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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


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.


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

Near the end of railcar operation at Longsite Depot. Ian Buck.

New DMU photo

Arriving at Mosspark on the Paisley Canal line. Ian Buck.

New DMU photo

Ian Buck.

New DMU photo

Leaving Glasgow Central Ian Buck.

New DMU photo

Arrived at Paisley Canal from Glasgow Central. Ian Buck.


On This Day:

108 DMU

53963 and 54250 and another two-car set in Bingley station on August 17th, 1988. Rex Holt.

108 DMU

53963 and 54240 are the front set in this formation arriving into Bingley station on August 17th, 1988. Rex Holt.

105 DMU

An Express Parcels 2-car DMU (Class 105 E53364 & E53373) runs through Stratford station from the direction of Thornton Fields and heading towards Temple Mills - 17/08/1988 (11:09). 53A Models of Hull Collection.

127 DMU

A Class 127 Bed-Pan unit in Bedford Midland station after the rain on 17th August 1974. 54A South Dock.

116 DMU

Class 116 set C302 departs from Llanishen station on the 17th August 1985. Steve Davies Collection.

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