Diesel Electric railmotor (VR)
58RM at Newport Workshops
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were the longest-lived railmotor on the Victorian Railways, with the first entering service in 1928 and the last being withdrawn in 1991.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.
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 By the 1970s the longest regular scheduled journey run by a DERM was the Bendigo to Robinvale run, withdrawn on 3 June 1978.
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. The trial arrangement was used on the Yarrawonga line, but patronage did not increase enough to justify the retention of the service.
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. 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.
Details of vehicles
|Railmotor||Entered service||Upgraded to DERM||Withdrawn||Current owner||Current allocation||Current status||Notes|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||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|
|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|
|Railmotor||Entered service||Withdrawn||Scrapped||Current status||Notes|
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, and 63RM runs trips on the Daylesford line with trailer 26MT when appropriate.
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; and 61RM operates on the Victorian Goldfields Railway between Maldon and Castlemaine.
- Banger, Chris (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). 25 (3): 77–82.
- Diagram D-4, 7th October 1976, available at http://www.victorianrailways.net/motive%20power/diagrams/dermdia.jpg
- Bray, Vincent & Gregory, Preserved Rolling Stock of Victoria, 2013, ISBN 978-0-9806806-4-5, p.62
- "Surviving E.M.C. Railcars - DERMPAV". DERMPAV.net.au. Retrieved 1 November 2016.