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 St Louis Car Company
Builder St Louis Car Company (First)
Victorian Railways
Build date 1928 - 1931
Total produced 10
Gauge 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
Length 58 ft (18 m)
Locomotive 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)
Operator(s) Victorian Railways, VLine
Number in class 10
Number(s) 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.[citation needed]


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were the longest-lived railmotor on the Victorian Railways, with the first entering service in 1928 and the last being withdrawn in 1991.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 St. Louis Car Company and shipped to Australia where the Victorian Railways built a further nine copies of it. 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By the 1970s the longest regular scheduled journey run by a DERM was the Bendigo to Robinvale run, withdrawn on 3 June 1978.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.


All but one of the DERMs have survived into preservation, with 57RM being the only DERM to have been scrapped. Two are operational, with the remaining seven in various conditions. Below is a brief outline of the status of the DERMs (as at September 2015):

  • 55RM - Under restoration at the South Gippsland Tourist Railway
  • 56RM - Stored at 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 - Stored 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.[3][4]

Trainbuilder has released sets of DERM+Trailers in ready-to-run brass.[5]

Eureka Models has announced an intent to release ready-to-run models sometime in the future.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DERM Railmotors". VictorianRailways.net. 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. ^ http://www.steameramodels.com/locos.htm
  4. ^ http://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1117090.htm
  5. ^ http://trainbuilder.com/derm

External links[edit]