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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 Data

Vehicle:


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.


Scope

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.


Updates

June 19th

The minutes of the 71st Diesel Trains Committee meeting (February 1960) have been added.

June 14th

Eric Stuart remembers the early years of DMUs as he presents his Railcar Memories.

May 24th

The minutes of the 70th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (December 1959) have been added.

May 20th

The allocations for the remainder of the Cravens Class 105s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

May 18th

A more expanded look at the Class 120 DMUs that operated in Scotland. There are two parts, the original seven sets and the late 1980s.

May 6th

The allocations for the second batch of Cravens Class 105s (50752-817 and 59307-25) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

April 27th

The minutes of the 69th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (November 1959) have been added.

March 27th

The allocations for the first batch of Cravens Class 105s (50359-94 and 56114-49) have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

March 23rd

The minutes of the 68th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (October 1959) have been added.

March 13th

The allocations for the Swindon Class 120s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

February 23rd

The minutes of the 67th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (August 1959) have been added.

January 29th

The allocations for the GRC&W Class 100s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

In NSE colours class 117 set L417 is seen leaving Worcester Shrub Hill with an Oxford-Great Malvern service on 18/4/87. Stephen Burdett.

New DMU photo

A class 116 dmu crosses the canal at Lowesmoor between Worcester Foregate Street and Shrub Hill stations on 12/7/81. Stephen Burdett.

New DMU photo

A Newquay - Par class 119 dmu drops down the Luxulyan Valley on 9/5/73. This view was taken from Treffrys viaduct spanning the valley. Stephen Burdett.

New DMU photo

A Class 119 on a Falmouth to Truro service waits to depart from the thankfully reinstated Docks station on 11/7/86. WR set 577 should be 51063 + 59422 + 51091, yet the vehicles were allocated to CF at the time, and had not been Plymouth vehicles since 1977. Stephen Burdett.

New DMU photo

Class 118 set B467 unit with W51324 at the front heads away from St Blazey Middleway crossing with a Par to Newquay service on 9/6/82. Stephen Burdett.

More...

On This Day:

105 DMU

A two-car Cravens set is seen in Colne station on June 25, 1976 with the 8.45am Preston cervice. Michael Mensing.

105 DMU

A 2-car Cravens set arrives into Burnley Barracks station on the 25th June 1976. Michael Mensing.

120 DMU

A Class 120 has a pile of mail bags being loaded or unloaded at Craven Arms & Stokesay on 25/6/70. Steve Davies Collection.

103 DMU

A Class 103 and 101 stabled outside the shed at Machynlleth on the 25th June 1982. There's another 101 to the right and a refurbished one in the shed in the distance. Steve Davies Collection.

121 DMU

977723 is carrying North London Lines markings when seen at Bletchley TMD on the 25th June 1994. S Gaskell.

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