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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


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.


January 22nd, 2016

The minutes of the 66th Lighweight Trains Committee meeting (July 1959) have been added.

January 21st

A look at the DMU services provided for the British Industries Fair (BIF) in the 1950s.

January 17th

Now added are design code pages, these replaced the original diagrams in 1980.

January 6th

Readers have been wonderful in identifying unknown locations. There are still plenty more that may be recognisable - I've put some of these into a gallery - if you know any of these places please let us know!

December 30th, 2016

A couple of new pages have been added to the book section - Platform 5 stock books and a look at other stock books.

December 29th, 2016

The minutes of the 65th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (June 1959) have been added.

Dec 19th, 2016

The allocations for the DMU classes withdrawn in the early 1980s - the Class 103 Park Royals, the Inter-City units (79xxx, Class 126 and Class 126), and the Trans-Pennine Class 124s - have been added to the individual vehicle pages.

Nov 26th, 2016

Comments can now be made on images. You must be register as a user to do so.

Nov 13th, 2016

With the increasing number of images on the site (now over 4,500), a new advanced search is available allowing searches by specific dates, regions / areas and liveries.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

51101 at the head of C592 in Bristol Temple Meads station on the 25th September 1978. Steve Davies Collection.

New DMU photo

Class 117 set B452 and Class 120 set C559 at Frome on the 28th June 1982. Steve Davies Collection.

New DMU photo

Swindon Cross-Country set C530 approaches Maiden Newton station in 1975. Steve Davies Collection.

New DMU photo

Class 116 set C331 seen at Barry Sidings on the 8th July 1984. Steve Davies Collection.

New DMU photo

Class 116 set C331 seen at Aberthaw Cement Works on the 8th July 1984. Steve Davies Collection.


On This Day:

101 DMU

101692 53252 + 53170 + 101694 51188 + 53268 arrive at Manchester Piccadilly ECS ex-Longsight in the afternoon of 24-1-01. Kevin Dowd.

Random Images:

101 DMU

LO603 53243 + 51228 + LO605 53171 + 51253 on the 18:25 Llandudno to Chester at Old Colwyn, 14-7-91. Kevin Dowd.

103 DMU

975089 / 975090 at Derby on 29/3/88. Dennis Taylor.

101 DMU

A 3-car Metro-Cammell set is about to leave the south end of the Forth Railway Bridge into Dalmeny station, heading towards Edinburgh Waverley. 26th October 1962. ScR Official Picture. AA McLean Collection.

120 DMU

The 12:08 Bristol-Weymouth is led by C556 under West Barn bridge, passing Witham Up Home. Another 120 is seen in the distance. 1970s. Adrian Vaughan.

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