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In 2004 the SVR agreed to host the Railcar Convention, an annual event which takes place at different heritage railways around the country. The event coincided with the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) by BR in 1954, resulting in the decision to stage a special celebration, 'Railcar50'.[1]

A total of sixteen railcars took part of which twelve were working; the four non-runners being stabled as static exhibits in Platform 3 of Bewdley station. The evening of Thursday 14 October saw a 9-car formation in operation, at that time the longest DMU working in preservation. The next three days saw the DMUs in passenger service, together with steam services on the weekend. Saturday evening featured a 12-car formation to Bridgnorth, surpassing the record set two days earlier.[2]

The gala is believed to be the greatest collection of first generation DMUs operating together at any one time in preservation.[3]


Vehicles attending

  • Class 101 53170 + 53253
  • Class 101 E51213 + E56358
  • Class 104 M50455 + M50517
  • Class 114 E56006
  • Class 116/118 hybrid unit W51131 + W51321
  • Class 121 W55020
  • Class 122 M55006
  • Class 126 SC59404 (static exhibit)
  • Class 127 55976
  • Derby Lightweight 79612 (un-restored)
  • Derby Lightweight 79018
  • AC Railbus W79978 (not used on passenger services due to issues with the air braking system)[4]

An appearance by former resident Railcar 22 had been planned, and an estimate for the price of a move by rail from Didcot was obtained in October 2003. The appearance was reluctantly cancelled after a near doubling in the cost over the following 12 months.[2]

HLF Funding

A pre-application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was made the year before, which suggested that they would be willing to provide funding support. An application was submitted in January 2004, and in late June the HLF confirmed the award of a grant of £49,100. This generous funding played a major role in the successful outcome of the event.[2][5]

See also