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Books on DMUs


fender

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which are your favourite books on DMUs? I'm interested in both recognition and where and when different types were used, particularly in the 50s and 60s, and particularly in Cornwall.

 

I have to say this is not a problem I've had with loco-hauled trains! most captions go into great detail to explain which loco is being used to haul a train, including its sub-type and loads of other info.

 

then when a picture of a DMU appears the caption invariably just says, "a DMU waits on the branch platform" or something like that... :scratchhead:

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which are your favourite books on DMUs? I'm interested in both recognition and where and when different types were used, particularly in the 50s and 60s, and particularly in Cornwall.

 

I have to say this is not a problem I've had with loco-hauled trains! most captions go into great detail to explain which loco is being used to haul a train, including its sub-type and loads of other info.

 

then when a picture of a DMU appears the caption invariably just says, "a DMU waits on the branch platform" or something like that... :scratchhead:

 

Hi Fender

 

DMU books will indentifiy which types were used in Cornwall in the 50s and 60s. But for a starter google the following classes as they were the ones used in Cornwall. Brimingham RCW 3 car Suburban (Class 118), Derby 3 car Suburban (Class 116), Swindon 3 car Cross Country (Class 120), and Gloucester single car (Class 122). Classes that  may have been used included Pressed Steel 3 car Suburban (Class 117), Gloucester 3 car Cross Country (Class 119) and Pressed Steel single car (Class 121). Some summer Saturday's might have brought a Swindon 4 car Inter-city  (Class 123) unit to Newquay.

 

The WR only had a few types of units from new, in the 70s some other types were transfered from other regions, but even then not that many. Cornwall was even more limited in the types used on a daily basis.

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To amplify Clive's post above, the first dmus to work regularly in Cornwall were the Class 118s, in two and three car formation.  They arrived in the first half of 1960.  The next were some second-hand Class 122s [bubble cars] which were transferred away from Southall and Reading in the spring of 1961.  In the spring of 1962 some Class120 cross-country sets arrived from Tyseley, being of the final batch with four-character headcode panels below the driver's windows.  Then it starts to get complicated.  Some of the 118s were transferred away around May/June 1962 to be replaced by 116s no longer required in South Wales.

 

Chris

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thanks for the info everyone. Clive and Chris, that certainly helps in trying to determine which DMUs exactly I'm looking at. :)

 

 

Lightweight DMUs by Evan Green-Hughes. Superb book on the development and history of the early DMUs. I also have BR First Generation DMUs by Hugh Longworth but it's just a picturebook in comparison.

 

thanks for that, but which one is a 'picturebook in comparison'? it seems like you mean the BR First Generation DMUs book, but I've read some reviews on that saying it's very detailed.

 

also, which DMUs/eras does the Lightweight DMUs cover. would it cover up to the Class 118s (as Chris above mentions) for example? :)

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Hello Fender. Lightweight DMUs is far superior to the other in technical and historical detail but only covers the lightweight prototypes; the Derby and the Metro Cammell. I'm not sure if either of these these reached Cornwall without referring to the book.

 

BT First Generation DMUs features plenty of prototypes but writes hardly anything about them.

 

Hope that helps,

Steve

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Hello Fender. Lightweight DMUs is far superior to the other in technical and historical detail but only covers the lightweight prototypes; the Derby and the Metro Cammell. I'm not sure if either of these these reached Cornwall without referring to the book.

 

BT First Generation DMUs features plenty of prototypes but writes hardly anything about them.

 

Hope that helps,

Steve

Hi Steve

 

It is an excellent DMU book, and we need more class specific books on DMUs. The Derby and Met-Cam lightweights were never WR based and never saw Cornwall.

 

The WR when they ordered their DMUs under the 1955 Modernisation Plan went for long underframe types. They also preferred high density seating for local services instead of the low density seating found on other regions. For longer distance services they ordered Cross Country and Inter-city types with seating of the same standard as found in hauled coaches of the period, and with buffet facilities.

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a ha, good thanks. so I've deleted the Lightweight DMUs book from my list and I'm now down to the BR First Gen DMUs book (Hugh Longworth), The DMU Compendium (Colin Boocock), and BR DMUs in Colour for the Modeller and Historian (Gavin Morrison).

