Sunday, 29 April 2007

The Battlefield Line DMU Group

In the 1950s, British Railways introduced a range of lightweight diesel multiple units to handle suburban and secondary line services. Bit by bit, the DMUs took over from steam-hauled workings. Sad as I was to see a reduction in the number of steam trains, the DMUs offered a new experience in rail travel in that, if you could get a seat right at the front, windows allowed you a view of the driver's compartment and a panoramic view of the line ahead. This was excellent for surveying the route - signals and pointwork in full view - and for studying the driving technique adopted as every move the driver made could be watched.

It was nearly 50 years before I got an opportunity to drive a DMU myself! The Battlefield Line DMU Group (originally called the Shackerstone DMU Group) operates a single-unit DMU, always known as a 'Bubble Car' back then, and a 2-car DMU. I'm fortunate that, in 2007, I was accepted by Ritchie Marcus for training as a DMU driver and I spent a day with driver Stuart Gamble operating the DMU service on Saturday 28th April 2007. After further training with Graham Hudman and Ritchie Marcus, I was passed out for driving.

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