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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

November 16st

The minutes of the 76th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (August 1960) have been added.

November 11th

Three new destination blinds have been added, from Chester in the late 1980s, from the Scottish Region in the early 1980s, and from the North Eastern Region circa late '80s/early '90s.

October 31st

The minutes of the 75th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (July 1960) have been added.

October 29th

The allocations for the Derby Class 107s have been added to the individual vehicle pages. Also the Class 107 operations page has been re-written.

October 27th

A new destination blind, from Marylebone in the 1970s has been added.

September 21st

The minutes of the 74th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (June 1960) have been added.

August 28th

The allocations for the Derby Class 114s have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

July 18th

A more detailed look at the Class 114s in parcel use has been added.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

117306 (51411 leading) stands on the buffer stops of 'E' road at Aylesbury Depot, being for spares for the Sandite units based there at the time. As can be seen the unit has had it's destination blind box removed and the '6' on the unit number has been patchwork painted. The unit was transferred from Shoeburyness to Aylesbury in one trip, sandwiched between Class 121 units, although 117306 was running too. Taken on 27/09/00, this is reasonably soon after it had moved to Aylesbury. Greg Scott.

New DMU photo

This is 101682 (51505) at Crewe, on a very wet and dismal day on 25/08/98, before working 1D77 1621 Crewe-Bangor. The damaged paintwork on the bottom of the cab door and stripe above the Regional Railways logo can be seen on the other photos on the website too. Greg Scott.

New DMU photo

This is L840 (101840) at Crewe, waiting to work a service to Bangor. Taken on a very sunny and pleasant day on 30/05/98. Note the brake handle has been deliberately left on the handbrake in the cab and the white tag tied to the jumper cable of the leading vehicle (53311). I took the decision to ride this service as far as Chester and thankfully the Driver left the blind up, as well as subsequently rolling the Secondman's one up too. Unusually the Guard did not use the brakevan to work the train, preferring to stay in the back cab of the unit instead. Greg Scott.

New DMU photo

Met-Camm Lightweight DMBS E79064 in the scrapyard area of Swindon Works, circa 1972. A discussion on the vehicle can be found at https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/old-yellow-diamond-dmu-mystery.126033/. Tony Wilkins.

New DMU photo

Damaged Met-Camm Lightweight E79064 in the scrapyard area of Swindon Works on March 12, 1972. No information has come to light as to what happened to the vehicle, other than it's though that the damage happened there and lack of rust on the exposed steel body makes it seem recent. Steve Davies Collection.

More...

On This Day:

115 DMU

Class 115 at Marylebone on 20th November 1988. Ian Buck.

115 DMU

Class 115 car 51656 at West Ruislip 20th November 1988. Ian Buck.

115 DMU

Class 115 with 51656 leading at West Ruislip on 20/11/88. Ian Buck.

116 DMU

At South Tottenham on 20th November 1988 is class 116 set L307. Ian Buck.

104 DMU

Class 104 set L704 at South Tottenham on 20th November 1988. Ian Buck.

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