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British Railways Derby Works Class 108 E50599

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Class 108 Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) 53599

Having learnt from their experiences with the Derby Lightweight class of vehicles, Derby Works set about designing a new class of lightweight vehicles using updated technology with Leyland engines. The result was the Class 108. Leaving the works in 1958, 50599 was the first vehicle of what was to become a very successful class to be built.


This vehicle was initially paired with 56190 and allocated to Darlington where it worked in Brunswick green with cream lining and speed whiskers until the early 1960‟s when the speed whiskers were replaced by a small yellow warning panel. In the late 1960‟s, the vehicles received the British Railways Blue livery with full yellow
ends in accordance with the new standards. 50599 ran in this livery until being converted into Blue and Grey livery in the 1980‟s when it was chosen to partake in the nationwide refurbishment programme. In 1983 all Class 108 vehicles that were in the 50xxx series were renumbered to the 53xxx series to avoid confusion with the Class 50 locomotives of the time (thus 50599 became 53599). In 1985 50599 was based at Neville Hill in Leeds.

The set was withdrawn at some point between 1990 and 1993 and placed into storage. 50599 was lucky as it was saved for preservation whilst partner vehicle 56190 was not so fortunate. After spending a significant amount of its preservation years at the East Anglian Railway Museum where it was returned to its original
number, the vehicle moved to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.

During the winter of 2010-2011, the vehicle was returned to operational condition and featured in the Duffield Line Grand Opening celebrations in April 2011.

The vehicle made history in January 2014 as a loan spell saw the vehicle be the first DMU to run on the Bluebell Railway. It then returned to Wirksworth where it has had quite a bit of mechanical work undertaken and repaint into the BR Blue/Grey livery, when it re-assumed it's later number of 53599. It primarily works with Class 119 W51073.

Seats: 52 Second
BR set number: L706
Builder: British Railways Derby Works Built: 1958
Class or Type: 108 Works No:
Weight: 29 T Running No: E50599
Brake Type: Vacuum Operational Status: Under Repair
Owner: Diesel Unit Preservation Associates Ltd Arrived: --/03/10
Remarks: First of the class to be built
WyvernRail PLC, Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. Wirksworth Station, Coldwell Street, Wirksworth, Derbyshire. DE4 4FB. 01629 823076. © 2017