Scottish Railway Preservation Society Collections pages

‘Swindon’ Inter-City Class 126 DMU cars

Pictures of Inter-City DMUs in service in Scotland

The slide show above illustrates 'Swindon' Inter-City DMUs in service in Scotland in the 1960/70s.

SRPS Core Collection. Acquired from the Swindon Diesel Preservation Society, grant aided by the National Fund for Acquisitions. Major restoration of 3 cars, with Heritage Lottery Fund support, was completed in October 2009. On display in Museum Shelter.

Current news on the status of our Class 126 DMU is at the Inter-City DMU website. (Opens in a new window.)

All cars of this class were designed and built at BR's Swindon Works, and so were generally known as "Swindons".

The class was built especially for Scottish Region services, and some units exceeded 2 million miles in service. The first batch of 64 cars went into service on the Edinburgh - Glasgow via Falkirk services in 1957, and the second, of 68 cars, entered service on the Glasgow - Ayr - Stranraer route in 1959. These services remained operated exclusively by the class until 1971 in the case of the Edinburgh - Glasgow services, and 1982 in Ayrshire.

Due to differences in their control systems design, the Class 126 cars were not compatible with other DMU types, and so without exclusive duties elsewhere they were not refurbished and were selected for withdrawal, the last two units coming out of service in January 1983.

The cab end design was similar to the "Cross Country" Class 120 cars, which were built at Swindon between 1958 and 1961 for the Western and the Scottish Regions, and which were used on Aberdeen-Inverness services between 1960 and 1980.

The four cars in the SRPS Collection are the only surviving examples in the UK of the first generation British Railways high specification Inter-City type of DMU. The corridor composite trailer vehicle is unique (for a DMU) in that it features both first and second-class compartment accommodation. Three of the cars are from the 1959 build for the Ayrshire lines, which can be distinguished from the 1956 cars by their two-part route indicators and by the location of the brake compartment at the rear of the power car. This allows passengers a forward view. The as-yet unrestored buffet car is from the original (Edinburgh & Glasgow) batch and is one of only three surviving DMU catering vehicles.

Each three-car set had a "Driving Motor" coach at either end, powered by underfloor engines and with open saloons for second class passengers. The "Trailer" coach in the middle had either both first and second class compartments or first class compartments and a Buffet section. We have an example of both kinds of trailer car. One driving car has a half-width cab and a corridor connection, so two units could be coupled to make a six coach train, with access to the Buffet from throughout the train.

The integral body construction (the lower bodyside is welded directly to the solebar) was a technical "first" for British Railways. It was made necessary by the need to fit in all the power and control equipment under the floor between the bogies, as a result of which there was no room for the bracing which stiffened the underframe of traditional coaches.

Test run at Bo'ness, 11 December 2007.
Test run (2 cars), Bo'ness, 11 December 2007.

Our major Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund restored these cars following the removal of crocidolite insulation. This was installed in the floor, sides and roof, and its removal necessitated dismantling the entire internal structure of the cars. The Project reinstated the interiors, using a mixture of recovered and new materials, and overhauled all the electrical and mechanical systems. It is by far the highest value (and highest volunteer commitment) restoration job which SRPS has so far tackled.

The Project volunteers successfully demonstrated three cars (Sc51017, Sc51043 and Sc59404) in use in July 2008. Then the cars were kept out of traffic while detailed completion went ahead. This was slow and painstaking work, resulting in a dramatic recreation of the vehicles' "as new" 1959 condition. By October 2009 the vehicles were complete and ready for driver training before public services start in 2010.

The DMU is cared for by the Swindon Diesel Preservation Society which formerly owned the vehicles and whose volunteers are working on their restoration. The SDPS also undertakes historical research into the Class, and is affiliated to the Railcar Association who support all DMUs preserved in Britain.

NumberDescriptionDate Built
Sc79443 TFLB Trailer First Lavatory Buffet coach Sc79443 1956
Sc51043 DMBSL Driving Motor Brake Second Lavatory coach Sc51043 1959
Sc59404 TCL Trailer Composite Lavatory coach Sc59404 1959
Sc51017 DMSL Driving Motor Second Lavatory coach Sc51017 1959

Heritage Lottery Fund home page (opens in a new window)
Back to Multiple Units page
Back to Multiple Units page