Diesel Electric railmotor (VR)

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Diesel Electric Rail Motor (DERM)
DERMNewport Workshops.JPG
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel engine, Originally Petrol
Designerbased off a St Louis Car Company design
BuilderNewport Workshops
Build date1928 - 1931
Total produced10
Gauge5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
Length58 ft (18 m)
Loco weight43.07 long tons (43.76 t; 48.24 short tons)
Fuel typeOriginally Petrol, converted to Diesel fuel
Fuel capacity750 litres (200 US gal)
Engine type220 hp Winton six-cylinder petrol engine (Petrol)
2 x Series 71 twin six-cylinder diesel engines (Diesel)
GeneratorGeneral Electric DT 501E2
Traction motors2 x General Electric GE 273A
Performance figures
Maximum speed100 kilometres per hour (60 mph)
Power output220 hp (Petrol), 255 bhp (Diesel)
OperatorsVictorian Railways, V/Line
Number in class10
Numbers55RM - 64RM
First run1928
RM 63 as restored by DSCR in 2007
RM 55 as a PERM pre 1952

The Diesel Electric Rail Motor (DERM) was a railmotor operated by the Victorian Railways of Australia.


Originally built as a Petrol Electric Rail Motor (PERM), they were the longest-lived railmotor on the Victorian Railways, with the first entering service in 1928 and the last being withdrawn in 1991. The first was built by the Newport Workshops to a design of the St. Louis Car Company. They were powered by 220 hp (160 kW) Winton Motor Carriage Company petrol engines, until those were replaced in the 1950s by twin Diesel Electric engines providing a power output of 255 bhp (190 kW).[citation needed]

A DERM, with a DERM Trailer car attached, ran a regular passenger service on the South Gippsland line in the 1960s - 1970s. By the 1970s the longest regular scheduled journey run by a DERM was the Bendigo to Robinvale run, last operated on 3 June 1978.[1]

In 1976, RM 56 was fitted with a new seating arrangement, including rotating seats using components from the Z carriage fleet. Capacity was reduced to 34 passengers, because the new seating arrangement was two either side of the central aisle rather than the previous 2 and 3. The first-class end of the vehicle was moved towards the centre, closer to the engine, but providing a smoother ride by averaging the suspension of both bogies rather than just one.[2] The trial arrangement was used on the Yarrawonga line, but patronage did not increase enough to justify the retention of that service.[3]

Following the changes to 56RM, 55RM and 61RM were extensively modified in the late 1970s, with the engines relocated, the body extended and a new seating arrangement provided.[4][5] The most obvious external difference was the fitting of aluminium-framed windows on the driver's cabin, and porthole windows for the engine room.[6][7] These "Super DERMs" were a familiar sight on the adjoining Mornington and Stony Point lines prior to the early 1980s.[citation needed]

Details of vehicles[edit]

Motor units[edit]

Railmotor[8] Entered service Upgraded to DERM Withdrawn Current owner Current allocation Current status Notes
55RM 1928-03-07 1952-10-27 1993 VicTrack Heritage Australian Railway Historical Society Museum, suballocated to Yarra Valley Railway[9] Preserved; operational "Super DERM"; formerly at South Gippsland Railway
56RM 1930-03-29 1952-08-29 VicTrack Heritage Steamrail Victoria, Ballarat Pending restoration Upgraded interior pre Super DERM program
57RM 1930-04-16 1952-12-30 1982 Scrapped
58RM 1930-05-03 1952-05-10 VicTrack Heritage Seymour Railway Heritage Centre, suballocated to Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association of Victoria Preserved; operational
59RM 1930-05-14 1953-05-23 Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association of Victoria Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association of Victoria Supply of spare parts Formerly with Mornington Railway, transferred September 2015
60RM 1930-06-18 1951-10-29 Mornington Railway Mornington Railway Pending restoration Stored at Newport Workshops
61RM 1930-06-21 1953-10-29 1978 Victorian Goldfields Railway Victorian Goldfields Railway Preserved; operational "Super DERM"
62RM 1930-07-21 1952-01-26 Yarra Valley Tourist Railway Yarra Valley Tourist Railway Preserved; unservicable
63RM 1930-08-07 1952-12-06 Daylesford Spa Country Railway Daylesford Spa Country Railway Preserved; operational
64RM 1931-04-27 1952-07-26 Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association of Victoria Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association of Victoria Under restoration


Motor Trailer 29 in 1982
Railmotor Entered service Withdrawn Scrapped Current status Notes
26MT 1930-04-29 1982 DCSR
27MT 1930-04-29 1982
28MT 1930-10-04 1981 1981
29MT 1930-09-26 1982
30MT 1930-09-26 1982
Diagram of VR Railmotors


All but one of the DERMs have survived into preservation, with 57RM being the only DERM to have been scrapped. Four are operational, with the remaining five in various conditions, generally as a source of spare parts with long-term restoration in mind.

Of the regular DERMs, 58RM regularly runs tours on the Melbourne and Victorian broad gauge system under Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association of Victoria,[10] and 63RM runs trips on the Daylesford line with trailer 26MT when appropriate.[11]

55RM is allocated to the Australian Railway Historical Society Museum but was suballocated to the South Gippsland Railway; when the latter closed in 2016, it moved to the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway;[12] and 61RM operates on the Victorian Goldfields Railway between Maldon and Castlemaine.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Banger, Chris (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). 25 (3): 77–82.
  2. ^ Diagram D-4, 7th October 1976, available at http://www.victorianrailways.net/motive%20power/diagrams/dermdia.jpg
  3. ^ https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p92512.htm#92512
  4. ^ Bray, Vincent & Gregory, Preserved Rolling Stock of Victoria, 2013, ISBN 978-0-9806806-4-5, p.62
  5. ^ http://www.dermpav.net.au/Surviving-EMC-Railcars/surviving-emc-railcars.html
  6. ^ "55RM". DERMPAV. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  7. ^ "61RM". DERMPAV. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  8. ^ "Surviving E.M.C. Railcars - DERMPAV". DERMPAV.net.au. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  9. ^ https://www.facebook.com/YarraValleyRailway/photos/a.291974420901885.59883.291969427569051/1115703191862333/?type=3&comment_id=1117184121714240&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R1%22%7D
  10. ^ http://www.dermpav.net.au/
  11. ^ http://www.dscr.com.au/
  12. ^ https://www.facebook.com/YarraValleyRailway/photos/a.291974420901885.59883.291969427569051/1115703191862333/?type=3&comment_id=1117184121714240&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R1%22%7D
  13. ^ http://www.vgr.com.au/stockrailmotors.php

External links[edit]