The 1974 National Traction Plan showed the units as continuing in service until 1991 or beyond, however this was superseded by the £360 million investment programme aimed at replacing first generation units by 1990. Because of the way the Rolls-Royce engines were fitted to the underframes, it meant that they couldn't easily be removed by fork lift as with other types, but needed a drop pit. The ER only had two DMU depots with these (Neville Hill and Botanic Gardens) so there was no real chance of transfer.
First cars to be withdrawn were 51821/59706/51837 on the 9th Nov. '63, due to the Sowerby Bridge fire on 13/1/63. 52074/59705 were involved in another major fire at Bescar Lane on 9/5/71, and withdrawn the following month. Moved to Hammerton St, they were but up there in July 1972. This left 28 complete sets and one spare DMC. The cost of refurbishment of a spare power car could not be justified, so the one in the worst condition at the time, 51848, was withdrawn. On 9/1/83 the three unrefurbished centre cars were withdrawn, followed by fifteen refurbished ones later in the year, with many stored at Hammerton St for long periods before scrapping.
The remaining vehicles continued on until power cars started being withdrawn in 1986 (3 vehicles), 1987 saw 19 power cars go, and 1988 saw a smaller loss of just 3 vehicles. The following year saw the trailer cars starting to go as well, 1989 seeing a loss of 14 vehicles, with the remaining 22 vehicles withdrawn in 1990 except one trailer which lingered into 1991. These figure's don't include four vehicles that were transferred to Sandite use.
Pictured is E51834 awaiting it's fate at Snailwell on August 31st, 1990 Mac Winfield.