British Rail Classes 101 and 102
|British Rail Classes 101 and 102|
|Family name||First generation|
|Replaced||Steam locomotives and carriages|
|Number built||Class 101: 527 (DMCL: 97, DMBS: 217, DTCL: 120, TSL: 41, TSLRB: 6, TCL: 18, TBSL: 28)|
Class 102: 106 (DMCL: 53, TCL: 53)
|Number preserved||41 cars|
|Formation||2-, 3-, or 4-car sets|
First North Western
|Car length||57 ft 0 in (17.37 m)|
|Width||9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)|
|Height||3.77 m (12 ft 4 in)|
|Maximum speed||70 mph (113 km/h)|
|Weight||32.5 tonnes (32.0 long tons; 35.8 short tons) (powered),|
25 tonnes (25 long tons; 28 short tons) (unpowered)
|Prime mover(s)||Two BUT (AEC or Leyland) 6-cylinder diesels|
|Power output||150 bhp (112 kW) each engine|
|Transmission||Mechanical: 4-speed epicyclic gearbox|
|Coupling system||Screw-link couplings, British Standard gangways|
|Multiple working||■ Blue Square|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The British Rail Classes 101 and 102 diesel mechanical multiple units were built by Metro-Cammell at Washwood Heath in Birmingham, England from 1956 to 1959, following construction of a series of prototype units. These classes proved to be some of the most successful and longest-lived of BR's First Generation DMUs, second in longevity only to the Class 121, with the final five units being withdrawn on 24 December 2003. The oldest set was, by then, just over 47 years old.
In 1954, British Rail published a Modernisation Plan to streamline the railway network, bringing it up to date in comparison to European standards. Steam power would be phased out in favour of diesel powered railcars and locomotives, and projects were put out to tender. BR hoped that by replacing steam with DMUs, costs would be reduced sufficiently to make rural lines viable.
Since there was no time for BR to issue a standard specification, train builders were invited to submit plans on the understanding that the units could be built and put into service quickly. Having gained experience with early lightweight DMUs, Metro Cammell won a contract and put the Class 101 into production. The type featured a steel chassis with an aluminium body to reduce weight. Five orders for batches were placed for the type.
Metro-Cammell advertised their new train highlighting the wide availability and modern features the 101 offered. Demand was so high that at one point four cars per week were rolling off the Washwood Heath production lines. The trains underwent testing on the Sutton Park line near the works from 1956, before the sets were released to BR.
The 101s came in two, three or four car units, with two driving carriages one or two of which were powered by 11.3 litre BUT six cylinder diesel engines with epicyclic gearboxes. Being a first generation DMU, they were a prime example of a slam door train. They had a top speed of 70 mph (110 km/h).
The 101 DMU fleet was vast with 527 101s and 106 of the related Class 102s being built. The two types were distinguished by the type of engine fitted, but were eventually classified together as Class 101s only. In all, 760 individual vehicles were built in total, 465 were for the Eastern Region and North Eastern Region, 159 for the Scottish Region and 139 for the London Midland Region.
In the mid 1970s, the type was chosen for a refurbishment to extend their service life. The interior of vehicles were improved with the fitting of fluorescent lighting, new upholstery and carpeting, and fitting of extra heating equipment. They also had uprated engines fitted. The work was carried out by BR Doncaster.
The Class 111 was a variant of the 101, having more powerful Rolls-Royce engines. It was based to serve Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire PTE. The 111 lasted in service until 1989, fourteen years earlier than the 101.
The 101 fleet was used across much of the British Rail network (with the notable exception of the Southern Region - apart from some inter-regional workings). Notable concentration of services included:
Class 101s operated various routes in Scotland starting in July 1958. Edinburgh - Dundee was a regular working, with units stabled at Dundee depot. Upon ScotRail's formation, the units continued in use and were in service up to Privatisation in 1997, with some painted in orange and black Strathclyde PTE livery.
In January 1984, a fire at Ayr depot destroyed six 101s and as a result an equivalent number of Class 104 were drafted in to fill the gap. One unit was modified with larger windows to become an 'Observation Saloon', which was used on the Hebridean route between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh until the service was taken over by Sprinters.
