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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.


December 15th

The minutes of the 77th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (September 1960) have been added.

November 16th

The minutes of the 76th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (August 1960) have been added.

November 11th

Three new destination blinds have been added, from Chester in the late 1980s, from the Scottish Region in the early 1980s, and from the North Eastern Region circa late '80s/early '90s.

October 31st

The minutes of the 75th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (July 1960) have been added.

October 29th

The allocations for the Derby Class 107s have been added to the individual vehicle pages. Also the Class 107 operations page has been re-written.

October 27th

A new destination blind, from Marylebone in the 1970s has been added.

September 21st

The minutes of the 74th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (June 1960) have been added.

August 28th

The allocations for the Derby Class 114s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

July 18th

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

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

On 03/01/1978, a Class 105 forms the 1215 Newcastle-Sunderland seen at the construction site of Heworth station - the train appears to be following what would become the Metro tracks. Graeme Phillips Collection.

New DMU photo

Class 116 set C330 (presumably 51128 + 59357 + 51141) arrived into Barry station with a service for Barry Island on September 23, 1985. Hamish Stevenson.

New DMU photo

Class 116 set C313 (W53847 closest, presumably with 59040 + 53900) sits in the platform at Clifton Down on September 20, 1985, with the 10:03 Bristol - Severn Beach service. Hamish Stevenson.

New DMU photo

The 13:03 Kilmacolm - Glasgow service is seen near Kilmacolm on December 28, 1979. Formed of a three-car Class 116 DMU, note that the centre car has gangways fitted but the power cars do not! Hamish Stevenson.

New DMU photo

Class 118 set T318 (51331 + 59483 + 51316) is seen in Skegness station ready to work the 12:22 Skegness - Burton service on September 17, 1988. Hamish Stevenson.


On This Day:

116 DMU

Class 116 DMBS M51138 leads Tyseley set TS622 at Birmingham Moor Street on 21st January 1984 Kevin Law.

115 DMU

A Class 115 set sits in London St.Pancras station about to depart with the 1.35pm to Bedford on January 21st, 1961. Some of these worked this line with the 127s before transferring to Marylebone. If the power unit can be seen it is a 115 set, on a 127 they are further underneath. Michael Mensing.

116 DMU

C362 (53128 + 53086) on an ECS at Cardiff Central after arriving from Treherbert on the 21st January 1989. Gazza Prescott.

116 DMU

C362 (53086 + 53128) leaves Grangetown while working the 15:38 Cardiff Queen St. - Penarth, 21st January 1989. Gazza Prescott.

125 DMU

A Derby Class 125 set in Liverpool Street with the 3.20pm to Cheshunt, 21/1/61. Michael Mensing.

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