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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 / 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.


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 07th

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.

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.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

Set 514 arrives into Edinburgh Waverley in 1986. It is presumably formed Class 120 53705, Class 101 59559 and Class 104 53491. S Saunders.

New DMU photo

104450 (with presumably 53505 closest) at Haymarket depot with an open day shuttle for the 'ScotRail Festival' in August 1985. S Saunders.

New DMU photo

This DMU line-up in Haymarket depot circa 1984 contains Class 122 55011 and several Met-Camms. S Saunders.

New DMU photo

An unknown Class 101 DMBS on Haymarket depot circa 1984. One of the passenger windows seems to be missing from the middle saloon. S Saunders.

New DMU photo

This is presumed to be 55011 (left) and 55002 (right, with a cabside damage). Taken at Haymarket depot circa 1984. S Saunders.


On This Day:

108 DMU

Class 108 53987 is seen stabled outside Tyseley depot on 26.04.1987, while it's partner undergoes repair work. Andy Cole.

115 DMU

Class 115 51884, set number T524, is seen under going repairs inside Tyseley depot on 26.04.1987. This looked pretty good having the domino style headcode panel. Andy Cole.

107 DMU

Class 115 51897, set number T508, is seen at Tyseley on 26.04.1987 not long after overhaul and repainting into BR blue and grey livery. Andy Cole.

116 DMU

Class 116 set TY509 is seen in Spring Road station with the 6.05pm ex-Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1969. Stuart Mackay Collection.

101 DMU

101676 (51803 & 51205) at Betws Y Coed on 26th April 2000. Ian Buck.

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