Upon Privatisation in 1997, ScotRail retained eleven units in service, running the Glasgow to Barrhead, East Kilbride, Paisley Canal and Whifflet as well as the Motherwell to Cumbernauld services. Although Class 101s were a common sight in Scotland up to the early 90s, they disappeared from Glasgow Central high level with the introduction of the Class 156. Newer Class 170s started a stock cascade and the type's withdrawal began. Upon the 101s final withdrawal from Scotland in November 1999, the remaining sets were returned to Manchester.
The type was seen in South Wales working commuter routed around the Valleys and West Wales Line until the early 1990s, and on rural Welsh lines until the early 2000s. In the 1970s, a diagram from Birmingham to Aberystwyth via the Cambrian Line was a regular route for the 101s. From 1982, they were used on the Central Wales Line between Shrewsbury and Swansea. The 101s were scheduled along with a mixture of other first generation DMUs and Sprinters to work the Crewe - Holyhead services from the early 1980s.
Starting on 14 April 1958, the region received a batch of two and three car units. Class 101s were extensively used for commuter services on the Cross-City Line and Chase Line in Birmingham and services to Worcester before being out to work in outlying areas.
Operating from Tyseley depot, the type was used all over the West Midlands well into the 1980s. Just as with the Class 116 which was also heavily used on the same routes, the 101s were withdrawn from WMPTE service on 12 July 1993 when the Cross-City Line was fully electrified.
Arriving in 1957 at the newly opened Darlington depot, the 101s were initially used on runs between Darlington and Saltburn on the Tees Valley Line. Most of the first batch of 101s ordered were allocated to Darlington. The class continued to serve the line well into the 1980s. The type was withdrawn 21 September 1989 in favour of Pacers
The initial order of 339 vehicles were allocated to the Tyneside area. The 101s first went into service on 24 October 1956 when seven 4-car and 10 2-car units were delivered. A route from Newcastle to Middlesbrough followed. From February 1957, they began operating a stopping service between Newcastle and Carlisle. A longer diagram between Newcastle and Leeds offered a buffet service. The 101s routes were expanded to the whole Tyneside area, replacing the local steam-hauled services.
Later services were run by Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive and stabled at South Gosforth depot. They remained in service in the region until 30 May 1981 when they were superseded by the Tyne and Wear Metro. At which point, the class was withdrawn and the sets sent to Neville Hill depot in Leeds to be re-deployed.
An initial batch of 10 units went into service in Bradford in December 1956. Operating out of Neville Hill depot in Leeds, the 101s were used extensively for short commuter services. Because of the relatively underpowered engines, the more powerful Class 111 was paired up with some 101 units, while others were moved to other depots. Some wore WYPTE livery. Occasional services between York - Manchester and beyond were worked via the Calder Valley. Regular services were run between Leeds, Bradford, York and Sheffield but the units could aso be seen in places such as Scarborough and Whitby.
From 1967, several 101 sets were transferred to serve the South West. Services from Reading to Gatwick Airport and Oxford to Paddington were common. Diagrams expanded as more 101s arrived in the region with regular runs in the Bristol area. They were stabled at Reading and Plymouth, Laira depots, with the units serving until 1987 when they were largely replaced by Class 108s. Several 101s received Network Southeast branding and by the early 1990s had been scaled back to running local services between Didcot, Oxford and Bicester. However, some 101 units were still working in the Plymouth area as late as May 1993 with the final withdrawal coming in 1996.
Thanks to the withdrawal of other units and types, 101s were paired up with different carriages. From the early 1980s it was not uncommon for example for a 101 trailer to be paired to another first generation DMU driving car on various routes and different regions.
First introduced in the region in January 1970, the 101 units were allocated to Norwich depot and used on rural lines, notably Norwich to Sheringham and on the Fen line, as well as regular services to Ipswich among others. In later years, additional units were based at Cambridge. The Cambridge based trains primarily ran shuttle services from Cambridge to Royston and from Hitchin to Huntingdon. However with the electrification of the region and introduction of newer rolling stock, by the early 1990s they had fallen out of favour and were re-allocated to other parts of the rail network. The remaining 101 unit was finally withdrawn from Norwich in August 1996.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2021)
When the Pacers serving Manchester to Blackpool shortly after their introduction proved unreliable in the mid 1980s, the 101 filled the gap at short notice despite not being common in the region. The 101s were then rolled out across the Greater Manchester area.
