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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.

New DMU Books

You wait ages on a new DMU book, and then two come along at once! Later this month two hardback books will be released by Strathwood, one looking at the BR Built vehicles, and one looking at those built by outside contractors. Print run is limited to 1,000 copies of each.

DMUs built at BR workshops cover
DMUs built at BR workshops cover


April 21st

A look at the Day-Line Diesel tickets made available by the North Eastern Region in the late 1950s.

April 14th

Part Two of the series looking at the construction of a DMU (Swindon 79xxx series). This time underframes.

April 6th

The start of a new series looking at the construction of a DMU (Swindon 79xxx series). Part one deals with bogies.

March 12th

The minutes of the 91st Diesel Trains Committee meeting (February 1962) have been added. That's the last of those that I have.

February 24th

A look at the Class 116s in Scotland has been added.

February 3rd

The minutes of the 90th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (January 1962) have been added.

January 12th

A look at the brief use of Derby Lightweights in Lincolnshire has been added.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

Prototype refurbished Met-Cam Class 101 DMU E51451 + E59545 + E51518 on show in York station, 14th August 1974. Paul James.

New DMU photo

Underframe detail on Ultrasonic Test Train vehicle ADB975008, ex-Trailer Composite 79612, at Finsbury Park Depot, 22 March 1980. Paul James.

New DMU photo

21:35 hrs on a Sunday evening finds it all quiet at Reading station, with a Class 117 DMU in platform 6. Taken from the evening Hereford-Paddington train, 27th April 1980. Paul James.

New DMU photo

Class 116 DMU set TS538 (presumably 51131 + 59441 + 51144), arrives at (Churchill &) Blakedown station with a Worcester-Birmingham New Street service, sometime in the week of 4th-8th July 1983. Paul James.

New DMU photo

Tyseley Class 116 set TS522 (presumably 53109 + 59440 + 53078) waits to depart from Redditch station for Birmingham New Street in July 1983. Paul James.


On This Day:

105 DMU

On 24/04/1979, a 2-car Cravens Class 105 DMU is seen at Brundall, Norfolk, with a service for Norwich. Graeme Phillips Collection.

108 DMU

A two-car Class 108 in Rail Blue (the DMBS at the rear is M50944), arrives at Ormskirk with a service from Preston on April 24th 1978. There were still a few lineside structures still remaining from the days when this was a double-track through route. The antics of the passenger in the rear trailer car is a lesson in the perils of slam-door stock. Martyn Hilbert.

114 DMU

Three (or four) Class 114 sets at Pannal(Harrrogate Loop) with a special from Lincoln on April 24, 1976, run to connect with a steam special. Photo by P.H Wells. Nigel Walls Collection.

121 DMU

977860 at Yeovil Pen Mill on April 24, 2008. Nigel Walls.

121 DMU

977860 Yeovil Pen Mill on April 24, 2008. Nigel Walls.

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