1938 tube stock

London Underground 1938 Stock

The 1938 Tube Stock is a London Underground tube stock design. The trains were built by Metro-Cammell and Birmingham RC&W, and were used on the London Underground until 1988. During their long lives they worked on the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Northern, East London and Central lines.


As built, the 1938 Stock was numbered as follows:

10012 - 10323
90324 - 90333
11012 - 11323
91324 - 91333
12000 - 12028
12059 - 12157
12409 - 12411
12422 - 12446
92029 - 92058
92447 - 92466 012158 - 012388
012412 - 012421
012467 - 012476
092389 - 092408

Use on different lines

The 1938 Stock was built as part of the London Passenger Transport Board's New Works Programme 1935-1940. The trains were primarily intended for use the Northern and Bakerloo Lines, with an additional seven trains also being used on the Piccadilly Line.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the Northern Line was worked exclusively by 1938/1949 Stock trains. They were starting to show their age by the late 1960s; the first withdrawals from the Northern Line took place in the early 1970s with the introduction of the 1972 Stock trains.

In the mid-1970s the Bakerloo Line started to use 1972 Stock (Mark II) cars in addition to 1938 Stock. The 1972 Stock cars were intended for eventual use on the Jubilee Line (which opened in 1979), thereafter the remaining section of the Bakerloo Line continued to be served exclusively by 1938 Stock cars until the 1980s. The Bakerloo Line trains received an "Extra Heavy Overhaul" (EHO) to keep them in service long after their intended withdrawal date. The Bakerloo Line was thus the last line to be operated solely by 1938 Stock trains.

The Piccadilly Line's few 1938 Stock trains operated alongside 1959 Stock for much of their lives. They were replaced by London Underground 1973 Stock, with the 1959 Stock being transferred to the Northern Line, replacing other 1938 Stock trains.

During the 1970s the East London Line was worked by 1938 Stock trains, replacing trains of Q Stock. Single 1938 Stock trailer carriages were also inserted into 1960 Stock trains; these were used on the Woodford–Hainault and Epping–Ongar sections of the Central Line.

With the 1959 Stock approaching life-expiry, five ex-Bakerloo Line trains of 1938 Stock were given a further overhaul in the mid 1980s. These were then used on the Northern Line for a further two years, being finally withdrawn in 1988 and sold for further use on the Isle of Wight (see below).

Nine-car trains

As part of the New Works Programme of 1935-1940, there were plans to operate nine-car trains of 1938 stock on the Northern Line. These cars were originally numbered differently from the other cars, the first digit '1' being replaced by a '9'.

The formation for a nine-car train was DM + NDM + SNDM + T + NDM + T + SNDM + NDM + DM.

Plans to operate nine-car trains did not work out and so in the early 1950s the cars were renumbered. The DMs and trailers had the '9' replaced by a '1', the DMs becoming 10324-10333, 11324-11333 and the trailers 012389-012408. Twenty-eight of the thirty NDMs were likewise renumbered, the exception being 92055 and 92058 which were rebuilt into UNDMs along with all twenty SNDMs. The twenty two cars rebuilt into UNDMs were renumbered 30000-30021.

1935/1949 Stock

So successful was the 1938 Stock that, when in 1948 additional cars were needed, 91 almost identical cars were built, 70 non-driving-motor (NDM) cars and 21 trailer cars. These were known as 1949 stock and operated with the 1938 stock. They were numbered in the same scheme; the UNDMs were numbered 30022-30045, 31000-31045 and the trailers 012495-012515.

After World War II, the former 1935 stock streamlined DMs were rebuilt into trailers, and included with the 1938 stock, being renumbered 012477-012494. Before the war, three trailers were built for use with the streamlined DMs. These three cars differed from the 1938 trailers in that they were not equipped with compressors. However the cars were not delivered until after the war and with the DMs rebuilt the three cars became part of the 1938 stock fleet, being numbered 012412-012414, and fitted with compressors.

58 trailers

In 1938 fifty-eight 'Standard Stock' trailers, originally built in 1927, were converted to operate with the 1938 Stock. These cars were renumbered 70513–70570. The first car withdrawn was 70550, as a result of damage sustained in an accident at Watford in 1962, and the last car, 70534, was withdrawn in 1973.

Isle of Wight

The only examples still in daily use are the six units that survive operating the Island Line service on the Isle of Wight, and allocated TOPS Class 483. Ten sets (nine serviceable; a total of twenty cars) were bought by Network SouthEast from London Underground in 1988.

After running many years in NSE colours, the trains were repainted into 'dinosaur' livery. However, as of mid 2008, all trains had been returned to an approximation of their original LT train red livery; albeit with yellow fronts as per mainline regulations

'A' DM 'D' DM
10116 123 11116 223
10139 spare 11142 225
10142 125 11172 spare
10184 121 11184 221
10205 124 11205 224
10221 122 11221 222
10229 129 11229 229
10255 128 11255 228
10291 127 11291 227
10297 126 11297 226


An accident involving 1938 stock occurred at Moorgate on the 28 February 1975. A train crashed into the dead end wall of the station, killing 43 people including the driver.


In addition, some other units survive in preservation, including cars from the first-built unit, which are preserved at the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton. The preserved sets have been restored into their original red liveries, one with an orange roof (Bakerloo line) and one with a grey roof (other lines). The four-car preserved set regularly ventures onto the LU system for railtours and occasional filming work.

'A' DM T NDM 'D' DM Location
10012 012256 12048 11178 London Transport Museum, Acton
- - - 11182 London Transport Museum, Covent Garden
- 012231 - - London Underground, Acton Works (Scrapped, Booths, Rotherham 2006)
DM Driving motor
T Trailer
NDM Non-driving motor


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