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Class 101 Met-Camm 2,3 & 4-car DMUs

Operations - Later Years

Many of the transfers between Bradford and Darlington around 1957 were not recorded. After receiving the Rolls Royce sets in Nov ‘57, at least 8 cars were sent north on the 21st (there was a similar occurance before the introduction of the diesel services in the Darlington area, when 20-30 cars were sent north). Of the new sets referred to above, 50746/59303/50291 was shown as later transferred to Darlington, it was still running from Hammerton Street depot on 20th Jan ‘58.

DMUs replaced steam on the Darlington - Penrith line as from 6th January ‘58.

In August 1958 the NER introduced Met-Camm 2-cars (sharing duties with Cravens units) to the Newcastle - Sunderland and Sunderland - South Shields lines.

By September ‘60 the buffet services were extended to the Newcastle - Leeds services. Again they were formed onto a 4-car set. The 07:20 Newcastle to York, 10:15 York to Leeds, 11:35 and 15:33 Newcastle to Leeds via York, 07:45 and 11:45 Leeds to Newcastle via York and West Hartlepool, and the 17:00 Leeds to Newcastle via York. In one car of each train, the minature buffet had one attendant to serve a variety of light refreshments and drinks from the standing bar.

Eric Stuart notes that about 1960 a set (or two) of 101/111s with a buffet was used for a regular summer Sunday service from Newcastle to Keswick and back via Carlisle and Penrith.

Yorkshire Coast poster

A defect found on Class 104 bogies 48 hours before they were due to be introduced on a new interval service between Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent, saw NER 101 sets sent on loan.

In the mid '60s South Gosforth power cars carried 52J plates, although at this time the code was not officially announced.

The NER's department of Public Relations & Publicity Officer produced an attractive poster featuring a Met-Camm in May 1959. Designed by Mr Gynth Russell, the unit is shown on a stretch of line south of Robin Hood's Bay, and the poster was displayed throughout the country.

Observation Saloon

Class 101 Observation saloon

For use on the Inverness - Kyle of Lochalsh line, 54356 was converted to an observation saloon and renumbered 6300. It was withdrawn in ‘95 when the line was ‘sprinterised’. The image shows 6300 on the rear of the 10:15 Inverness - Kyle, seen at Achnasheen, 9/9/90 Gazza Prescott.


Most (if not all) of the 130 vehicles allocated to the new Darlington diesel depot during the ER dieselisation plan were 101s when it opened. In 1957 the principle service worked by these cars was the half hourly one from Darlington to Saltburn, using the 4-car units. Power/trailer sets were used between Darlington and Middleton-in-Teesdale, Richmond and Crook. At September '57 Darlington's allocation was 13 4-car sets (DMCs 50172-97, TBSs 59060-72 and TSs 59073 - 85), 14 2-car power/trailers (DMBSs 50198-209, 50247/8 and DTCs 56050-61, 56219/20) and 4 2-car power twins (DMBSs 50250-3 and DMCs 50260-3).

101 at Crook 101 at Darlington

Darlington units in the '60s: Left - Crook Station in 1964, shortly before the line's closure from Bishop Auckland. Right: E50748 heads this 4-car set at Darlington Bank Top Station, also in 1964, in the north end dock where the Bishop Auckland / Crook trains, and prior to 1962 the Stainmore trains, departed from. Both Roy Lambeth.

When the four Class 111 power/trailers moved from the LMR to the ER they were given four Class 101 power/trailers in return (50203/6/8/28 56055/8/60/80).

Darlington depot closed in May 1984, its 101s moved to Heaton.

Western Invasion

In 1967 the first Met Camm vehicles were allocated to the WR, these being three trailer composite cars 59528, 59538 and 59543. Transferred from the ER and ScT they worked initially in the London division but worked from Cardiff (CF), Bristol (BR) and Plymouth Laira (LA) depot working between class 116 power cars.

By 1975 the first 3-car Metro Cammell sets to work on the Western region replaced Swindon 120 units at LA and Bristol Bath Road (BR). Transferred from the ScR, these sets were given set Nos. 800-804 prefixed with "P" or "B" depending upon allocation, and were soon joined by two ex Midland 3-car units from Tyseley numbered 805 and 806. During the early '80s even more units were drafted in, this time generally from the ER.

Dawlish DMU

Set P803 (51450 / 59546 / 51522) is seen departing from Dawlish on the 24th May 1975 Neil Cannon.

