C Stock Destination Blind

This destination blind (complete with its original housing) was removed from the cab of C69 car 5529 following the decommissioning of its unit (5529-6529) in June 2014. The unit ended its days on the District line, operating between Edgware Road and Wimbledon; hence, the choice of background colour here (C Stock operation on the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines ceased in February of the same year). Following withdrawal, the unit was coupled to units 5524 and 5720 to make up a complete six-car train. At least some of this train is believed to be being retained, in order that its components can be used in the London Transport Museum’s Q Stock restoration project - clearly, 5529 was surplus to requirements and was duly scrapped.

The actual blind housed within this enclosure is relatively new - the blinds being replaced in December 2009, following the extension of Circle line services along the Hammersmith branch that month. Unusually, the characters are not all in uppercase as the previous C Stock blinds had been; this shift in design being due to the apparent better recognition, from a distance, of individual characters, than the traditional ‘all capitals’ destinations allowed. Surrounding the display are four material strips - these would have acted as a gasket when installed - the enclosure does not feature any glazing over the display, and would instead be pressed up against the blind window in the cab. The dimensions of the steel enclosure (excluding the aluminium rear panel) are L=3 ft (914.40 mm) × W=8 inches (203.20 mm) × D=5.5 inches (139.70 mm).


The top of the enclosure was absolutely filthy - this panel had clearly not seen a liberal coating of Mr Muscle (other brands of cleaning product are available) for some time! The presence of the considerable dirt along this section could be attributed to the presence of a ventilation grille immediately above the box, allowing general tunnel debris to settle on it. The two lugs used in securing the enclosure to the ceiling can be seen at either end.


A length of flexible PVC conduit emerged from an entry hole on the left-hand side of the enclosure. This would have housed the wiring for the internal lighting unit. Notice that the blue paint finish only extends to approximately half of this panel.


The rear panel features a small window that duplicates the destination seen on the outer display - this would ensure that the correct destination was visible to passengers, and that the destination was aligned accurately in the display.


The underside of the enclosure is fully painted, albeit in two slightly different shades of blue.


Oddly, the rear panel appears to have been repainted at some point - this has obscured the original adhesive digits that made up the car number, and so the numbers have been re-written on the panel in marker pen. Just above this, and barely visible here (again, due to the overpainting), is the warning that ‘no unauthorised person is allowed to remain in this driver’s cab’.


The list of destinations available is listed on the far left of the panel; however, these destinations relate to the earlier blind that the C Stock trains carried. A printed sheet detailing the ‘new’ destinations was produced when the blinds were changed, though it is unknown whether one was ever fitted to this cab. Interestingly, there is no mention of the District line, even though many of the destinations are District stations.


Alongside is a label detailing the correct procedure to follow in an emergency situation. ‘SCDs’ are ‘short-circuiting devices’, though I don’t know what an "exetreme" emergency is!


The blind was not quite correctly aligned - as can be seen, the display in the indicator window does not quite fit with the frame.


The crank attaches to the enclosure by means of a short section of pipe - this ensures that the crank’s rotation is not impeded by the overhang of the rear panel.


The rear panel hinges upwards, once two slotted screws along its lower edge are released. Spindles are positioned around the internal mechanism, in order that the secondary display will appear in the window.


A short ‘L’-shaped strip is attached to the top of the inspection window - this would be situated just above the blind with the panel closed.


The winding gears had been greased, although this must have been long ago, as the grease was now rather congealed and did not provide much assistance in rotating the crank.


As with the very-similar A Stock Destination Blind, a central insulated block provides a termination point for the lighting unit’s wiring. The four red wires are labelled DLC, DLD, DLE and DLF; I assume that the ‘DL’ prefix means ‘Destination Light’. The number 10076 is cast into the panel just above the insulated block.


At the other end of the mechanism, the spindles attach to a spring-loaded release device. This allows the spools to be removed relatively easily.


The Philips-made 18 Watt fluorescent lamp was manufactured in April 2011 (the date code that tells me this is the ‘1D’ mark - this is nothing to do with the band One Direction!). It still works perfectly - I am using it as a work light whilst compiling this page! The ‘865’ designation is the code for the lamp’s colour temperature - in this case, it is 6500 K, or ‘cool daylight’ - a white light with a slight blue tinge.


Restoration of the blind commenced immediately after the above pictures were taken. Four short bolts held the mechanism in place from the underside of the enclosure; however, the mechanism was fitted so tightly into the enclosure that the rear panel had to be removed from its hinge. As the panel would also be undergoing a thorough cleaning, the wiring connector was also removed at this time. The blind was wound right to the beginning in preparation for the roll’s detachment from the mechanism. The lime green start of the blind appears to have been used for police forensic work at some point, judging by the amount of fingerprints visible on it!


The small bag alongside the lamp contains various screws, bolts and nuts removed from the enclosure - if they were not stored in this way, they would very quickly be lost! The small blue object nearby that isn’t attached to the enclosure attaches to the underside, and clamps the crank in place.


The underside of the enclosure’s interior was lined with a patch of rust. Although this had successfully attacked the surface, mercifully, it hadn’t burnt all the way through.