Despite the intention to phase out the type and other Heritage DMUs in favour of newer stock, the 101 proved to be a dependable workhorse. Thirty five units were removed from service by 1992 and received a further refurbishment. At this point, they were repainted in Regional Railways livery, and had the class number applied concurrently with several Sprinter and Pacer sets. The work was once again undertaken at Doncaster. Along with other first generation types, corrosion of the body panels and asbestos used during construction was seen as major concerns and were leading causes for their eventual retirement.
Once the units from Scotland had returned, they were put into use working the rural lines around Greater Manchester, especially the Buxton and Hope Valley Lines on services into Manchester Picadilly. It was intended to phase the 101s out of service in favour of the Class 142 in the late 1990s, but the Privatisation of British Rail delayed those plans.
Following privatisation the remaining 101 sets in mainline service fell under the ownership of Angel Trains and operated by the First North Western franchise once the units from Scotland had been returned to Manchester. FNW declined to repaint the trains again, and they retained their former liveries. A total of 18 sets were in service initially. Ongoing problems with the Pacer units and the Sprinters' use on other lines meant that the 101s were called on to continue in service. The 101s outlasted the Class 141 Pacer in service, a type which had been intended to replace the older unit.
The 101 was seen regularly running on the North Wales Coast Line service between Crewe and Holyhead alongside loco hauled trains as late as 1999. The type was unsuited to the route, and was replaced with the British Rail Class 175 from 2000. It fell to the 101s to run the stopping service from Manchester to Stoke-on-Trent, along with other rural routes in the north west.
Beginning in late 2000, the age of the units was starting to tell and the remaining 101s were gradually retired. They were used exclusively on the Hope Valley services until the end of their career. The very last scheduled service for the type anywhere was run on 24 December 2003 between Rose Hill and Manchester Piccadilly at which point the final five units were decommissioned from service, and sent to Shoeburyness for storage.
Because of the type's popularity and longevity in service, a final farewell tour for the 101s was run in late 2003 which was a railtour of northwest England.
Accidents and incidents
- On 10 August 1961, Class 45 D105 running light to Neville Hill over-ran signals and collided with a Leeds - Scarborough Class 101 almost opposite Leeds East Signal Box. Leaking diesel caught fire and the leading two DMU vehicles (51440 & 59533) overturned, but were returned to traffic after repair. One person was killed, and two injured. The driver of the locomotive mistakenly accepted the signal that had been cleared for the DMU.
- On 15 June 1965, an empty stock train passed a colour light signal and two ground subsidiary signals at danger before colliding at slow speed with the leading coach of the approaching 15.57 Scarborough - Leeds Class 101. Both drivers and twelve passengers were injured.
- On 11 July 1967, A 101 working on the 10.11 Chester to Manchester Exchange service collided at a speed of approx. 20 mph with the rear of the 02.00 Margam to Carlisle Class 5 freight train which was standing at the Winwick Junction Down Fast Home signal. There were no injuries.
- On 16 February 1977, an express passenger train hauled by Class 55 locomotive 55 008 collided with a Class 101 diesel multiple unit operating an empty stock train after failing to stop at Darlington. One of the vehicles of the DMU overturned. The guard of the express was slightly injured. The cause of the accident was that the brakes on the carriages of the express had become isolated whilst the train was moving in a freak event. The train had struck an object on the track, which had caused a traction motor cover to come lose. This struck the handle of the brake isolating cock, closing it and thus separating the brakes between the locomotive and train.
- On 28 March 1983, the 20.58 Falkirk Grahamston to Glasgow Queen St service collided with a van that was allowed to roll away and drop 40 feet into the cutting near Eastfield shed.
