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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

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.

April 27th

The minutes of the 69th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (November 1959) have been added.

March 27th

The allocations for the first batch of Cravens Class 105s (50359-94 and 56114-49) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

March 23rd

The minutes of the 68th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (October 1959) have been added.

March 13th

The allocations for the Swindon Class 120s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

February 23rd

The minutes of the 67th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (August 1959) have been added.

January 29th

The allocations for the GRC&W Class 100s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

L418 runs into Hayes and Harlington station in April 1983 with a Reading service. Stuart Mackay Collection.

New DMU photo

L404 approaches Southall station in June 1983. 51337 leads, the other two vehicles are presumably 59489 and 51379. Stuart Mackay Collection.

New DMU photo

A Class 104 departs from Stratford with a Woolwich service. The power cars are 50576 and 50570, the centre car is probably 59212. Date unknown, the vehicles were allocated to Stratford 1969 - 1977. Stuart Mackay Collection.

New DMU photo

A Class 104 departs from Stratford with a Woolwich service. The power cars are 50570 and 50576, the centre car is probably 59212. Date unknown, the vehicles were allocated to Stratford 1969 - 1977. Stuart Mackay Collection.

New DMU photo

E79964 at Low Fell on 24th May 1965 during transfer (on loan) to South Gosforth for trials on the Alston branch. Trevor Ermel.

More...

On This Day:

120 DMU

A Class 120 set seen at Trent junction on June 26th, 1979. Rex Holt.

119 DMU

Class 119 51095, set number T589, is seen inside the factory at Tyseley in BR blue and grey livery, 26.06.1988. Andy Cole.

117 DMU

L434 (W51414 closest) at Cookham on the 26th June 1979 in the short lived blue stripe livery. 54A South Dock.

108 DMU

A 2-car Class 108 DMU arrives at Sellafield on 26th June 1991. In the background 31312 can be seen in the siding with a nuclear flask wagon. Syd Young.

108 DMU

A dirty E53958 and E54227 are seen awaiting departure from Carlisle with a service to Whitehaven on 26/06/91. A fleet of 2-car power-trailer Class 108 DMUs, allocated to Kingmoor (KD) depot, Carlisle, were the mainstay of Cumbrian Coast services for many years. Upon the closure of that depot in May 1988, most were transferred to Heaton (HT) depot, Newcastle, still intended to continue with Cumbrian services (the rest went to Chester (CH) depot for services in north Lancashire). They lasted until November 1991, when finally replaced by then newly-converted Class 153 single car units. Graeme Phillips Collection.

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