The underside of the mechanism was similarly rusted (from being in contact with the enclosure) but was otherwise in good condition. At either end of the blind material, a thin rod passes through - this slides into a channel cut into each spindle, ensuring that the blind will not detach whilst in use. The end caps detach, in order to allow for these rods to slide into place. Four guide rollers assist the material through the mechanism.


The guide rollers have a spring-loaded end, allowing simple removal. The conical objects attached to the end sections are where the rollers fasten.


At the other end, the sprung plate that supports the spindles can be more fully appreciated with the blind removed.


This view of the inside of the rear panel was taken moments before cleaning commenced - the position of the insulating terminal block is obvious, thanks to it being somewhat whiter than the rest of the panel was!


With the panel cleaned, some hidden features once again become visible.


Not only did the jet washing reveal the proper number digits, but the remains of the ‘No unauthorised person...’ message also reappeared.


Cleaning the inside of the panel also removed some of the paint from the lamp support brackets, as well as the foam gasket surrounding the panel.


The front of the enclosure’s gasket strips were also removed. Again, notice that the blue paint does not extend to the front panel.


Whilst the insides of the enclosure were now far more presentable, the jet washing had also taken its toll on the blue paint applied to the underside of the enclosure. For this reason (and because of the presence of the rust patch), I decided at this point that the enclosure would be sent away for sand blasting, as well as a complete repaint.


The inspection window frame and its ‘L’-shaped bracket cleaned up well, and did not require any further remedial work.


Meanwhile, the mechanism was also subjected to the unforgiving blast of the jet wash, with hand cleaning of the frame, spindles and guide rollers complementing the work.


A 600 mm LED strip light was shoehorned into the space previously occupied by the fluorescent lamp on the rear panel. The insulated connector block and window glass were yet to be refitted at this stage.


Restored observation window. Notice that a new adhesive foam strip has been added to the panel surround.


Although the insulated connector block for the light fitting was not to be re-used, it was also given a thorough cleaning. The picture below features the nuts, bolts and washers after being bathed in a mildly acidic solution.


Re-fitted to the panel.


The enclosure returned from its refurbishment on Wednesday, 27th August 2014.


The steelwork was sandblasted before being powder coated gloss white all over. The external bodywork was then painted in "Cornflower Blue" (BS 4800 20 E 51); the same colour employed to Underground train cabs after refurbishment in the 1990s.


What a difference a new paint finish makes!


As with the C Stock trains themselves, the rust patch on the lower inside of the enclosure had been confined to history.


A 25 mm diameter grommet was placed in the cable entry hole, in order to protect the supply cable for the light from any potential sharp edges surrounding the hole.


The mechanism was then re-fitted and its frame secured with the four bolts now visible on the enclosure’s underside. The gears were given a liberal coating of copper grease at this time.


Finally, the rear panel was reattached to its hinge.


The panel was then closed and secured.


Front view.


Prior to installing the blind (where the rear panel would not be visible), I wanted to photograph a somewhat unfortunate mistake that existed with the ‘Circle Line via Aldgate’ miniature destination - ‘Aldgate’ is misspelled as ‘Aldergate’. This is almost a nod to the former name of Barbican station, which was known as ‘Aldersgate Street’ when it opened; the ‘Street’ suffix being dropped in 1910. The name change to the present ‘Barbican’ occurred in December 1968. The correct ‘Aldgate’ destination is displayed on the outer-facing side of the blind.


The whole assembly was then fitted to a couple of heavy-duty shelving brackets and the supply to the light fitting connected up.


Without the flash, the uniformity of the internal illumination could be appreciated.


In order to compensate for the overhang of the rear panel, wooden blocks were fastened between the brackets and the enclosure. Strips of Velcro were then applied, in order that the enclosure remained fixed whilst the crank was rotated.


The destination that puts the ‘C’ in ‘C Stock’ isn’t really a destination at all, but a line...namely,











I decided to produce a facsimile of the destination list attached to the rear panel, but updated to reflect the destinations listed on the 2009 blind. The idea being that this would be attached to the wall near the blind, in order that I would know where a specific destination occurred on the blind. A PDF copy of this document can be downloaded here.


The following video shows the blind being rotated from one end to the other; note the considerable ‘creaking’ from the material as it passes through the mechanism:

The full complement of destinations is displayed below; click the thumbnail image to download individual destinations (note - the full-sized images are 4288 × 3216 in size).

Not in service Circle line to Edgware Road Circle line via Aldgate Circle line to Hammersmith Barking
Plaistow Whitechapel Aldgate Aldgate East Liverpool Street
Moorgate Farringdon King’s Cross Baker Street Wembley Park
Embankment South Kensington Circle Line Gloucester Road Upminster
West Ham Ealing Broadway Richmond Mansion House Tower Hill
Earl’s Court Putney Bridge Parsons Green High Street Kensington Olympia
Wimbledon Edgware Road Hammersmith via Paddington Goldhawk Road  

Postscript - the issue with the alignment of the blind was caused by the rollers and spindles of the mechanism being slightly wider than the material. This was eventually rectified using foam guide strips attached to these parts of the mechanism, in order to prevent the material from rolling off-centre.



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