Class 108 DMU
Our DMU is a type called a Class 108, and was built in Derby by British Railways, known as ‘Derby Lightweights’ because they were built in Derby and had lightweight, aluminium bodies. 333 Class 108 vehicles were built in total between 1958-1961. Our unit consists of two cars numbered M52048 and M51919. These units were not paired with each other until later in their lives.
The first allocation in South Wales for these units was to Cardiff Canton shed, then later to Landore, Swansea. While in South Wales the units regularly worked between Cardiff and Swansea but often ventured further afield to places such as Bristol Temple Meads. It was in 1987 that M52048 became partners with M51919. For a while, M52048 was used in tandem with a Class 101 driving car (53224) and on occasion a Class 110 unpowered centre car. (59709). After a hard working life M52048 and M51919 were withdrawn in 1993.
The pair were bought by the Purbeck Diesel Support Group for use on the Swanage Railway in Dorset. They were restored and put back into working order in 1995, another 108 set on the line took over their duties so the pair were put into storage before being made available for sale. In 2003, the pair were bought by the Vale of Glamorgan Railway in Barry Island where they were painted in British Railway blue colours with yellow half-panels on the cabs. In 2008, the lease of the line which the Vale of Glamorgan Railway expired, the tender of the line was given to a different operator and the railway society along with its stock was evicted, the M52048 and M51919 were brought to the Garw Valley Railway in 2009. The pair are in working order, minus a few small issues and are being renovated, ready for the reopening of the line. They will be used both as carriages, hauled by a locomotive and as a DMU.
Our Shark was built by the former Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in 1956 and is one of the oldest Sharks to survive; it was retired from service with a damaged wheel bearing caused by a lack of lubrication, it was acquired by the Garw Valley Railway in 2003, DB993721 is now being fully restored and will be our first passenger carrying vehicle, offering brake vane rides over a short rebuilt section in the near future, and will also be used to plough ballast over relayed track just as nature intended.
Shark Brake Van DB993721
Recent view showing Garw green livery
The Shark undergoing repanelling
DMU Class 108 at Pontycymer