Category Archives: Q stock stories

Our Q stock story: one year on

By Jullian Urry, Project Manager Q stock Restoration

It’s been a year since London Transport Museum launched the Q stock restoration fundraising appeal to get the last-remaining 1930s Q stock cars running again. It’s time to update you on the progress we have made thanks to your support and the great work of our dedicated volunteers, and look at what lies ahead.

As Project Manager I’ve been dealing with the commercial and financial aspects of the restoration, whilst under the technical leadership of Geoff Thorne, the volunteers have completed most key aspects of the electrical and body restoration to the interior of car 4417, the 1938 driving motor car.

A man standing in the driving cab of a vintage train
Geoff Thorne in our Q stock’s driving cab

Meanwhile, Katarina Mauranen (Curator of Vehicles and Engineering) and a group of Research volunteers have identified the role of the Q stock during the evacuation of school children throughout the early stage of World War Two.  Their research  revealed changes in the fashions worn by Q stock passengers between the 1930s and 1950s, the pay of train guards, and timetable alterations.

Black and white photo of people on a station's platform boarding a train
Q38 Stock at Charing Cross now Embankment station, 1956

In October, the 1938 driving motor car and the 1935 trailer car were pushed out of the Acton Depot’s shed, enabling the wooden milk van to be shunted behind the Museum’s A Stock exhibit. The re-positioning of the 1938 driving motor car allowed us to better evaluate the condition of the underframe equipment.

Colour photo of a brown wooden milk van. Tin milk containers are visible inside
Metropolitan Railway milk van No. 3, 1896

Car 4416 also saw some light of day when the tarpaulin was lifted to allow a more thorough examination. We have commenced an inventory of equipment and components on the car, as well as determined the tasks and repairs to be undertaken.

During 2019, the Museum has held three open days at the Acton Depot and the Q stock received a great amount of footfall.  The strap hangers, once fitted to all London Transport trains, were remarked on by many of the visitors.  After much work by the Q stock volunteers, the saloon doors are operational, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the duty of the train guard, opening and closing one of the sets of double doors – a role that has since been withdrawn over 20 years ago.

Inside of a train with black metal straphangers
Straphangers on Q Stock car

A great deal of work is still required to bring Q stock back to its former glory; if you would like to join the restoration team, please email us at  We meet every Thursday and on the last Saturday of every month.

You can also make a donation to help us keep our Q stock restoration project on track!

Stay up to date with this restoration project and other heritage vehicles related events by signing up to our enewsletter.

Our Q stock story – Restoring three rare 1930s Underground train cars

Work is underway at our Museum Depot in Acton to restore three Q stock cars into operational condition. In November we launched a  fundraising appeal to raise the £200,000 necessary to complete this ambitious restoration project.

Q stock trains first entered service on the District line eighty years ago in 1938. Unlike modern trains with identical carriages, Q stock trains were formed from a range of cars with very different profiles – passengers never knew what formation would pull into their platform!

Built in 1938, the newer Q stock cars were strikingly modern with sleek flared sides and smooth, curved roofs. These were purpose-built to be compatible with a range of older converted cars, with American design features. Dating as far back as 1923, these older cars were originally designated as either N, M, L, K or G stock. Running together, the different Q stock cars revealed the evolution of train design through the 1920s and 1930s.

One of the older Q stock car dating from 1923 is on display at the Museum, preserved exactly as it was when it came out of service in September 1971.

To tell the many stories of the Q stock trains, which were in passenger service for several decades, we decided to restore each car to a different moment in time, exploring different themes.

One car will illustrate wartime Britain, and the evacuation of school children from London in September 1939 at the start of the Second World War. The second will reflect life during the post-war years of austerity as London was being rebuilt in the 1940s. In stark contrast, the final car will show the growing prosperity of the 1950s, when people travelled for pleasure, taking trips to Theatreland in the West End and out to Kew Gardens and Richmond Park.

We are still a long way from choosing advertising posters for the cars and upholstering seats to reflect the three different decades, but work enabling these choices has already begun. In spring 2018 a group of Young Volunteers collected memories from people who remember travelling on Q stock trains along the District line, and a new group of Research Volunteers is going to join us soon, to take this research further.

Our aim is to restore the three 1930s Q stock cars into an operational heritage train, formed from a 1935 trailer car and two 1938 driving motor cars. 

A dedicated team of volunteers from all walks of life – from retired London Underground engineers, to carpenters, and engineering and history students – is carrying out work at Acton Depot, such as cleaning, repairing and overhauling the electrics, and wiring on one of the 1938 driving motor cars.

What unites these seemingly different people is their passion for London’s transport heritage, their drive to see the train operate again, and their willingness to learn something new.
If you would like to join the Q stock restoration team, please email:

Blog by Katariina Mauranen, Project Manager – Vehicle Restoration. Kat works in London Transport Museum’s curatorial department. She joined the Museum in 2014 as curator for the Battle Bus project and has previously worked on the restoration of historic boats.