The Class 107 DMU in BR Service


On 17 April 1987 a Strathclyde PTE liveried Class 107 DMU
approaches Drem station with the 1504 North Berwick - Haymarket.
Copyright Jim Nisbet.

British Rail built twenty-five sets of three-car Class 107 DMU at theirDerby Carriage Works, each consisting of two twin-engined power cars, a DMBS and a DMCLwith an unpowered trailer car (TSL) between. They were numbered as follows:

DMBS 51985 to 52010
DMCL 52011 to 52036
TSL 59782 to 59807

Because of their robust steel construction they were known as the"Derby Heavyweights", to distinguish them from the aluminium bodied"Lightweights". Originally they were painted dark Brunswickgreen, with cream lining and "cats whiskers" warning symbols on each end.Because this did not provide sufficient visual warning of approach, bright yellow warningpanels were substituted in 1963. During this period small light blue squares were includedto signify compatibility of couplings into multi-car units with other DMU classes (Othercoupling codes were red triangle, yellow diamond, white circle and orange star). Under thecorporate identity programme of 1964 this livery changed to standard rail blue with fullyellow ends.

Throughout their life the class 107s were used in Scotland, where theyformed fixed formations with each set being given an individual three figure identifyingnumber carried on the cab front. Our DMBS was part of set 153 and the DMCL set 152. Littleis known of their early history, but by 1977 they were based at Hamilton as part of theTrans Clyde Passenger Transport Executive (PTE). There they remained until 1982 beforebeing transferred to Ayr. In the intervening period they were subject to a majorrefurbishment programme begun in 1979, which transformed them into the familiar BRblue/grey livery and included blanking out the headcode panels above the cab.

In 1981 the set numbers were changed to six digits, the first threebeing the class number, followed by set numbers 425 to 449 (by now there were only 24 setsin service and consequently 107 448 was omitted). Our DMUs became part of 107 445 and 107444 respectively. At Ayr the fleet was further reduced to 22 sets when a fire on New YearsDay 1984 destroyed nine DMUs, including two Class 107s, and unit 107 442 was scrappedafter a collision.

Set No. DMBS TSL DMCL
107 444 52005 59804 52031
107 445 52006 59801 52015

Early the same year, set No. 107 444 became the first DMU to be paintedin the new Strathclyde PTE orange and black livery, and was used to ferry dignitaries tothe opening of two new stations at Kilmaurs and Auchinleck on 12 May. From November 1984all the other sets were progressively repainted in Strathclyde PTE colours.


On 28 February 1987 a Class 107/116/107 hybrid DMU formation
(with the final vehicle in Strathclyde PTE livery) approaches
the junction at Drem with the 1503 North Berwick - Haymarket.
Copyright Jim Nisbet.

A crisis occurred in 1986 when the whole class had to be withdrawn witha suspected transmission defect and it was some months before they were back on line afterstrengthening to the bogies. Some were also fitted with Leyland 4041 engines asreplacements, but these had to be removed when one had an output shaft shear off inservice and others bent. After the runner shafts and mountings had been redesigned theengines were refitted. DMBS 52031 has one of these engines.

The whole class was transferred to Eastfield, Glasgow in 1989 and the20 remaining sets temporarily renumbered 107 025 to 107 049 (omitting sets 035, 038, 041,042 & 048 which no longer existed) before changing to 107 725 to 107 749, numbers theycarried to the end. In July 1991 the fleet made its final move, to Haymarket, Edinburgh.Withdrawal began in 1991 and culminated in August 1992 when the last two sets werewithdrawn from service consisting of 107 747 (52008 + 59792 + 52029) and a hybrid set madeup of our DMBS from 107 745 (52006) and the centre car and our DMCL (59804 + 52031) from107 444 which had been combined together in the last few months of active use. As such thehybrid set had been chartered for use by Black Cat Railtours on 16 May 1992 for a tripover Scottish freight lines. Official withdrawal was on 5 October 1992. Some class 107swere retained for conversion to Sandite units by BR and most of the others scrapped.

Above: Driving Motor Composite with Lavatory

 

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