Sign In

  Remember Me

Not registered?

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 / Set Data


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.


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.


May 5th

The minutes of the 81st Diesel Trains Committee meeting (February 1961) have been added.

April 29th

A list of DMU lot numbers has been added with images of worksplates.

April 24th

A look at another DMU accident - a collision between a Class 108 and an engineer's wagon at Carnforth in 1988.

April 14th

A new search option has been added for set data. This will find any formation details so far added to the database for that particular set number, and display any images.

April 7th

The allocations for the twenty-one driver-trailer Class 108 sets delivered to the ER (50599-50619 + 56190-56210) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

April 4th

The minutes of the 80th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (December 1960) have been added.

April 1st

A look at the introduction of set numbers on the ScR in 1966.

March 18th

The minutes of the 79th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (December 1960) have been added.

February 17th

A feature by Jonathan Horswell on the unofficial names that appeared in the 1980/90s.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

A Class 108 2-car DMU, consisting of 54493/51942, departs Wellingborough on May 8, 1987, with a working to Corby during the short period between 1987-1990 that Corby station was open on an "experimental" basis. Lewis Bevan.

New DMU photo

One of the DMU shuttle services run by BR in connection with Coalville Open Day on 31 May 1987 passes Moira West Junction. The leading set is a hybrid set with a 115 leading. Lewis Bevan.

New DMU photo

Class 122 single unit M55004 (built by the Gloucester RC & W Co in 1958) at Kettering with the 09.13 service to Corby on 16 April 1987. This was the day that services were restored to Corby after a gap of 21 years, the station having been closed in April 1966 when regular passenger trains over the Oakham-Kettering line were withdrawn. The 1987 re-opening was on an "experimental" basis, and services were withdrawn again as from 2 June 1990. This closure left Corby as, allegedly, the largest town in Europe without a rail service, and, in the ensuing years, there were various proposals for trains to serve Corby once again. But it would be nearly 19 years until East Midlands Trains re-introduced a regular service, including through trains to London, to the town. Lewis Bevan.

New DMU photo

A Class 114 2-car unit, nos. 53045/54004, at Nottingham on 4 August 1984. Lewis Bevan.

New DMU photo

Two Class 120 sets at Blackpool on 18 May 1984. The set on the left (with oval buffers) worked was the 10.55 to Manchester Victoria. Lewis Bevan.


On This Day:

121 DMU

165 022 with the 17:48 Princes Risborough- Aylesbury alongside 977873 after arrival at Aylesbury on Wednesday 21st May 2008. Colin Brooks.

108 DMU

A dmu leaves Southport on 21 May 1988 with a train headed towards Wigan Wallgate and Manchester. Lewis Bevan.

100 DMU

Class 100 977191 is seen awaiting disposal at Crewe works during the open day on 21.05.2000. It was converted from 54106 and was used as part of the Crewe test train. Andy Cole.

101 DMU

Set 63 E54218 + E51428 and Set 72 E51201 + E54347 seen on a Norwich to Cambridge working north of Ely around 4pm on 21st May 1989. Surface Stock.

101 DMU

Met-Camm sets stabled at what is believed to be Wapping siding at Millhouse shed on May 21st, 1967. Stuart Mackay Collection.

© 1998 - 2018