The Dean Forest DMU Group are a group of volunteers responsible for the preservation, restoration and operation of five Class 108 Diesel Railcars. We are based at the Dean Forest Railway at Norchard near Lydney.
This website provides the latest news of these Railcars and background information.
The Dean Forest DMU Group is a self-supporting group who own, restore, and maintain a fleet of class 108 railcars on the Dean Forest Railway, where we have been based since 1992.
We started as a small group of like-minded individuals who decided the DFR would benefit from the acquisition of a 2 car DMU and in 1992 we purchased a 2-car Class 108 set from Gloucester Horton Road Engine Shed that had been used as an emergency practice unit.
We have subsequently purchased two more power cars and a centre trailer car, the only one built to this design in existence, giving us a fleet of five vehicles to operate on the DFR.
The DMU Group has always owned the rails the Railcars sit on and these sidings are affectionately known as ‘DMUville’. We have gradually expanded to make space for the new vehicles and two years ago we bought two containers; one has been transformed into a mess hut and small workshop and the other into a storage unit.
The Dean Forest DMU Group owns a fleet of 5 class 108 railcars, built by British Railways at Derby. Our fleet is as follows:
E50619 – DMBS (Power Car with Guards Compartment)
Built in 1958, entering service with BR North Eastern Region. Withdrawn in 1991 at Gloucester Horton Road and subsequently purchased by the Dean Forest DMU Group, arriving at Norchard in 1992. This vehicle sees regular service with 51566. This vehicle entered service at the DFR in 1993, but is currently not in use whilst essential maintenance work is undertaken.
M51566 – DMCL (Power Car)
Built in 1959, this vehicle originally worked in North Wales. After service in Scotland it ended its days in England, being withdrawn in 1992. Initially preserved at Peak Rail before being purchased by the Dean Forest DMU Group in 2008 and moved to Norchard. This vehicle sees regular service with 50619. Following restoration, this vehicle entered service at the DFR in 2013, but is currently not in use whilst essential maintenance work is undertaken.
M51914 – DMBS (Power Car with Guards Compartment)
Built in 1960 for the London Midland region, this vehicle spent most of its working life in the North West before moving to Bletchley in 1987, where it was withdrawn in 1993. After use as a spares donor, it was purchased by a member of the Dean Forest DMU Group and moved to Norchard in 1994. After full restoration, this vehicle entered service at the DFR in 1999. This vehicle underwent further restoration from 2015 to 2020, but is now back in service with vehicle M56492.
M56492 – DTCL (Driving Trailer)
Built in 1960 for the London Midland region, 56492 was initially used in the Liverpool area before ending its days with 50619 at Gloucester Horton Road, where it was withdrawn in 1991. After purchase by the Dean Forest DMU Group, it arrived at Norchard in 1992. This vehicle is currently used as a spare vehicle, but is available for service if required. This vehicle entered service at the DFR in 1993 and is currently in service with vehicle M51914.
E59387 – TSL (Centre Trailer)
Built in 1958 and initially allocated to Hull depot. This vehicle saw use around the country before being withdrawn in 1992. Initially preserved at Peak Rail before being purchased by the Dean Forest DMU Group in 2008, arriving at Norchard in 2009. This vehicle is often used to form a 3-car set with 50619 and 51566. Following refurbishment, his vehicle entered service at the DFR in 2012, but is currently not in use whilst essential maintenance work is undertaken.
Further information on these vehicles can be found in the booklet “Diesel Multiple Units on the Dean Forest Railway” published by the Dean Forest DMU Group. It can be purchased from the sales stand on the DMU (when in service) or from the DFR shop at Norchard, price £2.00.
In addition, The Railcar Association website contains a history of these vehicles in preservation – http://preserved.railcar.co.uk/DeanForest.html
In addition, the group also own a couple of wagons which are used for storage:
To join the Dean Forest DMU Group, as an ‘armchair’ or working member, please download and complete our Membership Form.
The Annual Membership Fee is: Adult (£8.00), Under 16 years / Seniors (£6.00) or Family (12.00).
Once payment has been received you will receive a membership card through the post and our Newsletters, which keep you up to date with our goings on. We organise social events a couple of times a year, visiting other Heritage Railways or just having a meal together, and any working member is welcome to join us.
Volunteers bring lots of skills with them, some they don’t even know they have. There’s a lot of vehicle maintenance, mechanical and electrical, and, as long as you don’t mind getting dirty, lots of jobs to tackle underneath. We have tools-a-plenty and can tackle most of the jobs ourselves – and we can soon show you how.
But if you prefer to keep clean and dry, there are plenty of internal jobs to do as well: mechanical work, air and vacuum systems, catering and on-board services, internal fixtures and fittings, painting, woodwork, metalwork, electrical work, looking after our infrastructure and spares, cleaning and generally making sure our units go out into service doing us proud, we do get lots of compliments on their condition.
On running days, we have a small buffet that provides hot and cold drinks, sweets and cakes (many baked by our volunteers – another way to help) and we need sociable people to look after our visitors. Training will be given, even though most people can make a cup of tea. On fish and chip specials we run an evening train and the buffet becomes a bar – so if you can pour a beer – we need you!
There is still a lot of work to be done and we can always do with both practical and financial help so that we can preserve our Heritage Railcars for future generations to enjoy.
If you would like to join us or find out more please email [email protected] or pop into Norchard for a chat.
Please note, to join the DMU Group as a volunteer, you need to join the Dean Forest Railway Society (for insurance purposes). Please see their website for details: www.dfrsociety.org.uk