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The history of First Generation DMUs


The Railcar website provides information on the British Railways first generation DMUs (a.k.a. diesel multiple units / railcars) introduced in the 1950s.

The six key sections of the website are:

  • Types - looks at each type of DMU in detail
  • Topics - features articles on differernt aspects of the vehicles and personal recollections
  • Technology - describes the technical details of how they work
  • Data - various lists of numerical details
  • Images - galleries featuring DMUs
  • Books - details the books and other printed materials made available over the years that have relevance

Details of railcars in preservation can be found on The Railcar Association website.


Vehicle Data

Vehicle:


DMU Images Wanted!

Do you have photos of First Generation DMUs? The more images we have the better we can tell the DMU story and make it more useful to visitors. Images can be loaded directly onto the site - just register as a user and upload! Alternatively if you have images on flickr or another website I can do the uploads for you - just let me know.


Scope

This website contains details about the First Generation DMUs. This includes the 4-wheel diesel railbuses, ACV / BUT railcars, the Battery Multiple Unit (BMU) and Blue Pullmans. It covers the period from their introduction to British Railways in the 1950s till their withdrawal and disposal from main-line use, but NOT preservation.

Because of the vast amount of data that this covers and the amount of information I have still to process I cannot include the DEMUs introduced on the Southern Region in the same era, nor Second Generation or later types.


Updates

Holiday Time

The normal daily batch of image uploads will resume after August 13th. If you have any DMU images feel free to add them here while I'm gone.

July 18th

A more detailed look at the Class 114s in parcel use has been added.

July 16th

The minutes of the 72nd Diesel Trains Committee meeting (March 1960) have been added.

June 29th

The allocations for the GRC&W Class 128s and BRC&W Class 110s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

June 19th

The minutes of the 71st Diesel Trains Committee meeting (February 1960) have been added.

June 14th

Eric Stuart remembers the early years of DMUs as he presents his Railcar Memories.

May 24th

The minutes of the 70th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (December 1959) have been added.

May 20th

The allocations for the remainder of the Cravens Class 105s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

May 18th

A more expanded look at the Class 120 DMUs that operated in Scotland. There are two parts, the original seven sets and the late 1980s.

May 6th

The allocations for the second batch of Cravens Class 105s (50752-817 and 59307-25) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

NSE class 117 set no. L706 formed 51408 & 51366 and L721 (51405 & 51363) have arrived ECS at Bletchley station. The driver has completed checking his train and now heads to the cab to take the units to Bletchley carriage sidings. Robert Chilton.

New DMU photo

NSE class 117 set no. L706 formed 51408 & 51366 leads L721 (51405 & 51363) out of Bletchley station. The destination from the last working is still shown: Barking - Gospel Oak; the units are in fact bound for Bletchley carriage sidings. Robert Chilton.

New DMU photo

With the shunt signal cleared, NSE class 117 set L721 formed 51405 & 51363 trails L706 (51408 & 51366) out of Bletchley station to the carriage sidings. Robert Chilton.

New DMU photo

Class 121 set no. L127 at Bletchley on Bedford - Bletchley shuttle duties. Robert Chilton.

New DMU photo

Class 121 set no. L127 at Bletchley on Bedford - Bletchley shuttle duties. Robert Chilton.

More...

On This Day:

108 DMU

At least two 2-car units are seen at Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, heading to Barrow-in-Furness, 22/07/1985 Graeme Phillips Collection.

101 DMU

E50264 leads a three-car Met-Camm away from Whitby with a Scarborough service on July 22nd, 1958. Michael Mensing.

118 DMU

Class 118 set P470 seen at Middleway on July 22nd, 1982. Steve Davies Collection.

101 DMU

Regional Railways Metropolitan-Cammell unit 101678 (53746-51210) shortly after leaving Ashley forming an afternoon Manchester Piccadilly to Chester service on 22 July 1999. Christmas Eve 2003 saw the end of the final Class 101 Metro-Cammell DMU’s in service with First North Western, up until that time having had regular duties on the Manchester Piccadilly – Marple corridor. Following a period of storage at Shoeburyness, unit 101678 eventually found a home in preservation on the Wensleydale Railway. Long before the route of HS2 was proposed, the DMU is precisely in the location where the Phase 2 route of the line to Manchester will eventually cross! Gordon Edgar.

120 DMU

Taken on-board Swindon Cross Country DMS 53675 at Penhilig, 22nd July 1985. The reflection shows the lights are on ready for going through the tunnel, ones on the luggage rack being prominent. Tim Stubbs.

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