1972 MkII tube stock

This page was last modified on 31 July 2006,
with a selected addition on 15 June 2019.

[PHOTO: 1972 MkII stock at tube-tunnel station: 139kB]

The entire fleet of 1972 MkII tube stock is used on the Bakerloo Line. Unit 3260 leads Southbound train no. 247 into Waterloo with a service to Elephant & Castle. Note the LCD-type train number display in the offside cab window. (11 July 2006 at 13:19)

Introduction and history

A second batch of 1972 tube stock was ordered, following on from the 1972 MkI tube stock, to provide trains for the then-unopened Fleet (Jubilee) Line; however, these 33 trains worked in various sections on several lines of the system up until 1989, rather than confining itself to one route — a case of musical chairs as the lines attempted to get rid of 45-year-old trains. Prior to the Jubilee Line’s opening in 1979, the trains were used at first on the Northern Line, allowing the scrapping of the already-ancient 1938 stock; then they worked the Bakerloo from 1977 in preparation for the Stanmore Branch being handed over to the Jubilee Line. This was made possible by the 1959 stock being surplus to requirements on the Piccadilly Line, which had just received a whole fleet of new 1973 stock trains.

After the first batch of Jubilee Line trains (1983 tube stock) was delivered, half the 1972 MkIIs that had become allocated there were sent back to the Northern, displacing 1959 stock onto the Bakerloo, which itself allowed the withdrawal of the remainder of the 1938 tube stock in November 1985. Next, the 1972 MkII stock on the Northern was converted to One Person Operation (OPO) and sent to the Bakerloo, allowing some of the 1959 stock there to come back to the Northern. Finally, on receipt of its second batch of 1983 stock, the Jubilee passed the remaining 1972 MkIIs over to the Bakerloo in 1989. This last sequence of events wound up with 1972 MkII trains operating exclusively on the Bakerloo, only 1983 stock on the Jubilee, and all 1959 stock back on the Northern. During the hiatus caused by the 1972 MkII fleet OPO conversion, cover for the absent trains was provided by five trains of formerly-withdrawn 1938 stock, which were pressed back into service on the Northern for a “final fling”.

Layout and appearance

1972 MkII stock trains are formed in the same way as the MkIs, having a double-ended 4-car and a single-ended 3-car unit coupled together. (Unit 3299 is an exception to this.) From the time that the 1956 experimental tube stock was delivered, new Underground trains were Aluminium-bodied and it had been decided not to paint them; however, this stock’s doors were red from the outset, helping to distinguish it from its 1967 and 1972 MkI cousins. The fleet has undergone refurbishment in recent years, which included painting in LUL corporate livery, improved interior and door-closing bleepers; a Digital Voice Announcer was subsequently added. Additionally, four trains (less two cars) of ex-Northern Line 1972 MkI stock have been refurbished to the same standard and incorporated into the Bakerloo Line fleet.

The body design is exactly the same as that of its cousin stocks, the 1967 and 1972 MkI, having wrap-around driver’s windows and no side door into the driving cab.

[PHOTO: 1972 MkII stock arriving at tunnel station: 105kB]

Above: The Bakerloo Line is unique among the major deep-tube lines; the others all serve areas substantially outside the central London area at their extremities, whereas this one terminates near the centre of the captial at this rather dingy-looking station, Elephant & Castle. (8 April 2003 at 17:33)

[PHOTO: headwall area of tube station with 2 trains: 60kB]

Above: This is a view of the same platform (no. 3) as featured above, illustrating the headwall area. The starter signal BS.30 can be seen reflected in the side of the train in the platform, and the train in the distance is using the scissors crossover leading to the other platform. The OPO Monitors – in conjunction with a mirror out of shot above them – show the Train Operator the full length of the train. (8 April 2003 at 17:44)

A rather unhelpful picture which I assure you does depict a 72/2-stock train, can be seen here.

Interior view

[PHOTO: 1972 MkII stock interior at night: 55kB]

The refurbishment of the stock created a pleasant environment inside; circular lamps were fitted to the end walls of cars, although refurbishment to subsequent stocks has seen windows cut in these areas. Seating is a mix of longitudinal (over the bogies) and transverse (between the two sets of double doors) in the usual way, but only in motored cars: the trailers’ seating is all longitudinal; this is also true of the 1967 Victoria Line stock. (Taken near Kenton at about 19:07 on 22 Nov 1998)

Unit 3299

One 4-car unit on the Bakerloo Line is different to all the others, as it has no “middle” cab at its 33xx end, instead an Uncoupling Non-Driving Motor (UNDM). This is the result of much swapping around and amalgamating of vehicles left over from trains which have lost vehicles because of collisions. Its cars are numbered xx99 to draw attention to the fact that it is different to all other members of the fleet.

Life-extension work

In November 2016, works were under way to afford the Bakerloo Line fleet a further extension to its service life, given that the date for these trains’ replacement is still both some way in the future and not clearly defined.

Much of the work involves refurbishment of items beneath the underframe, and includes welding to improve robustness and resolve corrosion issues.

Only one item will be readily apparent to passengers: the lino flooring in the doorway areas will be in a constrating colour to comply with RVAR. Although seating materials are also being updated, this is not as part of this life-extension project.

As of the end of April 2019 this 5-year project was reported as completed, with all 36 trains having been refurbished; the trains are now able to remain in service—as far as body strength and corrosion is concerned, anyway—for another 16 years until 2035.