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 Data


Volunteers Wanted!

Do you have images of First Generation DMUs (not preserved vehicles)? A handful of volunteers are needed to test out a prototype section of the website allowing users to upload their own images directly onto the site. If you are able to help please get in touch.


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 16th, 2016

Further formation listings have been added: East Anglia in 12/86; Summer 1986 for East Anglia, LMR, ScR and WR; also ScR for August 1986 and 1988.

April 9th, 2016

Another page on data panels, this time on Class 121 bubble cars.

April 8th, 2016

In response to questions from modellers I've added a page looking at the data panels on Class 122 bubble cars.

April 1st, 2016

The minutes of the 59th Lighweight Trains Committee meeting (November 1958) have been added.

March 31st, 2016

A Western Region booklet for operating staff on heaters added, courtesty of Steve Carter.

March 26th, 2016

The DMU details from the 1985 - 1991 L.M.R. Traction Bulletins added.

March 24th, 2016

Another destination blind added, from Norwich in the late 1960s / early 1970s.

March 21st, 2016

Another destination blind added, from Norwich in the 1970s.

March 12th, 2016

DMU items from 1972 - 1984 L.M.R. Traction Bulletins added.

March 4th, 2016

Additional drivers instructions added, including a couple of early types and the 33056 series.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

Two Met-Camm sets seen at Dunblane. Date unknown. Andrew McConnell.

New DMU photo

This 3-car Class 101 has just passed Cowlairs carriage depot and is heading down the incline to Glasgow Queen Street. Taken on an unknown date, the set carries GG Trans Clyde markings and has an all-blue centre car. Andrew McConnell.

New DMU photo

3-car set 101694 (51188 + 59539 + 53268) comes to a standstill at Inverkeithing. Date unknown. Andrew McConnell.

New DMU photo

NSE liveried 991 follows Blue-Grey set 829 out of Inverkeithing towards Edinburgh. Date unknown. Andrew McConnell.

New DMU photo

The cab of set 829 is in need of a repaint when seen at Kirkcaldy (date unknown). The rear DMBS is on the set appears to be receiving attention, and a NSE set (991) is attached behind. Andrew McConnell.


On This Day:

103 DMU

56155 leads this set out from Dewsbury on 29/4/81. Malcolm Clements.

120 DMU

Set 305 at Aberdeen, 29/4/78. Mike Cooper.

120 DMU

Set 305 sits at Aberdeen on 29/4/78. The driver obviously has a sense of humour judging by the blind! Mike Cooper.

128 DMU

Class 128 55995 on Leicester TMD, 29-4-90. Kevin Dowd.

110 DMU

E51809, E78969, E78713, E51183 Vic Berrys, Leicester 29-4-90. Kevin Dowd.

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