From the 1950s through to the early years of the 1980s the 4-SUB unit was the face of suburban rail travel in south and south-west London. If you were returning from work, school, shopping, a football match or a family day out back to your suburban home, then this was the train that got you there.

The first 4-SUB units were built by the Southern Railway in 1941, but due to the demands of WWII work did not start on the construction of the bulk of the fleet until 1946. Between then and 1951, a total of 175 new 4-car units were built.

The SUBs differed from previous EMU builds in having all steel bodies of welded construction. Internally their layout was still very traditional with a mix of closed compartments and semi saloons with high density 2+3 seating in an effort to provide as many passengers as possible with a chance of getting a seat during the frenzy of the morning and evening rush hours in and out of the South London terminal stations of Victoria, London Bridge and Waterloo.

Trains of SUB units, working either alone or in multiple with class mates were the backbone of these services for over 30 years until they were phased out in the early 1980s. During their working life each unit covered hundreds of thousands of miles and was responsible for millions of individual passenger journeys without ever having been substantially modified from the original design.

 

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