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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.


August 15th

Works photographs for the Rolls Royce powered Met-Camms have been added: LMR 2-cars, early NER 3-cars and later NER 3-cars.

August 6th

The minutes of the 84th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (May 1961) have been added.

July 16th

Official photographs of the Class 116 Production Refurbishment (circa April 1977) have been added.

July 9th

A look at the standardisation of set numbers on the LMR in 1969.

July 7th

The minutes of the 83rd Diesel Trains Committee meeting (April 1961) have been added.

June 16th

Official GRC&W photographs of the Class 122s have been added.

June 3rd

The minutes of the 82nd Diesel Trains Committee meeting (March 1961) have been added.

May 27th

Rolls-Royce works photographs and Driving Instructions for 50000/56000 have been added.

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.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

53189 heads 101307 departing Haymarket depot towards Waverley in 1988. S Saunders.

New DMU photo

Sc53179 still carries a first class stripe when seen at Haymarket depot on June 25, 1986. S Saunders.

New DMU photo

Many Met-Camm sets in the DMU sidings in Haymarket depot in 1988. Closest is 101316 (the DMC is presumably 53141), at the stops on the left is 53447. S Saunders.

New DMU photo

Trailer Brake Second Met-Camm set 101364 passes Haymarket in 1988, almost certainly on an Edinburgh - Bathgate run. S Saunders.

New DMU photo

Class 101 DTS sits in Haymarket depot circa 1986 as a 47/7 goes by. S Saunders.


On This Day:

114 DMU

Class 114 53024 and 54018 are seen with the 07:28 Sudbury - Colchester departing Mark Tey (at 08:26) on Saturday 17th August 1985. Viewed from the 07:50 Clacton - Liverpool St. Colin Brooks.

101 DMU

Norwich based Metro-Cammell built class 101 DMU set 64 (51191 closest) pulls away from West Runton with a Norwich-Sheringham service on 17th August 1988. Attached is the green Cravens set 30 (53359+54122). Andrew J Crowther.

105 DMU

Norwich based class 105 'Cravens' DMU set no.30 (53359+54122), by this time one of the very few left in passenger service on the network, calls at West Runton whist working a Sheringham-Norwich service on 17th August 1988. This DMU was restored to a retro BR livery with cats whiskers in April 1986 to mark the end of DMU operations on the Anglia Region in the London Area. It was withdrawn on the 03/11/88 and with the unit being considered to have asbestos contamination it went to Mayer-Newman's scrapyard at Snailwell, where it was incinerated in the fire tunnel and reduced to scrap on 23/02/89. Andrew J Crowther.

101 DMU

With the abbey dominating the skyline, a 3 car Metro-Cammell class 101 set leaves Dunfermline with 2G08 1507 Cowdenbeath to Edinburgh local service. 17th August 1985. Bruce Galloway.

101 DMU

101 318 on the 17:27 Edinburgh - Perth (via Dunfermline) arrives at Ladybank (at 18:44) on Thursday 17th August 1989. Colin Brooks.

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