Rowsley Class 108 DMU Group at Peak Rail

Rowsley Class 108 DMU Group

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History of Rowsley Class 108 DMU Group

Over 4500 DMU’s were constructed as part of the British rail modernisation plan 1955 and our unit is designed from the precursor Derby light weight DMU like the single rail car iris at the Ecclesbourne railway at Wirksworth in Derbyshire. These units were made from aluminium body panels instead of Steel to give a weight of 27 tonnes each car.

The DMU was part of order lot No 30xxx ordered in 1959 build completed in 1960 at British Rail Engineering works in Derby for use on the Midland region of British rail. This was the final batch of 29 power twin class 108’s ordered making them two of the youngest class 108s in preservation.

They are a power twin 2 car set which means both cars have two engines each so a total of 4 engines giving a rated horse power of 600bhp. This is produced from a Leyland 680 6 cylinder.  TL11 horizontal engine originally designed as a vertical engine for use in Leyland buses models
included the Atlantean and tiger.

The engine to weight ratio gave the units great power for lines around Buxton , north Wales and
on heavy loaded services and would have been seen on any route from Holyhead to Doncaster, Bristol to Birmingham and routes to Carlisle Derby Skegness Yarmouth and Leeds as examples.

In its career these units would have had an UN-powered centre car inserted to add additional seating capacity to strengthen the service when needed.

This DMU was allocated to Chester, Buxton and Tyesley depots.

While allocated at Buxton 51950 was part of a unit that was hired by peak rail in late 1980’s to tour the north end of the peak forest line. The route taken was Buxton to Chinley the to Great rocks and back to Buxton reversing into the station from the freight only line.

51950 Driving Motor brake second (DMBS)

51950 was withdrawn from Tyseley Birmingham in June 1991 with 52062 and shortly after moved to the GWSR where it was restored to service and repainted into BR Green with whiskers before being retired in 2002 and placed into store for nearly 10 years needing an overhaul.

In 2010 the unit (51950 and 52062) was put up for sale by the GWSR and eventually purchased in 2012 by two individuals from the Telford Steam Railway.

When 51950 arrived at the Telford steam railway it was found to be mechanically more complete than its sister car but the interior was in need of restoration. During the winter of that year the cabs were sanded and repainted on the outside.

During 2013 the inside was refurbished with partial new inner ceiling to replace the damaged panels. Outside the skin of the unit and the rotten cab end was cut out and repairs made to the units internal structural before being recovered in new aluminium sheet this was fitted as needed.

In 2014 51950 had its the roof repainted grey and the rest of the car bodysides received grey primer .around may time. In June the vehicle received its current full chocolate & cream colours with the repaint completed in September.

In 2015, 51950 testing and adjustment of the braking system and a full mechanical exam. It then entered service in April.

51950 & 52062 ran for an eight year period due to covid restrictions the unit was not used on many running dates, as 2020 progressed the limited days of operation ,as increasing stable of different traction based on the line meant the unit was not required all the time. Some years 51950 was used on just one day or weekend in public service.

(Note:- excerpts taken form the The Rail car association web page)

52062 Driving Motor Composite with lavatory (DMCL)

Very much the same history as 51950.

In 2012 52062 along with 51950 were purchased by private individuals for use on the Telford Steam Railway and being relocated there in July. On arrival it was noted that 52062 had a better interior than 51950 but had engines that had been removed, the removed engines would delay a return to service. During the autumn the cab was stripped and rotten metal removed.

New metal was welded in then filled and sanded to original profile. The interior of the cab was cleaned and rust-proofed. Just before Christmas the first of the vehicle’s engines (which had been supplied complete during the vehicle’s sale) was tested and refitted.

During the Christmas period, the second engine was also refitted. This latter engine had been in a poor state after being left outside with no protection on inlet or exhaust ports. When the engine was stripped it was found to be rusty inside the cylinders and head. Lots of time and effort during the autumn was spent stripping it down and renewing/refurbishing components.

By the end of the year both engines were successfully running on the vehicle. Externally the rotten cab end was cut out and repairs made to the framework before a new skin was fitted where required. The whole area was then finished off in yellow.

During 2013, work moved onto replacing damaged ceiling panels in the interior. The first class saloon was fully refurbished and completed, work including a thorough clean, reupholstered seating and replacement carpets.

In 2023 a deal was struck for 51950 & 52062 to move to Peak Rail on hire under a new support group the “Rowsley Class 108 DMU Group”.

(Note:- excerpts taken form the The Rail car association web page)

The DMU has been leased by Peak Rail for the next 12 months and with the option to purchase the 2 car set after this period , funding is ongoing its quite possible that the DMU will may become the railways scenic railcar service after the 12 months have elapsed.

Currently the unit is waiting some minor replacement parts and a Major exam before driver and guard training can take place, this then will allow the unit to take its place in the operating fleet at Peak rail for the foreseeable future.

Upcoming Dates for Rowsley Class 108 DMU Group

Loco Roster

Blue Diesel Timetable
Rowsley South Depart11:0013:0015:00
Darley Dale Arrive11:0513:0515:05
Darley Dale Depart11:1513:1515:15
Matlock Arrive11:2513:2515:25
Matlock Depart11:4013:4015:40
Darley Dale Arrive12:1014:1016:10
Darley Dale Depart12:1514:2516:15
Rowsley South Arrive12:2014:3016:20
Ticket TypeReturn/ Rover (Can be used all day)Single Journey (One way)
Senior Citizen (Age 66 and over)£10.00£8.00
All Children under 16FREEFREE

Locos Running at Peak Rail