track.

As of 2023, unit 1570-2440-9441-1441 remains in use on the Central Line, and has been augmented by car 9691 and adapted to become a second Sandite train.

Piccadilly Line engineering

Two double-ended 1962-stock units, 1576 and 1691 make up this 8-car train which used to live at Northfields Depot, where it was used for Piccadilly Line engineering use.

However, these eight cars were moved to Acton Works, and into TransPlant ownership, probably sometime in late 2003. It was suggested that the units would be disbanded, with some cars being reformed and kitted out to create a Piccadilly Line Sandite Train, and the remainder being scrapped. No developments are known to have taken place in this regard thus far.

As at 2023, NDM car 9577 is repurposed in the Wasser, NDM car 9691 is incorporated into the second Central Line Sandite train, and the two DM cars of unit 1691 are stored as spares.