One of the favourite features on DMUs was being able to sit behind the driver and share his view of the line ahead. These images show what this experience was like. Latterly, drivers put their privacy over the public's enjoyment and would put the blinds down on the partition between the cab and the passenger saloon.
A Class 108 taken from a Class 108 at Capenhurst on the Chester to Hooton line, August 29, 1989. Colin Brooks.
The view from a Class 108, probably on the approach to Hooton, on August 29, 1989. Colin Brooks.
Taken from L582 (and presumably 51096) at Copyhold Junction with Ardingly 100 shuttle to/from Ardingly, 3 September 1983. Nigel Menzies.
Ready for in a Met-Camm at Bishop Auckland on 16 June 1976. Nigel Menzies.
At Leytonstone High Road a 104 is seen from a 104, both the Gospel Oak - Barking duties, August 23, 1986. Colin Brooks.
Looking through the back window of a Pwllheli bound class 120 Swindon dmu, at one of the tunnels on Cambrian Coast line, as we are stopped at Penhelig Halt. 16th April 1985. Andrew J Crowther.
Looking through the back window of a Pwllheli bound class 120 Swindon dmu, having just passed through a avalanche shelter on the Cambrian Coast line, between Llwyngwril and Fairbourne. 16th April 1985. Andrew J Crowther.
Looking through the back window of a Pwllheli bound class 120 dmu at Barmouth station, on the Cambrian Coast line a Met-Camm bound for Dovey Junction passes over the level crossing. 16th April 1985. Andrew J Crowther.
A view of the line ahead taken from Met-Camm set 75 on May 28th, 1986, on a Hitchin - Peterborough service, probably at Langfordbridge just north of Arlesey. Colin Brooks.
The view in the front saloon of a Cravens set on May 10, 1986, probably at the western end of Parkeston Quay Yard in Harwich, heading east. Colin Brooks.
One of the intrinsic parts of the classic railway scene were first generation DMUs bouncing along uneven jointed track with everyone including the driver bouncing along with it in unison. Sometimes the driver would be a spoilsport & pull down the concertina blind but happily not on this occasion as the 2B60 1213 St Ives-St Erth approaches Lelant Saltings distant signal having just departed Lelant. The view from the Swindon Class 120 is south across Hayle Estuary on Saturday 29th April 1978. John Simmonds.
A northbound Class 101 diesel multiple unit approaches the south end of Dalmeny station on 3rd August 1974 seen from an Edinburgh bound DMU. Pete LG99.
Sharing the driver's view crossing the Forth Bridge on 3rd August 1974. On the return journey from Dunfermline to Edinburgh we managed to sit behind the driver in the front compartment and I grabbed this shot in the middle of the 1.6 mile long Forth Bridge. The combination of the major supports and smaller iron & steelwork struts make an interesting pattern over this iconic engineering structure opened in 1890. North Queensferry's Distant signal is off on the right and there is an precarious looking pw hut overhanging the bridge side on the left. Next stop Dalmeny station. Pete LG99.
Honley, West Yorkshire 30th December 1982. On a grey mid-winter day, Honley station, opened in 1850 on the ex-Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway line from Huddersfield to Penistone, plays host to two first generation diesel multiple units. Ours is heading for Clayton West station on the branch from Shepley Junction while the Down line train is Huddersfield-bound. Pete LG99.
The view from E56091 passing Middlesbrough station on the goods lines during an engineering diversion, Nay 9th, 1982. John Carter.
Clayton West signal box at the approach to the station as seen from a Met-Camm dmu just arriving from Huddersfield. Opened in 1879 by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway it was closed in 1983 when the branch line closed. The nameboard is original LYR. Pete LG99.
The approach to Bradford Forster Square station as seen from the front window of a dmu (almost certainly a Class 108) from Keighley in 1985. Not much was happening & by this time most of the station was derelict, the few remaining trains concentrated on the 2 westernmost platforms. The goods yard and sidings to the left were disused & about to be lifted. Pete LG99.
The view from Class 108 Set S946 on 2M39, the 1528 Swansea - Crewe (via Reversal at Llanelli & Central Wales line), as it awaits time at Llanganmarch at 17:26 on Wednesday 16th August 1989. Colin Brooks.
A Class 119 set and 37 286 are seen at Cardiff from another DMU on the 4th July 1980. Bruce Galloway.
Heading north looking back over the engineering marvel that is the 1890 Forth Railway Bridge over the Firth of Forth. This is a view of the intricate steelwork (in the days when they still used to paint it!) from the dmu rear seat. The sloping desk means this is a Cravens vehicle, with it's shaped hand brake wheel on the left. Pete LG99.
