Class 105

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The Class 105 DMUs were build by Cravens Ltd of Sheffield from 1956 to 1959 and were a numerous type found on London Midland, Eastern and Scottish Regions of British Railways.

13.22 Dundee to Edinburgh approaches Markinch formed of class 105/101 hybrid rake. 22nd March 1980 Photo by jbg06003

Twenty-two 2-car sets were delivered to the Scottish Region during the first 6 months of 1959. These sets were formed of a Driving Motor Brake (DMBS) numbered Sc51473 to Sc51494, and a Driving trailer (DTCL) numbers Sc56462 to Sc56483.

Initial livery was green with cream lining and 'whiskers' on the cab front. As built the units had a two character headcode panel on the cab front.

The first public use of the new DMUs was on 'Six Lochs' Sunday excursions from the Glasgow area to the West Highlands.

From the Summer of 1959, nine sets were based at Aberdeen Kittybrewster (61A) and worked on stopping services on the former GNoSR lines.
61A: Sc51473-481 & Sc56462-470

Thirteen sets were based at Hamilton depot (66C) and worked local services out of Glasgow Central, including the Cathcart Circle prior to electrification, and the Low level lines immediately before closure.
66C: Sc51482-494 & Sc56471-483

Closures of lines reduced the requirement of DMUs at Aberdeen and after some major reshuffling of the Scottish region DMU fleet in the Spring of 1966, the allocation of the Cravens sets in May 1966 was:
51473-477/9-485 & 56462-466/8-474, Hamilton (66C) 12 sets
51486-490 & 56475-479, Kittybrewser (61A), 5 sets
51491-494 & 56480-483 Dundee (62B) 4 sets
51478 & 56467 Leith Central (64H) 1 set

By the mid 1960s the livery has been altered with the addition of a yellow panel on the cab front below the cream waist stripe and red bufferbeams. Later some cars received full yellow ends.

DMBS Sc51488 was the first of the batch to be withrawn, in November 1967, after it caught fire at Inverurie Works whilst under repair.

Closure of the former GNoSR lines from Keith Junction to Elgin via Dufftown, and Cairnie Junction to Elgin via Buckie, ended the requirement for a DMU fleet at Aberdeen, and from May 1968 the all the Scottish Region Cravens DMUs were based at Hamilton depot.

In the later years of the 1960s, the Cravens DMUs began to be repainted into the new plain blue livery of British Rail.


Accident damgage led to the withdrawal of 51494 & 56493 in January 1971.

In 1973 the Scottish Region started to standardise on 3-car DMU sets.
DMBS 51487, 51489 and 51490 transferred to Eastfield and were used with Class 101 cars to make 3-car sets.
Driving trailer cars 56476/477/478/480 became centre-cars between Class 100 DMBS cars based at Haymarket.

For the time being SC51473-86/93 & 56462-75/82 remained at Hamilton working as 2-car sets, but 51491 & 56479 were augmented by a Class 101 DMCL to make a 3-car set, while 51492 was spare.

The first Cravens set to be transferred off the region was 51478 & 56469, sent to Norwich in April 1974.

Electrification of the Hamilton Circle and Lanark branch in May 1974 reduced the DMU requirements in the Glasgow area. Reallocations in June and July saw Haymarket gain ten DMBS 51473-77/79-81/83/84, whilst the three DMBS at Eastfield returned to Hamilton. The Cravens units remaining at Hamilton were reformed into 3-car sets (2x DMBS 1x DTCL) with surplus DTCL cars stored out of use.

A large clearout of surplus DMUs from Hamilton in May 1975 saw 6 DMBS and 10 DTCL transferred to Eastern Region depots (the majority going to Hull Botanical Gardens), and 3 DTCL went to the London Midland Region the following month.
That left 3 Cravens DMBS cars at Hamilton: Sc51486, Sc51487, Sc51493
Car 51493 was running in class 107 set 141 in place of withdrawn Sc51995, While the other two made up a 3-car set with a Class 101 DTCL in the middle.

These 3 DMBS cars were sent to South Gosforth (Tyneside) in exchange for Class 101 cars in April 1977.

DMBS 51484 & DTCL 56480 left Haymarket for Norwich in June 1977. The 3 other DTCL at Haymarket 56476-8 were put into store, and then Withdrawn April 1978.

Sc51477 had been transferred from Haymarket (HA) to Eastfield (ED) in March 1977, withdrawn in September but reinstated November 1977. It continued to be shown as allocated to 'ED' but seems to have been running in Haymarket based sets.