 

it's a pity you can't search inside these books on amazon.

 

yes, more specific books on DMUs would be good. it seems like DMUs are not thought of very highly (and sometimes with disdain!) by railway enthusiasts. but to my mind if you're going to run a specific era after the 50s you're probably going to need a DMU or two in your shed allocation, and if you are going to the trouble of buying a model then it makes sense to delve into the history behind the prototype a little as well, imo.....:)

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Hi,

Also worth a look is http://www.amazon.co.uk/Illustrated-History-Diesel-Multiple-units-Morrison/dp/0711023840

 

A bit of a tome as it covers everything and not cheap.

 

Are you intending to do any models ?

 

Stu

 

well the short answer is, I'm not sure. once my layout is begun I'll be thinking about what stock I can run on it and if the necessary DMUs are not RTR then I'll have to think about that.:)

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Surprised that these two haven't had mention:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/British-Railway-Pictorial-First-generation-Historian/dp/0711031568/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360244415&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/British-Railway-Pictorial-First-Generation/dp/0711029709/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1360244415&sr=8-3

 

The former is a class-by-class overview with colour illustrations, the latter a collection of captioned b&w photos.  The "Modeller and Historian" series tend to pop up occasionally in the remainder bookshops or at discount in the Ian Allan shops - worth keeping an eye open for them.

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I was after a book on dmus which described the differences between each type and the origins and developments but at a reasonably high level. Boococks book ticked all the boxes for me. Covers most classes in enough detail to understand the differences and why but if you want to know about detail differences within a class then not the book for you. I can't comment on many of the other books mentioned except to say the modeller and historian series tends to be little more than well captioned picture books. They have their place for sure but almost every one I've read has left me wanting to know more...

 

I haven't tried but another thought would be to see if available on kindle as you can normally download a section as a free taster. I was surprised at some of the books that are on kindle eg Nigel burkins book on layout building.

 

Hope this helps,

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yes, more specific books on DMUs would be good. it seems like DMUs are not thought of very highly

Ah - WR DMUs - my favourite! Best books from my perspective (all out of print, but worth tracking down) are:

 

Motive Power Recognition 3: DMUs (Colin Marsden, published by Ian Allan). There are 2 editions (1982 and 1986).

DMUs Countrywide (album compiled by P J Fowler, published by Bradford Barton)

British Rail Fleet Survey 8: Diesel Multiple Units - The First Generation (Brian Haresnape, published by Ian Allan)

 

All of the above are full-on hardcore material for DMU fans, and great for learning about the differences between types. I also love the Brian Morrison album mentioned in the post above, but it's riddled with errors, mis-identifications, etc (the excellent railcar.co.uk site used to have a full list of the errors). Other non-DMU-specific albums that are worth a look are:

 

The Changing Railway Scene - Western Region (Laurence Waters, published by Ian Allan) - section 7 has some lovely colour photos of WR DMUs in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Diesel Days - Devon and Cornwall (John Vaughan, published by Ian Allan) for some great shots of units in the West Country across two decades, amidst lots of lovely hydraulics, Peaks, 50s, etc

British Railways Past & Present No 8: Devon (David Mitchell, published by Silver Link) has a sprinkling of classes 116, 117, 118, 120 and 121 at work across the county in the 60s, along with late 80s shots of alien interlopers in the form of tatty old hand-me-down Met-Camms, Derby LWs and shiny new Skippers.

 

There are plenty of others with a few random pictures (and Western Region in Wales by James McGregor/Ian Allan is excellent if you want lots of photos of the South/West Wales late 70s/early 80s diet of burbling 116s, random 117s, occasional 119s and gutsy, rasping 120s).

 

As you might be able to tell, I miss the old WR units!

 

David

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The Hugh Longworth book will give you a very brief history (a couple paragraphs), running numbers, original shed allocation, an interior layout plan of the various types (but very small line drawings), withdrawal dates and a few other details. The book also has a few B&W pictures. It sounds good but compared to the Lightweight book, it's very sparse on interesting information - data tables and a few pictures.

 

Personally, I was disappointed. For a £25 book I was expecting something more. If you're interested in it I can put it in the Marketplace?

