Second-class Suburban Carriage. Great Eastern Railway.

"The steam-hauled suburban service of the Great Eastern, worked from its terminal stations at Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street, was one of the phenomena of the railway network of London. Most of the trains were made up of entirely four-wheeled coaches, close-coupled as can be inferred by the design of the buffers shown in our illustration, and including first-, second- and third-class carriages. The 'firsts' were quite luxurious in their seating, though they rode rather 'hard'. The 'seconds' were much more cramped, and although having cushioned seats were straight-backed, and gave little room for the knees. The 'thirds' sat on bare boards, and the partitions extended only to shoulderheight. A third-class carriage was thus virtually open, and one could easily climb over the partition from one section to another. But although the accomodation was Spartan for the majority of travellers, the service was very smartly run. There were literally swarms of trains, and to see them follow each other out of Liverpool Street in the evening rush-hour was an object lesson as to what could be done when efficient steam locomotives were backed by a superb oper ating organization. Stopping times at intermediate stations were reckoned in seconds rather than minutes, and to enable passengers of the three classes to recognize their compartments quickly the doors were at one time painted in bright distinctive colours. This led to the nickname "Jazz Trains," but while the coloured doors have long been forgotten by the public the Liverpool Street suburban service has ever since been known to railwayman as "the jazz," even now that it is changed out of all recognition, and worked by electric multiple unit trains." [Nock, pp. 115-16]


Nock, O. S. The Pocket Encylopaedia of World Railways. Illustrations by Clifford and Wendy Meadway. Poole: Blandford Press, 1967.

Last modified 11 September 2004