In 1978, nine Class 105 DMBS cars remained, Sc51473-77/79-81/83, all now working in hybrid sets with class 101 cars. The cab fronts were tidied up with removal of the 2-character headcode panels, and from Autumn 1979 onwards the cars were progressively painted into blue & grey livery. Set numbers in the 20x series were applied under the driver's front window.


In 1981 the Scottish Region introduced a new set numbering scheme for its DMUs which included the Class number as a prefix, although on the Haymarket hybrid sets this was omitted.
The planned formations for Class 105 vehicles at 1st Feb 1981 were:
375 HA  51473 + 59567 + 51477  (class 101 TSL)
376 HA  51474 + 59574 + 51481  (class 111 TSLRB)
377 HA  51476 + 59072 + 51480  (class 101 TSL)
378 HA  51479 + 59068 + 51483  (class 101 TSL)
379 HA  51475 + 59544 + 50748  (class 101 TSL & DMSL)
The correct formations proved difficult to maintain, and it was not unusal to have different set numbers at each end of the units.

In March of 1981 three additional sets were created using vehicles transferred in from Newton Heath. The sets included Cravens DMSL cars and BRC&W Class 104 centre cars - a first for the Scottish region.
105 372 HA  M50770 + M59150 + M50803  (all Blue)
105 373 HA  M50778 + M59161 + M50805  (all Blue)
105 374 HA  M50782 + M59159 + M50789  (all Blue)

These were for short-term cover for other DMUs in the Works for asbestos removal, and all were withdrawn in June 1981. The vehicles remained at Haymarket for a time but had moved to Millerhill Yard by 1982. Later in that year they were moved south for scrapping at Snailwell.

Five of the Scottish DMBS cars were removed from traffic and stored at Millerhill in August, leaving Sc51474/79/80/81 in use from Haymarket, until November 1981 when all nine were officially withdrawn. These then moved to various sidings around Ayr before heading south to Snailwell for scrapping in 1982.

Blue & Grey Class 105 set at Stirling, about 1981. Photo by taybridge1878

The Cravens DMU made a brief comeback in November 1982 when five 2-car units from Norwich were sent to Ayr.
DMBS E50376/50384/50386/51301/51493*
DTCL E56136/56437/56441/56464*/56469*
*(originally Scottish Region vehicles).

DTCL cars E56136 and E56441 were sent back to Norwich in December and January. E56437 was put in Store at Ayr. E56464 had its first class yellow stripe removed.

The DMBS cars were given set numbers 105 372 to 105 376 on the cab front, but formations varied and some sets had more than one DMBS.

These imported class 105 cars stood out because they were all blue, but the other Scottish DMUs were now in Blue & grey livery.

Formations noted in The Railway Observer were:
E50384  + E51301  + E56464   (02/12/82 & 08/01/83)  All Cravens, all blue.
SC52028 + E50386  + E56441   (11/01/83)  Class 107 DMSL
E51493  + SC59790 + SC52004  (08/01/83)  Class 107 TSL & DMBS
E50376  + E56469  + SC52003  (18/01/83)  Class 107 DMBS
E51301  + SC59069 + SC52028  (19/02/83)  Class 101 TSL & Class 107 DMSL
E50384  + SC59791 + SC51251  (24/02/83)  Class 107 TSL & Class 101 DMBS
E50376  + E56464  + SC51536  (04/03/83)  Class 101 DMSL   (DTCL still with 1st class)
E51301  + SC59069 + SC52033  (23/03/83)  Class 101 TSL & Class 107 DMSL

These DMUs worked local services out of Glasgow Central, reaching Edinburgh via Shotts.

All the Cravens cars were put in store at Ayr by the end of March 1983, and officially withdrawn in the Autumn.

Ex-Norwich Cravens set with E56464 at the front, forming the 12:01 Kilmacolm - Glasgow Central on the last day of service, 8th January 1983. Photo by Deepol01

The final episode in the Scottish Class 105 story took place in 1986 when the Ayr based Class 107 fleet was suddenly taken out of service and spare DMUs from other regions were drafted in. Five class 105 DMBS transferred to Ayr Depot from Norwich and Cambridge:
E51268 NC-AY 6/86, W 12/86
E51269 NC-AY 6/86, W 28/9/86, R -AY 23/11/86, W 3/87 
E51294 NC-AY 6/86, W 12/86
E53377 NC-AY 6/86, W 28/9/86
E53380 CA-AY 6/86, W 28/9/86
Five Class 105 DTCL came north but were not used:

See Also

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