Hurst Nelson

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Hurst, Nelson and Company Ltd was a railway rolling stock manufacturer based in Motherwell, Scotland. The company also built many railway wagons, as well as trams and trolleybus carosseries for several local authorities.


The company built the original trailer carriages for the Glasgow Subway. A batch of 24 four-wheeled vehicles were supplied in 1898. The wheels were of teak, with Bessemer steel tyres, and each had 24 seats, twelve along each side of the carriage. They were similar in style, although shorter than the gripper cars supplied by the Oldbury Railway Carriage and Wagon Company for the opening of the cable-hauled railway in 1896. They were not fitted with a mechanism for gripping the cable, nor did they have automatic brakes, and so relied on the brakes of the gripper cars in operation. Manual hand brakes were provided, and shackles were provided at each corner, so that they could be lowered down onto the tracks at the car sheds pits. Electric lighting was supplied by a jumper cable running from the adjacent gripper car, and the vehicles weighed 4.65 tons. Hurst Nelson displayed one of them at the Earl's Court exhibition centre in London.[1]

The company also supplied vehicles for the London Underground. In August 1905, they delivered two battery-electric locomotives, which were used for the construction of the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway, and subsequently for the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway. They were 50.5 feet (15.4 m) long, with a cab at both ends and a compartment behind one of the cabs, which housed braking and traction control equipment. 80 batteries, arranged as two rows of 40, occupied the central section of the vehicle, which was lower than the cabs. Chloride Electrical Storage Company supplied the batteries, which had to be charged at charging stations. The vehicles weighed 55 tons, and were not fitted with current collector shoes, since none of the rails were electrified during construction.[2]

Extensions and improvements to the District Railway (later the District line of the London Underground) in the early 1900s required additional rolling stock, and in 1910 Hurst Nelson received an order for 32 motor cars and 20 trailers, which were similar in both construction and appearance, and were known as C Stock. Traction control used a non-automatic electro-magnetic controller supplied by British Thomson-Houston Co., but the motors were to a new design, which included interpoles. They were the first use of such motors on the Underground, and probably in England. The cars were 49.5 feet (15.1 m) long, with double doors in the centre, and single doors at either end. Much of the bodywork was made of wood. There were some problems with the motor bogies, and 60 new bogies were provided between 1910 and 1922, although not all were for the Hurst Nelson vehicles, as the problem also affected the D Stock and E Stock, which had been supplied by other manufacturers in 1912 and 1914. The C stock trailer cars were subsequently modified at Acton Works to become motor cars in the 1928 Reconstruction Programme.[3]


  1. ^ Wright and Maclean (1997), pp.18, 28
  2. ^ Bruce (1987), p.26
  3. ^ Bruce (1970), pp.91-92


  • J. Graeme Bruce (1970). Steam to Silver. London Transport Executive. ISBN 0-85329-012-1. 
  • J. Graeme Bruce (1987). Workhorses of the London Underground. Capital Transport Publishing. ISBN 0-904711-87-0. 
  • John Wright; Ian Maclean (1997). Circles under the Clyde. Capital Transport Publishing. ISBN 1-85414-190-2. 

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