Original TOPS classes
When TOPS was originally introduced only the Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) and the Driving Motor Composite (with Lavatory) (DMCL) were classified as Class 101 (AEC engines) or Class 102 (Leyland engines). The Driving Trailer Composite (with Lavatory) (DTCL) were either Class 144 or Class 147. The Trailer Seconds (with Lavatory) (TSL) were Class 162, the Trailer Brake Second (with Lavatory) (TBSL) were Class 168 and the Trailer Composite (with Lavatory) (TCL) were Class 171. Later all the cars were reclassified, becoming Class 101.
|Type||Class||Seating||Weight||Lot No||Diagram||Formation (Original)||Year built|
|50138–50151||DMC(L)||101/1||12F 45S (2/2)||32t||30249||BR 618||4-car||1956|
|50158–50163||DMC(L)||101/1||12F 53S||32t||30253||BR 620||Power-Twin||1956/7|
|50168–50171||DMC(L)||101/1||12F 53S||32t||30255||BR 620||Power-Twin||1956/7|
|50172–50197||DMC(L)||101/1||12F 53S||32t||30256||BR 620||4-car||1957|
|50234–50245||DMC(L)||101/1||12F 45S||32t||30263||BR 619||4-car||1957|
|50260–50269||DMC(L)||101/1||12f 53S||32t||30267||BR 621||Power-Twin||1957|
|50293–50296||DMBS||101/2||52S||32t||30270||BR 523||Power/Trailer 2-car||1957|
|50321–50338||DMC(L)||101/1||12F + 53S||32t||30276||BR 621||3-car||1958|
|50745–50747||DMC(L)||101/1||12F + 53S||32t||30271||BR 621||3-car||1957|
|50748–50751||DMC(L)||101/1||12F + 53S||32t||30271||BR 621||4-car||1957|
|51174–51203||DMBS||101/1||52S||32t||30467||BR 523||Power/Trailer 2-car||1958|
|51204–51223||DMBS||101/2||52S||32t||30467||BR 523||Power/Trailer 2-car||1958|
|51224–51253||DMBS||101/2||52S||32t||30467||BR 523||Power/Trailer 2-car||1958|
|51425–51434||DMBS||102/2||52S||32t||30500||BR 523||Power/Trailer 2-car||1959|
|56050–56061||DTC(L)||144||12F+53S||25t||30260||BR 630||Power/Trailer 2-car||1957|
|56062–56085||DTC(L)||144||12F+53S||25t||30262||BR 630||Power/Trailer 2-car||1957|
|56086–56089||DTC(L)||144||12F+52S||25t||30272||BR 630||Power/Trailer 2-car||1957|
|56218–56220||DTC(L)||144||12F+45S||25t||30340||BR 629||Power/Trailer 2-car||1957|
|56332–56361||DTC(L)||144||12F+53S||25t||30340||BR 630||Power/Trailer 2-car||1957|
|56362–56381||DTC(L)||144||12F+53S||25t||30468||BR 630||Power/Trailer 2-car||1957|
|56382–56411||DTC(L)||144||12F+53S||25t||30468||BR 630||Power/Trailer 2-car||1957|
The Class 101 was one of the largest classes of first-generation DMUs and, partly thanks to their relatively late withdrawal from revenue-earning service, numerous vehicles have been preserved on heritage railways, including the Great Central Railway and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. There are only three centre cars preserved: at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, North Yorkshire Moors Railway and Mid-Norfolk Railway. No Trailer Brake Seconds were saved.
