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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.


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.

February 5th

The allocations for the BRC&W Class 104 DTC and centre cars (56175-89, 59132-234, 59240-4) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

February 3rd

The minutes of the 78th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (October 1960) have been added.

January 25th

The allocations for the BRC&W Class 104 power cars (50420-50598) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

January 21st

The Class 127 Works Photos have been added.

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.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

53333 is the closest vehicle (presumably with 59111 + 51190) in NSE-livered Class 101 set L830 seen at Cambridge in 1991. John Law.

New DMU photo

A refurbished Met-Camm power trailer set at Cambridge circa 1978 with DMBS 51220 closest, attached to a Cravens set. John Law.

New DMU photo

A Class 101 power-trailer DMU departs from Hitchin station in 1980. John Law.

New DMU photo

Met-Camm three-car set 83 seen in March station circa 1971. John Law.

New DMU photo

E50172 at the front of two three-car Met-Camm sets in March station, circa early/mid 1970s. The vehicle carries window bars on the passenger doors from its time in the north east, it would move back north in October 1975, this time to Hull. John Law.


On This Day:

120 DMU

Swindon Cross-Country DMBC W50701 gets some attention at Birmingham Snow Hill on March 22, 1958. It will depart on the 3:40pm to Cardiff General (or Swansea as per the blind?) via Stratford-upon-Avon. Michael Mensing.

101 DMU

Met-Camm set 101310 (presumably 53163 + 59302 + 51234) approaches Kilmaurs station with the 11.59 Kilmarnock to Glasgow Central train on 22-03-1989. Gordon Thomson.

114 DMU

Class 114 driving trailer E54008 leaves Totley Tunnel on the 22nd March 1984 with a Sheffield-New Mills service. Kevin Law.

123 DMU

Class 123 Swindon Inter-City DMS(L) E52103 at the head of a Hull-Manchester Piccadilly service leaves Totley Tunnel and enters Grindleford station on the 22nd March 1984. Kevin Law.

119 DMU

Class 119 set L593 arriving at Deepdene on 22nd March 1984. Ian Buck.

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