British Rail Class 105

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British Rail Classes 105 and 106
BR Class 105 E51282 and E56461 Longsight.jpg
Inside Longsight Diesel Traction Maintenance Depot, December 1983
In service1959–1988
Family nameFirst generation
ReplacedSteam locomotives and carriages
Number builtDMBS: 142, DTCL: 108,
DMCL: 33, TCL 19.
Total: 302 cars
Number preserved3 cars
Formation2-cars sets: DMBS-DTCL or DMBS-DMCL,
3 cars sets:DMBS-TCL-DMCL
Operator(s)British Railways
Car body constructionSteel
Car length57 ft 6 in (17.53 m)
Width9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)
Height12 ft 7 in (3.84 m)
Maximum speed70 mph (113 km/h)
WeightPower cars: 29.5 or 30.5 tonnes (29.0 or 30.0 long tons)
Trailer cars: 23.5 or 24.5 tonnes (23.1 or 24.1 long tons)
Prime mover(s)Two BUT
Power output150 bhp (112 kW) each engine
TransmissionMechanical: 4 speed epicyclic gearbox
UIC classificationPower cars: 1A′A1′
Trailer cars: 2′2′
Coupling systemScrew-link couplings , British Standard gangways
Multiple working Blue Square
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Class 105 set forming a charter at Fakenham East railway station, Norfolk.
Class 105 at Kings Cross York Rd station on the last day of diesel services to Moorgate in 1976.

The British Rail Classes 105 and 106 diesel multiple units were built by Cravens Ltd. of Sheffield from 1956 to 1959. The class were built with a side profile identical to British Railways Mark 1 carriage stock, using the same doors and windows. None were selected for refurbishment. The last passenger car was withdrawn from service in 1988.


1978 view towards Bures from Class 105 approaching Sudbury.

The Class 105 DMUs were used chiefly on Eastern Region services around Hull, Lincolnshire, East Anglia and local services to/From London King's Cross. Units initially designated to work on the former Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway lines were moved to services from London King's Cross upon the closure of the M&GN joint lines in 1959. Units were also used on the London Midland Region and in Scotland, particularly in Aberdeenshire. The closure of many of these lines in the 1960s resulted in their dispersal throughout Great Britain, notably to Tysley depot near Birmingham. The electrification of the lines from London King's Cross and the introduction of the Class 313 EMUs in 1976 led to the withdrawal of many Cravens units.

Norwich was the last depot to operate the Cravens units, with set 30 being returned to green livery, and gaining some celebrity status towards the end of its service life. The unit was, however, contaminated with asbestos and consequently scrapped.


Car type Qty
30280 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 14 50359–50372 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30281 Driving Trailer Composite with lavatory (DTCL) 14 56114–56127 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30282 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 17 50373–50389 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30283 Driving Trailer Composite with lavatory (DTCL) 17 56128–56144 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30284 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 5 50390–50394 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30285 Driving Trailer Composite with lavatory (DTCL) 5 56145–56149 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30352 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 33 50752–50784 2- or 3-car sets
30353 Driving Motor Composite with lavatory (DMCL) 33 50785–50817 2- or 3-car sets
30354 Trailer Composite with lavatory (TCL) 19 59307–59325 3-car sets
30469 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 48 51254–51301 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30470 Driving Trailer Composite with lavatory (DTCL) 48 56412–56459 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30503 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 24 51471–51494 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30504 Driving Trailer Composite with lavatory (DTCL) 24 56460–56483 Power-trailer 2-car sets
30505 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 1 50249

Technical details[edit]

  • Builder: Cravens
  • Introduced: 1956
  • Coupling Code: Blue Square
  • Body: 57 ft 6 in x 9 ft 2 in
  • Engines: Two BUT, 150 bhp
  • Transmission: Standard mechanical

For coupling codes see British United Traction


Cravens trailer E56456 at the Llangollen Railway

Due to the use of asbestos in their construction, and extended usage by BR, the class has fared very badly in preservation. 51485 and 56121 were preserved by the West Somerset Railway but moved to the East Lancashire Railway in 1997 where they have been restored after asbestos stripping. 56456 is based on the Llangollen Railway, working initially with a Class 127. The National Railway Museum had intended to preserve 53812 - which had been stripped of asbestos but a lack of space prevented this car and the Class 100 coupled to it from being moved to York and they were vandalised beyond repair at Crewe.

Number Vehicle type Location
51485 DMBS East Lancashire Railway
56121 DTCL East Lancashire Railway
56456 DTCL Llangollen Railway


Bachmann produce 00 scale models of the class 105 in both BR green and BR blue liveries.


  • Motive Power Recognition: 3 DMUs. Colin J. Marsden
  • British Railway Pictorial: First Generation DMUs. Kevin Robertson
  • British Rail Fleet Survey 8: Diesel Multiple Units- The First Generation. Brian Haresnape
  • A Pictorial Record of British Railways Diesel Multiple Units. Brian Golding

External links[edit]