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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.


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.

January 27th

A look at the Fisons Weedkilling Coach FA99900, the former Class 100 DTC 56316.

January 22nd

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.

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

Class 114 E53027 + E54041 and Class 101 54050 + 53231 leave Ely with the 10.13 Cambridge to Peterborough, 12.08.87. Surface Stock.

New DMU photo

Class 128/114/BG 55993 / 55994 / 55932 + 54902 / 84114 on a Peterborough to Norwich parcels at Queen Adelaide (Ely), 20/06/89. Surface Stock.

New DMU photo

Class 114 E53044 + E54043 pass through Queen Adelaide with the 16.50 Peterborough to Cambridge, 14.08.87. Surface Stock.

New DMU photo

TDB977123 seen at Cambridge sometime in 1988. Surface Stock.

New DMU photo

TDB977126 at the front of a row of DMUs at Cambridge sometime in 1988. Surface Stock.


On This Day:

105 DMU

E50367 was originally classed as a Class 106 as it was delivered with Leyland engines. It's seen at North Woolwich on the 28th February 1983. Chris Lings.

116 DMU

A 2-car C304 (53130 + 53088) stabled overnight at Treherbert, 28/02/84 (or late '80s?). This was during the time of various reviews and saw the Rhymney line worked by a bubble car in the off peak between Rhymney and Bargoed and the Sunday Merthyr service was also bubble car worked with the vehicle working the 04xxish ex-Treherbert Monday to Saturday. PJ Evans.

101 DMU

101 695 (51499 + 51226) seen at Romiley on a Piccadilly - Marple working, 28/2/01. Paul Moxon.

101 DMU

101695 (51499 + 51226) leaning into the curve at Hyde North as it leaves on the 11:49 Rose Hill-Piccadilly, 28/2/01. Paul Moxon.

101 DMU

101682 (51505 + 53256) on the 10:15 Sheffield to Manchester Piccadilly at Wash (Chinley) 28-2-96. Kevin Dowd.

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