British Rail Class 104

British Rail Class 104

Infobox DMU
name = British Rail Class 104

imagesize = 300px
background = #0033cc
caption = Class 104, nos. 50517 and 50455, at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway, on 15 October 2004, whilst taking part in the Railcar 50 event. This unit has been returned to service, and is preserved on the Churnet Valley Railway.
Manufacturer = Birmingham RC&W
Operator = British Rail
Formation = 2/3/4 cars per trainset
Built = 1957 (302)
LinesServed = North England
InService = 1957-1993
CarLength = 57ft 6"
CarWidth = 9ft 3"
CarHeight =
Weight = 31T (Power car) 24T (Trailer)
Capacity = 52 or 66
MaxSpeed = 70 mph (112 km/h)
Gauge = Standard
Traction =
Engine = 2x B.U.T Leyland 150hp
SafetySystem= |

The British Rail Class 104 diesel multiple units were built by Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company from 1957 to 1959.

The majority of the class were used in North West of England with sets also in Tyneside (being made redundant by the opening of the Tyne & Wear Metro in 1980). In the mid-1980s a few units reallocated to Scotland, with one unit being repainted in a unique maroon and white livery for services to Oban - it became known as the "Mexican Bean". Other vehicles spent time in London and the last vehicles could be found there in the early 1990's

The class was gradually taken of service from the early 1980s. The final vehicles were withdrawn in 1995.



The Churnet Valley Railway is the main location for Class 104 preservation, with six of the thirteen preserved vehicles based there. The line is geographically appropriate to the Class, being close to Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield, and other lines that the Class 104s served for most of their lives. A small restoration team has returned two of the four power cars to service, the set (M50455/M50517) being launched in 2004. Attention has now turned to unique Trailer Composite Lavatory (TCL) M59137, which when completed will strenthen the current 2-car set to 3 cars. Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory (DTCL) M56182, was recently cosmetically restored into BR Blue livery and performed demonstration sandite trains with Class 37 Diesel 37075.

The Llangollen Railway run a two car set (M50454/M50528) and have a spare power car (M50447) which is currently out of service. They were the first to return a Class 104 to passenger service back in 1994 and have kept it in service every season bar one since.

The Telford Steam Railway is home to the other four vehicles, a two car set (53479/53531) being used as hauled passenger stock. The other two (53556/59228) are stored out of service.

External links

* [ Llangollen Railcar Group - owners of preserved DMUs on Llangollen Railway.]
* [ The Birmingham Railcar Workgroup]
* [ The Railcar Association]
* [ Telford Steam Railway]


*Motive Power Recognition: 3 DMUs. Colin J. Marsden
*British Railway Pictorial: First Generation DMUs. Kevin Robertson
*British Rail Fleet Survey 8: Diesel Multiple Units- The First Generation. Brian Haresnape
*A Pictorial Record of British Railways Diesel Multiple Units. Brian Golding

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