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The Hugh Longworth book will give you a very brief history (a couple paragraphs), running numbers, original shed allocation, an interior layout plan of the various types (but very small line drawings), withdrawal dates and a few other details. The book also has a few B&W pictures. It sounds good but compared to the Lightweight book, it's very sparse on interesting information - data tables and a few pictures.

 

Personally, I was disappointed. For a £25 book I was expecting something more. If you're interested in it I can put it in the Marketplace?

 

thanks for the offer but I think I'm going to go for the DMU Compendium book. a bit cheaper(12 or 13 pounds I think on amazon), compared to 16 for the Longworth one and looks like the reviews and comments on here indicate it will be what I'm after.

 

cheers. :)

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thanks for the offer but I think I'm going to go for the DMU Compendium book. a bit cheaper(12 or 13 pounds I think on amazon), compared to 16 for the Longworth one and looks like the reviews and comments on here indicate it will be what I'm after.

 

cheers. :)

Probably a good choice and may do the same. I noticed you're in Sussex - where abouts? I'm in Hove. Also, what scale do you model?

Steve

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Cornish DMUs were allocated to Plymouth Laira. Roger Harris' book The Allocation History of BR Diesel Multiple Units Vol1 may be of help in finding which units were likely to be seen in Cornwall.

 

Another source of DMU recognition are the Ian Allan spotting books of the 1960's and 70's.

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Have you thought of asking your local library to order them? I have used this method in the past to decide whether or not it is worth buying a book.

 

Geoff Endacott

 

that's a good idea. actually I hadn't even thought of even going to the library! however, I have to say that the information I've gleaned on the web has led to the purchase of a legion of terrific books. I'm still building up my own 'library' so I'm sure this one will be a good addition. it's getting additional books on the same subject that I find to be a problem. :)

 

Probably a good choice and may do the same. I noticed you're in Sussex - where abouts? I'm in Hove. Also, what scale do you model?

Steve

 

Haywards Heath at the moment. as for scale, I've recently ordered my first timber tracks P4 point. if I can build that, and some other track, and convert a wagon or two, then I'll be modelling P4. :)

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thanks for the offer but I think I'm going to go for the DMU Compendium book. a bit cheaper(12 or 13 pounds I think on amazon), compared to 16 for the Longworth one and looks like the reviews and comments on here indicate it will be what I'm after.

 

cheers. :)

If you're going to London in the near future, I think Foyles may still have a copy in their half-price sale (or at least they did, as of last Tuesday).

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Going back to the original question.

I do not think that the definitive book on 1st generation DMUs has been written.

I have read, or at least browsed, most of the more widely known volumes and they all fall short on either coverage or accuracy.

A couple of years ago I was researching a particular small group of a particular class for a book on the area where they operated. It was a very minor part of the project but I had questions to try and resolve.

I could find very little published material.

Eventually a member on here put me in touch with the author of one of the better of the published books and he was able to answer some of my questions and to point me in the direction as to where I could obtain the information.

Now if this had been a question on a small group of locomotives the information would have been in at least six books and a 100 plus photographs would have been  flagged up.

Bernard

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Now if this had been a question on a small group of locomotives the information would have been in at least six books and a 100 plus photographs would have been  flagged up.

Bernard

Hi Bernard

 

Welcome to the world of the Modernisation Plan Modelling. Mainline locos, everything, at times including the drivers inside leg measurement. Shunting locos, a lot of information but also a lot of misinformation. DMUs limited amount of information and spread over a wide area. SR EMUs quite a lot of information but you do need to know who to ask. Other EMUs a very poor relation, who took photos of them? Who recorded their coming and goings, their repaints etc.? Despite the fact they transported millions of people each week.

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  • 1 month later...

I have lots of books on DMUs and my view is that you need several books at least to gain a reasonable picture.  The Hugh Longworth book is an excellent reference source and there are hardly any errors, which is commendable for a work of its size.  The colour album Stuart Mackay did a few years ago is also excellent.  Whilst the large Brian Morrison book is good for photos, it has loads of errors. 

 

It hasn't been updated for the most recent books but the old Railcar site had a good listing of books and notes on errors in some of them.

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20100223062319/http://www.railcar.co.uk/books/books.htm

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