Unique two-car railbus sees progress in Scotland

KEITH & Dufftown Railway services are operated with Class 108 Derby Lightweight DMUs but it is also home to the unique, two-car Class 140 Derby/Leyland railbus prototype No. 140001 (DMS No. 55500 and DMSL No. 55501).

They were developed as a replacement for the 1950s, first-generation DMUs, and Leyland Vehicles, Workington built the two bodies, which were mated with a pair of two-axle chassis in 1981.

Prototype Derby/Leyland railbus Nos. 55500 and 55501 make slow but steady progress towards returning to service at the Keith & Dufftown Railway. It received a ‘tidy-up’ late last year as seen at Dufftown. PICTURE: RON SMITH

It ran trials, with an accompanying fitter, all over the BR system, from Inverness to Cornwall. The trials were over by 1985 and it was parked, out of use, at Leeds.

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In 1994, when all rolling stock passed to the three rolling stock companies (ROSCOs) the 140 was not included and simply abandoned in its siding at Leeds, suffering from vandal attacks and the elements.

The KDR Association raised the money and bought the unit in February. It has yet to run as railway’s resources are focused on the operating DMUs. Work is progressing, albeit slowly, and one day this ‘ugly duckling’ will run again.

To help raise funds, the KDRA has published a booklet on the unit which is available from the shops at Keith Town and Dufftown stations, and on line from www.keith-dufftown-railway.co.uk, for £5 plus £1.50 p&p.

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