54490 DTC - Class 108

Class 108

Class 108 Trailer Car 51907 seen at Carrog. Photo by Unknown

BR History

Built by British Railways at Derby Works in 1960 as part of lot 30602 this vehicle represents one of the later designs of low-density railcar.

It is a Driving Trailer Composite with lavatory and is what later became British Railways Class 108. It is preserved in its final form with upgraded interior fittings and upholstery and is in blue and grey livery. This car is unusual in that it is still running with its original partner, after more than half a century.

This car was from the final batch of class 108 and was delivered to the London Midland Region in March 1960. It was shown as being allocated to Toton when new but had moved on to Longsight, Manchester, by 1962. It stayed at that depot for most of its working life but also had a number of years allocated to Chester, thus it has many local connections.

In 1990 it was sent to Doncaster Works for a full overhaul on the basis that the 108s were to be retained in service but a policy change saw it withdrawn from Longsight Depot only three years later, but in very good condition.

Class 108

1) 54490 at Longsight depot in Apr 1993 – note the sticker in the window informing staff that 54490 has been sold for preservation and must not be touched! Photo By Evan Green-Hughes

Early Preservation

As this vehicle has always operated with 51907 its allocation history is identical - it has always been based in the North of England. Of interest is that the vehicle was orginally numbered 56490 but, in common with many other DMU vehicles, it had its number changed when the TOPS computer system was introduced to prevent confusion between units and the new class 56 diesel locomotives, some of which had the same number.

Class 108

2) 54490 enters Llangollen yard in September 1993 and a life of preservation. Photo By Evan Green-Hughes

Current Preservation

It was preserved in 1993, being chosen from a number of units laid up at Longsight and was brought to Llangollen in running order. It has worked every season since and has covered over 38,000 miles on our line. It has been progressively refurbished whilst in retirement and has had new upholstery as well as several major mechanical upgrades, including the replacement of one of its engines. It was repainted in 1999 to a very high standard and again in 2015. In 2014 it had repairs to its cab structure and cladding.

Class 108

Seen at Glyndyfrdwy sporting with two dot headcode box. Photo By Mike Martin


The interior of this vehicle is preserved in as withdrawn condition, with the modern lino and wall panels.

Class 108

The saloon from the rear of the vehicle taken from a seated position. Photo By Steve Latham

Class 108

The first class saloon. Photo By Steve Latham


The cab is similar to the others in the fleet. With the addition of PA handsets, and the AWS equipment.

Class 108

Can with reupholstered seat. Photo By Steve Latham