Newcastle 9th May 2019 · A DMU Miscellany

Presenter: Robert Warburton

Robert Warburton’s talk, “A D.M.U. Miscellany”, most ably concluded the Newcastle Branch indoor meeting programme on Thursday 9th May. As the prime movers for the country’s secondary services for over 50 years, D.M.U.s have seldom caught the limelight when compared to express passenger trains, and were unloved by many when they replaced steam at a time when branch line and secondary services still ran aplenty. Nevertheless, David’s talk abounded with character and nostalgia – whether in rural charm, suburbia or urban grime – as we were taken through their history and development from the GWR’s 1930s railcars onwards. Designs that ran on the Big Four’s lines showed the gradual evolution of their aesthetics and reliability, culminating in mass introduction via the 1955 Modernisation Plan. Nearly every B.R. class that operated or runs today was covered looking at variations in design, compatibility and liveries to reveal the enormous scale of their diversity. While some early 4-wheel designs could not haul a trailing load or cope with the vagaries of the British climate, others like the Metro-Cammell Class 101s were sufficiently widespread to become a national institution. A great evening, especially due to the breadth and depth of Robert’s memory of all things D.M.U.