If you travel on the sub-surface lines, you might not be aware of it, but the trains have a small point of interest in their door design.

It’s only a minor issue, but the front and rear pair of doors are noticeably smaller than the rest of the train.

Compare below:

The smaller doors are 1.2 metres wide, while the rest of the doors on the S-Stock trains are 1.9 metres wide.

It’s a small thing, but in an odd way, on a train that is otherwise totally uniform in design and appearance, to know there’s this slight difference to the uniformity at each end is strangely pleasing.

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16 comments on “Ever noticed the London Underground trains smaller doors?
  1. John Usher says:

    Speculation – to allow similar seating capacity in the end cars as the other cars due to a reduction in car capacity caused by the driver’s cabs?

  2. JP says:

    Any idea why, or is it simply that the driver’s cab takes up room so the doors have to be smaller to fit in to the otherwise totally uniform design? I expect that there’s a website somewhere with all the measurements to explain it or perhaps some of your more learned contributors will have the answer.
    A regular user of them, I have never noticed the difference. Still, it’s good to have one’s observations and certainties challenged now and then. Makes the day go better. Thanks.

  3. goldenarrow says:

    Even with a set of narrower doors at the front and back, front/end cars on the S stock are still roughly 2 meters longer at 17.4m with the intermediate cars coming at about 15.4m.

    There’s also another caveat to the S stocks uniform appearance in the middle cars where the multi-use backboard (used to hold wheelchairs, prams and bikes in place) means that the windows are off centre with a smaller window for the bay made up of two and three tip up seats respectively.

    • Taz says:

      Almost as exciting as the doors, that non-standard window is the same as those between the end doors and driver’s cab.

  4. Dread says:

    I never knew that and I used to drive them!

  5. 100andthirty says:

    Plan A was for all the doors to be uniform and for the cab doors to be swing plug design which would clear the first set of open sliding doors. When the decision was made to lower the floor (plan B), there was worry that swing plug cab doors might foul some platforms. The result was sliding cab doors and reduced width first set of passenger doors.

  6. Zackary Peck says:

    This is the most boring article I’ve ever read. Fire the “writer.”

  7. William Nunn says:

    This is sad. What about an article about dating methods and technique for men and women alike. I feel condemned here. It’s a class 43 Luke, a class 43 diesel!

  8. Richard says:

    Yes, I had noticed that, thought it was a quaintly quirky thing. I want to see the red trains with the green seats brought back.

  9. Rob says:

    Sad fact the picture of the smaller doors is a Met line tube coming into Finchley Road. Its my daily commute for last 20 years Im never able to get a seat and stand next to those doors.

  10. Madrac says:

    Front and rear doors are used only by people sitting to the left or to the right of the door. Middle ones are used by both people on the left and right, thats why they are bigger. People inside the train it is, not those at the platforms..

  11. Ant says:

    It’s because S stock trains are longer then then the old A stock trains so when they are in the city the last set of doors do not open in the tunnel, you may have noticed at certain stations Euston Sq ect the rear doors do not open at all, and the same northbound coming out of the city short platforms, that is why the doors are less wide a cheaper option then extending the platforms.

  12. Albert Stevens says:

    Seems quite logical the end doors allow entry to the left OR right and the centre ones allow entry to both left AND right.

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