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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 / Set 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.

New DMU Books

You wait ages on a new DMU book, and then two come along at once! Later this month two hardback books will be released by Strathwood, one looking at the BR Built vehicles, and one looking at those built by outside contractors. Print run is limited to 1,000 copies of each.

DMUs built at BR workshops cover
DMUs built at BR workshops cover


March 12th

The minutes of the 91st Diesel Trains Committee meeting (February 1962) have been added. That's the last of those that I have.

February 24th

A look at the Class 116s in Scotland has been added.

February 3rd

The minutes of the 90th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (January 1962) have been added.

January 12th

A look at the brief use of Derby Lightweights in Lincolnshire has been added.

January 5th

The minutes of the 89th Diesel Trains Committee meeting (December 1961) have been added.

Latest Images:

New DMU photo

Cravens and Derby DMUs at Sheffield in 1983. John Law.

New DMU photo

A trio of DMUs outside Doncaster Works in 1984; a Class 111, 101 (or another 111?) and a 114 (which has E53043 closest). John Law.

New DMU photo

A Class 108 DMU with DMBS E50624 closest in the sidings between Doncaster station and the works in 1981. John Law.

New DMU photo

A Class 114 with New Mills on the destination blind arriving into Sheffield. Date unknown. John Law.

New DMU photo

A Class 108/101 hybrid set at the new Rotherham Central station in 1987. John Law.


On This Day:

101 DMU

A two-car Met-Camm DMU at Barnsley on March 22, 1986. John Law.

110 DMU

A two-car Class 110 arriving at Barnsley on March 22, 1986. John Law.

118 DMU

Class 118 set B468 (51310 closest, presumably with 59471 + 51325) at Westbury 22 March 1980. Nigel Menzies.

120 DMU

Two new six-car Swindon Cross-Country sets at Birmingham Snow Hill on 22nd March 1958. On the left is the 3.40pm to Cardiff, right is the 12.10pm from Cardiff. These trains ran via Stratford-Upon-Avon. Note the letters carried on the side of the set on the right, the 'C' is just behind the driver's door. Michael Mensing.

116 DMU

A Class 116 set at Southminster on Saturday 22nd March 1986. Colin Brooks.

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