The Pressed Steel 

One of the longest-lived of the first-generation DMUs was the Pressed Steel-built Class 117, intended for the Western Region but later used in many other parts of the country. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES delves into the history of these highly regarded trains.

Above: A pair of Pressed Steel Class 117 DMUs pass the ‘HMV’ factory as they depart Hayes & Harlington forming the 2.42pm Paddington- Reading service on October 19 1963. Brian Stephenson.

THE IDEA of using Diesel Multiple Units to cut costs and increase ridership on British Railways’ local and secondary services pre-dated the Modernisation Plan of 1955, with the first trains actually taking to the rails in 1954. Three distinct types of DMU were proposed. The first was a ‘go-anywhere’ low-density type which could be used for secondary services, the second was for use on cross-country work where a greater level of comfort was required while the final type would be for the use of short-haul commuters.

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