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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.


April 14th

A new search option has been added for set data. This will find any formation details so far added to the database for that particular set number, and display any images.

April 07th

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.

April 4th

The minutes of the 80th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (December 1960) have been added.

April 1st

A look at the introduction of set numbers on the ScR in 1966.

March 18th

The minutes of the 79th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (December 1960) have been added.

February 17th

A feature by Jonathan Horswell on the unofficial names that appeared in the 1980/90s.

February 5th

The allocations for the BRC&W Class 104 DTC and centre cars (56175-89, 59132-234, 59240-4) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

February 3rd

The minutes of the 78th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (October 1960) have been added.

January 25th

The allocations for the BRC&W Class 104 power cars (50420-50598) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

January 21st

The Class 127 Works Photos have been added.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

Metro-Cammell DMU 101 332 passes the signal box at Arbroath on 16/7/84. David Christie.

New DMU photo

Met-Camm 101 332 (DMBS 51458 closest) beside Arbroath Box on 16/7/84. David Christie.

New DMU photo

Metro-Cammell DMU 101326 (presumably with 51527 closest) passes the oddly shaped Camperdown Junction box leaving Dundee on 16/7/84. David Christie.

New DMU photo

Metro-Cammell DMU 101326 returns at Monifieth Station on 16/7/84 with 51451 at the front. David Christie.

New DMU photo

Gloucester RCW class 122 single car Sc55007, forming a 3 car rake with two class 101 cars, arrives at the spartan, and frosty, Balmossie Halt with 2A30 12:29 Dundee to Arbroath. Note the "Tayway" branding on the unit, which I believe was a local initiative to promote travel on the Perth-Dundee-Arbroath corridor in the early 80's. Balmossie Halt was part of the Dundee and Arbroath Joint line, eventually falling under the control of the Caledonian Railway with running rights granted to the rival North British Railway. An LMS era maroon enamel sign can be seen beside the rudimentary waiting room. 12th December 1981. Bruce Galloway.


On This Day:

101 DMU

Presumably 51500, 59093 & 51512 are seen at Windermere on 20/04/1989. There are many photos of this ostensibly Cardiff based unit operating around the north of England in 1989. Graeme Phillips Collection.

128 DMU

Attached to the 04:10 ex-Shrewsbury at Aberystwyth on April 20, 1985, is Class 128 M55995. Hamish Stevenson.

116 DMU

Class 116 set at Leamington Spa on 20th April 1985. Ian Buck.

116 DMU

An excursion from Walsall - Barmouth is seen at Tywyn on the 20th April 1985. It was a six-can formation, a 116/Met-Camm/116 hybrid and three-car Class 116. Hamish Stevenson.

101 DMU

A Class 101 set with 53208 closest is seen at Shrewsbury on 20.04.1985. Andy Cole.

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