British Rail Metro-Cammell Lightweight

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British Rail Metro-Cammell Lightweight
Brundall railway station 1928229 d86da465.jpg
An Eastern Region set at Brundall
In service1955–1981
ManufacturerMetropolitan Cammell
Scrapped1967–1969, 1981
Number built36 sets (72 cars)
Number scrappedAll
Formation2 car sets: DMBS-DTSL or DMBS-DTCL
CapacityDMBS: 57 or 53 second class seats
DTSL: 72 second class
DTCL: 12 first and 53 second class
Operator(s)British Rail
Train length114 ft 0 in (34.75 m)
Car length57 ft 0 in (17.37 m)
Width9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)
WeightDMBS: 31 long tons 10 cwt (70,500 lb or 32,000 kg)
DTSL: 25 long tons 0 cwt (56,000 lb or 25,000 kg)
Prime mover(s)Two BUT (AEC) 6-cylinder diesels
Power output150 hp (112 kW) each engine
TransmissionMechanical: 4-speed epicyclic gearbox
Braking system(s)Vacuum
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)

In 1955, Metropolitan Cammell produced its first lightweight Diesel multiple units, the prototypes of what were to become British Rail's most successful and longest-lived First Generation DMU type, the Class 101.


The seven London Midland Region sets (formed DMBS + DTCL) were used on the Bury-Bacup line services, while the other sets (formed DMBS + DTSL) were all allocated to the Eastern Region. These sets were used on a variety of lines in East Anglia as well as the (then) non-electrified lines in Essex (Romford-Upminster and Wickford-Southminster branches).

A unit consisting of 79066 and 79282 worked the last passenger service on the Aldeburgh Branch Line in 1966.[1]


They proved to be very successful, but with line closures continuing through the 1960s, including many in East Anglia where the type was first used, their non-standard coupling arrangements left them prone to early withdrawal, which took place during 1967–1969.

Departmental use[edit]

All were scrapped following withdrawal, except two (79047 + 79053), which were taken into departmental (non-revenue earning) service as 975018 + 975019. They were used at the Railway Technical Centre in Derby as Laboratory 21: Plasma Torch Research. When this extended life was complete, they too were scrapped, in 1981.

Fleet details[edit]

Table of orders and numbers
Lot No. Type Diagram Qty Fleet numbers Notes
30190 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 591 29 E79047–79075 56 seats
30190 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 592 7 M79076–79082 52 seats
30191 Driving Trailer Second with Lavatory (DTSL) 593 29 E79263–79291 72 seats
30191 Driving Trailer Composite with Lavatory (DTCL) 594 7 M79626–79632 12 first 53-second


  1. ^ Great Eastern Journal No 64 (Great Eastern Railway Society)