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N2 69523 hauling three Suburbans in November 1997. All three coaches have since been withdrawn for overhaul. (Steve Allen)

N2 69523 hauling three Suburbans in November 1997. All three coaches have since been withdrawn for overhaul. (Steve Allen)

GWR Prarie 4561 hauls a rake of Suburbans under Bridge 304, April 1996. (Steve Allen)

GWR Prarie 4561 hauls a rake of Suburbans under Bridge 304, April 1996. (Steve Allen)

'The Suburban 4'

'The Suburban 4' project to restore four Mk.I Suburbans will help us to tell the story of the commuter train and the social and economic benefits that they brought to London and its northern suburbs. With your help and support these vehicles can be returned to revenue earning service on the North Norfolk Railway.

Suburban Set List

SLO E48001: Built 1955, Doncaster.

CL E43041: Built 1954, Doncaster.

S E46139: Built 1954, Wolverton.

BS E43357: Built 1955, York.


Rolling Stock       Quad-Art Set       Suburban Set       Mainline Set       Vintage Set       Freight & Goods Wagons      

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In 2011 the Suburban 4 project was launched. The project is a joint venture between the M&GN Joint Railway Society and the North Norfolk Railway.

The aim is to restore four British Railways Mk.I 1950s Suburban coaches to tell the story of post-war commuter travel. The Suburbans were built to replace coaches such as our 1924 Quad-Art set.

The name 'Suburban' comes from the fact that the coaches were designed and built to serve the high capacity commuter trains that ran from London King's Cross and Moorgate. After the war, the coaching stock was in desperate need of replacement, so the standard Mk.I Suburban was developed.

Out of the six designs produced, four of were used on the Eastern Region: Second (S), Brake Second (BS), Second Lavatory Open (SLO) and Lavatory Composite (CL), the latter two types being employed exclusively on the Eastern Region. The North Norfolk Railway purchased several Mk.I Suburban coaches after the lines out of King's Cross were electrified in the 1970s. However, after years of use the Suburbans in use on the NNR became sidelined in favour of the larger British Railways Mk.I standard coaches that are now used on most passenger trains.

As well as of intrinsic historical value, the Mk 1 Suburbans have a business role to play on the NNR providing much needed extra capacity at times of peak travel – just the type of work for which they were designed. The project received a massive boost in April 2013 with a grant of £99,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund that will see S E46139 and CL E43041 restored with grant money as part of the 'The Railways and the Suburbs' project. The project will include an exhibition to enable visitors to learn about how the railways influenced the growth of the suburbs, and about the technologies involved in the design of locomotives and carriages specifically for suburban commuting.

By preserving and restoring the coaches back to their former glory, in the condition they left the factory over 60 years ago, we will be able to show the story of commuter travel in Britain over a 50 year period whilst preserving several coaches that may otherwise be at risk of scrapping.

We have preserved an example of each design and we will eventually restore them to form a working set. The preserved vehicles are: SLO E48001, CL E43041, S E46139 and BS E43357.

(Below top): CL E43041 at Weybourne behind B12 61572. This vehicle was withdrawn from service in 2005. (Ben Boggis)

(Below bottom): BS E43357 at Weybourne in 1994. This vehicle is still in service but requires work to secure it's long term future. (Steve Allen)

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Original article by Steve Allen.

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The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Society is the supporting charity of (and major shareholder in) the North Norfolk Railway, which operates a 5¼ mile heritage railway from Sheringham to Holt.

The Society actively works to preserve, display and operate a wide range of historical artefacts which include four steam locomotives and many unique carriages and wagons.

Design and Content © M&GN Society 2012 - 2013

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