1982 saw Met-Camm 101s is take over services on the Central Wales line between Swansea and Shrewsbury ousting almost all remaining Swindon 120s. They were allocated to Cardiff Canton (CF) for these duties and general cross country services. The units selected for Central Wales use were reformed into 2-car sets with their centre trailers generally being stored at Cardiff Bristol and Reading. One trailer W59550 found a new home between two Derby class 116 suburban brake cars at Cardiff (CF) in set C307 which was an odd set containing two DMBS vehicles in its formation (W53083 / W59550 / W53820).

Weymouth Quay DMU

The next image shows a Class 101 set on a test run to Weymouth Quay in March '83, prior to the introduction of the short lived service from the Quay to Cardiff. The photographer's father was driving. Stuart Davies

A Cardiff 101 suffered an exhauster failure on the 16th October 1982 while working the 16:27 Westbury - Cardiff and was dragged by 47 313.

The Western Region Met Camms were the first DMU vehicles to carry the high intensity headlamp mounted on the cab front below the drivers window.

These units operated on the WR until 1987 when they were displaced by Class 108 units. Dispersed far and wide some units remained together at depots such as Chester and Neville Hill, with one ex-Cardiff unit returning during early 1989 from Newton Heath for a short stay at Cardiff before departing for Vic Berry's Leicester yard in May 1990.

The London division also gained Met Camms for the Reading Redhill service and Gatwick Airport. These units generally came from Tyseley with a small contingent of ER units.

Met Camms operated from all WR depots during the 1980s from Old Oak and Reading to Plymouth.

The final departure from Plymouth was in 1996 with cars 53314/53327 still sporting NSE livery and set number L842 since its transfer from Reading RG to the West Country.

Hybrid Sets

It was not uncommon in the 1960s to see Met Camm vehicles of both DMBS and DTC types paired with other makes of unit. This usually took the form of 2-car power trailer combinations and became common on the ER in East Anglia and Cambridgeshire with Met Camm/Gloucester Class 100 and Cravens Class 105 vehicles, with a similar situation in Scotland. In the North East, as well as operating in 2-car formations with Class 105s they could also be found in mixed Class 104 four car sets as both types of four car unit were used in that area.

By the mid '80s though, due to the wholesale withdrawal of other types, mixed formations took on a new look with Met Camms being paired with almost anything. Centre cars, of which there were 150 constructed, appeared at depots such as Manchester's Newton Heath (NH), Chester (CH), Derby Etches Park (EP) and Edinburgh Haymarket (HA) marshalled between Class 120 Swindon Cross Country units, making life a little easier weight-wise for these ageing work horses, by virtue of the 101 vehicles being about 5 tons lighter than the normal Swindon built 64 ft TS vehicles.

Other depots took advantage of the glut of surplus Met Camms, with trailers appearing in some Class 108 sets at HA and Class 110 sets at NL after the transfer of their own trailers to CF and ED.

The late eighties saw an explosion in mismatched Met Camms at CF, LA, CH, NH and TS depots, with pairings of Met Camms with 108s and Suburban 116s, the latter being a very strange combination operating from TS and CF. Pick and mix had taken on a new meaning!

During 1990 a 4-car set was reformed for use on the Cambridge - Kings Lynn service via Ely until completion of that line's electrification. The vehicles involved were 51211 / 59111 / 59072 / 53265 running as set L831.

At the end of 1983 some redundant ER trailers cars were put into 3-car sets with Class 116 power cars which had just been given gangways at Carlisle Currock carriage and wagon repair shops. They were put into action at Tyseley.

When Botanic Gardens 4-car 108s were made into 3-cars in summer ‘85 some of the displaced Class 108 TSLs were added to Class 101 (and 108) power twins.

When Class 108 59247 was condemmed due to accident damage Class 101 TBS 59113 was provided as a replacement for its set.

By 2/91 there was no longer any 101 power cars working with Class 108/110 trailers.


A Met-Camm was a rare visitor to St Pancras on October 5th 1982 when a 2-car set was seen during crew training.

On the 12 February 1984 one of the power cars on the 3-car set working the 18:24 Sheringham - Norwich ran out of fuel at West Runton. The remaining power car, which had one engine isolated, struggled to reach Cromer where eventually a Class 31 collected the unit and hauled it to Norwich. Passengers missed the last train to London (19:33) so the 20:00 ECS to Ipswich was held to form a 20:55 special to Ipswich where the stock became the late running 21:14 to London.

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