Last knockings of the Class 101s

Although it is now 20 years since the last Class 101 DMUs were withdrawn, these units outlived many of their counterparts by a handsome margin. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks back at these successful trains and relates the story of their extended final years.

The Class 101 Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) can trace its history back to 1952, when British Railways, overwhelmed with rising operating costs, decided to adopt diesel units, or railcars as they were then known, for most local passenger services. Two years later Derby Works produced the first of its legendary ‘lightweight’ two-car sets but even then it was clear British Railways’ own Works would be unable to provide the 4,000-plus vehicles needed to complete the replacement plan.


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