|Set number||Vehicle numbers||Livery||Location||Notes|
|101685||50164||59539||50160||BR Green||North Yorkshire Moors Railway||Last to be withdrawn, operational|
|960992||-||-||50193||BR Blue and Grey||Great Central Railway||Stored.|
|-||50203||-||50266||BR Blue||Great Central Railway||Operational|
|101680||50204||-||51511||BR Green||North Yorkshire Moors Railway||Stored|
|Iris 2||50222||-||50338||BR Green||Barry Island Railway||Operational|
|101692||50253||59303 (TSL)||50170||BR Green||Ecclesbourne Valley Railway||Operational|
|-||50256||-||56343(DTCL)||BR Blue||Wensleydale Railway||Stored|
|-||51187||-||51512||BR Green||Cambrian Heritage Railways||Under repair|
|-||51188||-||51505||BR Blue||Ecclesbourne Valley Railway||Operational (51188 on loan to North Norfolk Railway for 2018/19)|
|-||51189||-||51803||BR Green||Keighley and Worth Valley Railway||Operational|
|-||51192||-||56352(DTCL)||BR Green||North Norfolk Railway||Operational|
|-||51205||-||56055(DTCL)||BR Green||Cambrian Heritage Railways||Operational|
|101678||51210||-||50746||BR Blue / BR Blue and Grey||Wensleydale Railway||Last to be withdrawn, under restoration|
|-||51213||-||56358(DTCL)||BR Blue and Grey / BR Blue||East Anglian Railway Museum||Operational|
|101695||51226||-||51499||BR Green||Mid Norfolk Railway||Operational|
|-||51228||-||56062(DTCL)||BR Green||North Norfolk Railway||Operational|
|960993||51427||59575 (Class 111)||50321||BR Green||Great Central Railway||Operational|
|L836||51434(DMBC)||59117||51503||BR Blue and Grey||Mid Norfolk Railway||Operational (Currently as 2-car only)|
|-||-||-||56342(DTCL)||BR Blue and Grey||Great Central Railway||Under restoration|
|-||-||-||56347(DTCL)||BR Green||Mid Norfolk Railway||Operational|
|-||-||-||56356(DTCL)||Non Standard Green and Cream||Barry Island Railway||Stored|
|-||-||-||56408(DTCL)||SR Malachite Green||Spa Valley Railway||Operational|
|-||50211||-||-||Regional Railways||Private Site||Stored, cab only|
|-||-||-||50269||Regional Railways||Private Site||Stored, cab only|
|-||51177||-||-||BR Blue||Private Site, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire||Cab only, used as a store room.|
Hornby Railways first produced a version of the BR Class 101 in OO gauge in 1958 which was last produced in 1977. Lima also produced a Class 101 for a number of years, in Green, Blue/Grey, Regional Railways and Network Southeast liveries. The tooling was used by Hornby following purchase of their assets. Bachmann Industries launched their BR Class 101 in OO gauge in 2014 and this has also been produced in a variety of liveries
The Class 101 DMUs were the basis for the character Daisy the Diesel Railcar in The Railway Series books written by the Rev. W. Awdry, and the adapted television series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, although Daisy is a single car.
- Fox 1987, pp. 8, 10-11, 15-16, 26, 28-33, 35-36.
- "CLASS 101, 102, 144, 147, 162, 164, 168, 171". The RailwayCentre.Com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009.
- Bolton, William F. (1963). "Railcar Transmissions". The Railwayman's Diesel Manual (4th ed.). pp. 137–143.
- Cole, Andrew (15 August 2017). First Generation DMUs. ISBN 9781445666419.
- Howat, Colin J. (15 August 2019). First Generation Scottish DMUs. ISBN 9781445691886.
- Edgar, Gordon (15 February 2015). Yorkshire & Humberside Traction. ISBN 9781445643335.
- Marks, Roger (15 February 2015). Heritage DMUs: The Final Years. ISBN 9781445640297.
- St John Thomas, David; Whitehouse, Patrick (1990). BR in the Eighties. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-9854-7.
- "Class 101". www.zen70752.zen.co.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
- "First North Western - News". 28 November 1999. Archived from the original on 28 November 1999. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
- "North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 23 December 2013". www.nwrail.org.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
- "Report on the collision that occurred on 16th February 1977 at Darlington in the Eastern Region of British Railways" (PDF). Department of Transport. 13 July 1978. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
- "Hornby BR Class 101 DMU". Hornby Railways Collector Guide. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- Fox, Peter (1987). Multiple Unit Pocket Book. British Railways Pocket Book No.2 (Summer/Autumn 1987 ed.). Platform 5 Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0906579740. OCLC 613347580.
- Fox, Peter; Webster, Neil (July 1982). Multiple Unit Pocket Book. Sheffield: Platform 5 Publications. ISBN 0-906579-26-0.
- Golding, Brian. A Pictorial Record of British Railways Diesel Multiple Units.
- Haresnape, Brian. British Rail Fleet Survey 8: Diesel Multiple Units—The First Generation.
- Marsden, Colin J. Motive Power Recognition: 3 DMUs.
- Robertson, Kevin. British Railway Pictorial: First Generation DMUs.
Media related to British Rail Class 101 at Wikimedia Commons