British Rail BEMU
|British Rail BEMU|
|Built at||Derby Works - converted to battery at Cowlairs|
|Family name||Derby Lightweight|
|Constructed||1956 - converted 1958|
|Number built||1 set (2 cars)|
|Number preserved||1 set (2 cars)|
105 second (initially 31 + 86)
|Maximum speed||60 miles per hour (97 km/h)|
|Weight||DMBS: 37 long tons 10 cwt (84,000 lb or 38.1 t)
DTC: 32 long tons 10 cwt (72,800 lb or 33 t)
|Prime mover(s)||2 x 100 kilowatts (130 hp) nose-suspended motors|
|Power supply||Chloride Batteries Ltd|
|Electric system(s)||216 lead-acid cells, 440 V, 1070 A·hr|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The Battery Electric Multiple Unit was an experimental two-car battery electric multiple unit, converted from the prototype Derby Lightweight Diesel multiple units. As each set of batteries weighed about 8 tons, the underframe needed strengthening.
The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board initiated the design and was a joint sponsor. They supplied the 6,600v supply to the recharger at Aberdeen's platform 1 and 11kv to the Ballater recharger.
It was powered by large lead-acid batteries and was used on the Royal Deeside line from Aberdeen to Ballater in Scotland from 1958. The unit was equipped with a new type of battery in the early 1960s but subsequently suffered a series of small fires in the battery areas and was withdrawn from service. It is believed to have returned to use for a period before closure of the line in 1966.
It then spent a short time in storage at Inverurie Works, and at Hyndland Shed in Glasgow before being transferred to departmental use as test train "Gemini" (or Lab 16) for use at the Railway Technical Centre, at Derby. It lasted in this role until it was withdrawn in 1984, and was eventually bought for preservation at the proposed West Yorkshire Transport Museum. The museum placed it on loan to the East Lancashire Railway who restored it and used it on services. The museum went into liquidation and the unit was purchased by the Royal Deeside Railway in 2001 and is now back in Scotland, where it is undergoing refurbishment. Details are as follows:
|Vehicle Nos.||Location||Comments||Departmental Nos.|
|79998||79999||Royal Deeside Railway||Used as test train "Gemini" (Lab 16).||975003||975004|
- Railway Magazine June 1958 pp. 419-420 First Battery Railcars on BR
- Photos at Royal Deeside Railway
- Dave Coxon's website - Photographs from the unit's time as the BR Automatic Train Operation test train.
- Railcar Association – BEMU (at the Internet Archive)