At the enquiry into a series of minor derailments of the rigid-8s in 1884 (discussed in my previous post), it was discovered that some of the wheelsets were actually lifting clear of the rails. The immediate solution was to alter the wheelsets concerned, but the opportunity was taken in 1887 to order three complete rakes of nine 27′ 6″ 4-wheeled carriages from Craven Bros., and these were formed into rakes as Bk2/2/1/1/3/3/3/3/Bk3. Their delivery coincided with Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee from which the carriages gained their soubriquet.

The design of the 4-wheelers was a departure for the Metropolitan in that the sides and ends had a turnunder (often incorrectly described by railway modellers as a tumblehome), a high waist line, and therefore shorter windows, though they retained toplights to maintain as much light as possible within the compartments. Their wheelbase was 14′, very short for the length of the carriage, though later mainline sets of these carriages had their wheelbases lengthened to 17′ 4″ to promote greater stability at the speeds those particular sets travelled at. These carriages were fitted with a combined centralised pivoting buffer/coupling as used on the New York EL trains, though the outer brake ends had standard buffers and drawgear.

Like their predecessors, they had round-topped doors and ventilator hoods, Pintsch’s pressurised gas lighting, and the simple vacuum brake was fitted until replaced by the automatic vacuum brake in 1891-3. The Inner Circle sets continued the Metropolitan’s tradition of keeping its passengers cold – the only form of heating being footwarmers.

The photo shows one of the main line Jubilees, 1st class carriage no.346 in original (pre-1908), though rather work-stained, condition. This carriage has the longer 17′ 4″ wheelbase, and short side buffers with standard close-coupling drawgear. The confusion experienced with the Metropolitan livery (see my comments in the previous post) can be seen here – it’s a first class carriage but there is no sign of cream paint above the waist, nor does it appear lined. Replicating that finish will be great fun, speaking of which, a rake or two of the Inner Circle Jubilees will be built from etches drawn by John Birch after several brainstorming sessions between us. At the time of writing I have a test etch, but that fount of all Metropolitan Railway knowledge, Ken de Groome, has decreed it needs some adjustment. Watch this space.

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