This is an example of how a clear view of the road ahead was possible from the front seat of a dmu, taken at Lichfield Station (Staffordshire) on 11th October 1974. The LNWR Lichfield City Station opened in 1849 and still retains a lot of its character today. Here the starter signal is pulled off for dmu M50109 to take the junction for Birmingham New Street via Sutton Coldfield. This trip to New Street was memorable because the carriage was full of screaming teenagers all wearing tartan outfits - unfortunately the Bay City Rollers were in concert in town that evening. The white plate with the number 6 on it indicates where a 6 car dmu train should stop. Sadly not needed anymore as I only ever see 2 or 3 car trains these days. This station is on the now electrified cross-city line from Reddich so I assume the semaphore signals & LNWR box must have been replaced. Pete LG99.
A featured loved in DMUs was the ability to share the driver's view (if the blinds were left up), such as this view of Birmingham Moor Street circa 1970. Stuart Mackay Collection.
The view from behind the driver of a Class 101 DMU, leaving Markinch, by the Sig Box, 5/7/77. David Christie.
A BRCW Type 2 Diesel passing our southbound Class 101 DMU on the Forth Bridge, 5/7/77. David Christie.
Crossing the Forth Bridge - seen though the front windows of a southbound Class 101 DMU on 5/7/77. Note the red (1st class) seat frames. David Christie.
A nostalgic view of North Walsham with the tanks for Parkeston in the sidings. Taken from our Cravens dmu on 15/3/86. Photo by Phil Mott. Gerard Fletcher.
A look out of a Class 116 set heading out of Birmingham Moor Street and approaching Duddeston Viaduct. April 22nd, 1969. Stuart Mackay Collection.
Taken near Gilberdyke from a DMU heading for Hull, the Eastern Region general manager's inspection saloon "The Stourton Saloon" headed by DB975637 with DB975664 behind passes the other way on 18/Jun/1988. These two vehicles were converted from Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Co. class 100 DMUs 56300 (DTCL) and 51122 (DMBS) respectively. They were taken into departmental stock in 1978 and withdrawn in 1990, being scrapped at Snailwell in Cambridgeshire. As a footnote there were at one time six preserved class 100 vehicles and as of this month that total is down to three, with the news that long-stored 56317 which has been passed from pillar to post in recent years, has been scrapped. Happily the two car set consisting of 56097 and 51118, the only surviving class 100 power car, are currently undergoing a thorough restoration and should be back in service soon after many years out of use. Robert Chilton.
A Met-Camm unit seen out of the window of another DMU. Taken at Castleton Moor on the Middlesbrough to Whitby line, date unknown. Stuart Rankin.
Taken on-board Swindon Cross Country DMS 53675 at Penhilig, 22nd July 1985. The reflection shows the lights are on ready for going through the tunnel, ones on the luggage rack being prominent. Tim Stubbs.
A view I got nearly every day coming home from work, on board a Buxton allocated class 108 DMU on a Manchester Piccadilly - Buxton service, slowing for the Levenshulme stop, whilst a London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly service nears it's destination with a class 87 at the helm. 6th September 1986. Andrew J Crowther.
One feature of many of the old 1st generation DMUS now sadly lacking with the new stock was the forward view, or as in this case, rearward view. Here the view out of the rear of class 116 no. 51143 is seen just after leaving Northfield on the way from Redditch to Birmingham New Street. Points of note are the unit set number board in the secondman's window, the driver's copy of the 'Mirror' from the outbound journey and, unusually, a second set of driving controls lying on the desk. 26/Jul/1991. Robert Chilton.
One feature of many of the old 1st generation DMUS now sadly lacking with the new stock was the forward view, or as in this case, rearward view. Here the view out of the rear of class 116 no. 51143 is seen just after passing Lifford West Junction and just before arriving at Bournville on the way from Redditch to Birmingham New Street, 26/Jul/1991. Robert Chilton.
The view from a Derby Lightweight between Norwich and North Walsham in a snowy January 1964. These vehicles didn't have a full width drivers desk, and the brake valve on the lower left just sits on top of two vacuum pipes. Tim Stubbs.
Sharing the drivers eye view. A Class 116 in the Birmingham Moor Street area, probably 1970s. The seat covering is 'Trojan' moquette. Stuart Mackay Collection.
Sharing the driver's view, in the days when they left the blinds up. Taken in a Class 104 crossing Stockport viaduct. Malcolm Clements.
Crossing the Forth Bridge on a Derby built vehicle, probably a 107 or one of the 108s that spent a short time based in Edinburgh when new. In the desk can be seen a small board painted "D2 WED" and these can sometimes be seen propped up in the windows. It denoted what the set was working, and on the reverse was often the drivers diagram details. Photo by Tony Pirie. Ian McDonald Collection.
This shows one of the main reasons the public loved DMUs - the view of the line ahead! The set is approaching Dalmeny Junction from the south and is about to pass 61351. It's probably a Class 107 but may be one of the 108s on loan at the time. Photo by Tony Pirie. Ian McDonald Collection.