Diesel Electric railmotor (VR)

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Diesel Electric Rail Motor (DERM)
DERMNewport Workshops.JPG
Type and origin
Power type Diesel engine, Originally Petrol
Designer based off a St. Louis Car Company design
Builder Newport Workshops
Build date 1928 - 1931
Total produced 10
Gauge 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
Length 58 ft (18 m)
Loco weight 43.07 long tons (43.76 t; 48.24 short tons)
Fuel type Originally Petrol, converted to Diesel fuel
Fuel capacity 750 litres (200 US gal)
Engine type 220 hp Winton six-cylinder petrol engine (Petrol)
2 x Series 71 twin six-cylinder diesel engines (Diesel)
Generator General Electric DT 501E2
Traction motors 2 x General Electric GE 273A
Performance figures
Maximum speed 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph)
Power output 220 hp (Petrol), 255 bhp (Diesel)
Operators Victorian Railways, VLine
Number in class 10
Numbers 55RM - 64RM
First run 1928
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were the longest-lived railmotor on the Victorian Railways, with the first entering service in 1928 and the last being withdrawn in 1991.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 Newport Workshops to a design of the St. Louis Car Company. It was powered by a 220 hp Winton Motor Carriage Company petrol engine which was used until the 1950s when they were converted to twin Diesel Electric engines giving a total of 255 bhp.[citation needed]

A DERM with a DERM Trailer car ran a regular passenger train 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 By the 1970s the longest regular scheduled journey run by a DERM was the Bendigo to Robinvale run, withdrawn on 3 June 1978.[1]

In 1976 RM 56 was fitted with a new seating arrangement, including rotating seats using components from the Z 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 the service.[3]

Following from the changes to 56RM, in the late 1970s 55RM and 61RM were extensively modified with the engines relocated, body extended and a new seating arrangement provided.[4][5] The most obvious external difference was the fitting of new aluminium-framed windows for the driver cabin, and porthole windows for the engine room. Photo 1 Photo 2 These "Super DERMs" were a familiar sight on the Mornington and Stony Point lines prior to the line closures in the early 1980s.[citation needed]

Details of vehicles[edit]

Motor units[edit]

Railmotor[6] 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[7] 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,[8] and 63RM runs trips on the Daylesford line with trailer 26MT when appropriate.[9]

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;[10] and 61RM operates on the Victorian Goldfields Railway between Maldon and Castlemaine.[11]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]