Diesel Electric railmotor (VR)

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Diesel Electric Rail Motor (DERM)
DERMNewport Workshops.JPG
RM58 At Newport Workshops
Type and origin
Power type Diesel engine, Originally Petrol
Designer based off the St Louis Car Company railmotor design
Builder VR 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 General Motors 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were the longest-lived railmotor on the Victorian Railways, with the first entering service in 1928 and the last being withdrawn in 1991.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 railmotor was built by the Victorian railway Newport workshops not the built by the St. Louis Car Company It was powered by a 220 hp Winton petrol engine which was used until the 1950s when they were converted to twin Diesel Electric engines giving a total of 255 bhp.[1]

By the 1970s the longest regular scheduled journey run by a DERM was the Bendigo to Robinvale run, withdrawn on 3 June 1978. A DERM with a DERM Trailer car ran a regular passenger train on the South Gippsland Line from the 1960s - 1970s.[2] In the late '70s RM 55 and RM 61 were extensively modified with the cab being rebuilt, the engine being relocated and the engine room rebuilt with porthole windows, and new aluminium cabin windows fitted. As such they looked significantly different.[citation needed]

DERMs with the porthole windows were a familiar sight on the Mornington and Stony Point lines prior to the line closures in the early 1980s.


they were fitted with Petrol engines until 1950 when they were converted to Diesel


As of 1983, 28MT had been scrapped and 27, 29 and 30MT were all withdrawn account poor condition, and the Brill trailer 200MT was stored unservicable at Newport workshops. 26MT was still in use along with the ex-W-type trailers 31MT, 32MT, 33MT and 34MT.

Details of vehicles[edit]

Motor units [3][4][edit]

Railmotor Entered service Upgraded to DERM Withdrawn Scrapped Current Status Notes
55RM 7/3/1928 27/10/1952 1993 Preserved - Operational "Super DERM" - SGR
56RM 29/3/1930 29/8/1952 Pending Restoration Steamrail Ballarat
57RM 16/4/1930 30/12/1952 1982 Scrapped
58RM 3/5/1930 10/5/1952 Preserved - Operational DERMPAV
59RM 14/5/1930 23/5/1953 Preserved - Unservicable DERMPAV
60RM 18/6/1930 29/10/1951 Pending Restoration DERMPAV
61RM 21/6/1930 29/10/1953 1978 Preserved - Operational "Super DERM" - VGR
62RM 21/7/1930 26/1/1952 Preserved - Unservicable YVR
63RM 7/8/1930 6/12/1952 Preserved - Operational DCSR
64RM 27/4/1931 26/7/1952 Under Restoration DERMPAV

Trailers [5][edit]

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. Below is a brief outline of the status of the DERMs (as at February 2016):

  • 55RM - "Super DERM" Stored at the former South Gippsland Tourist Railway Owned by VicTrack heritage, allocated to ARHS Museum on lease to SGR.
  • 56RM - Stored at Steamrail Ballarat East, owned by VicTrack Heritage
  • 57RM - Scrapped
  • 58RM - Operational for mainline use, owned by DERMPAV
  • 59RM - Was stored at Mornington Railway, transferred to DERMPAV in September 2015. To be used as parts for 58RM, then as a long-term restoration project.
  • 60RM - Stored at Newport Workshops, owned by DERMPAV
  • 61RM - "Super DERM" Operational at the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
  • 62RM - Undergoing restoration at the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway
  • 63RM - Operational on the Daylesford Spa Country Railway; visually restored to 1930s livery of dark red with silver stripes
  • 64RM - Under restoration by DERMPAV

Model Railways[edit]

HO Scale[edit]

  • Steam Era Models produces a plastic kit (including a motor) for the DERM.[6][7]
  • Trainbuilder has released sets of DERM+Trailers in ready-to-run brass.[8]
  • Eureka Models has announced an intent to release ready-to-run models sometime in the future.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DERM Railmotors". VictorianRailways.net. Archived from the original on 11 July 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2008. 
  2. ^ Banger, Chris (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). 25 (3): 77–82. 
  3. ^ "Surviving E.M.C. Railcars - DERMPAV". Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "DERM/PERM - Pjv101.net". Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Derm Trailers - Pjv101.net". 
  6. ^ http://www.steameramodels.com/locos.htm
  7. ^ http://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1117090.htm
  8. ^ http://trainbuilder.com/derm

External links[edit]