51388 Class 117 Driving Motor Second

Home Railway

Swanage Railway

Location History

North Norfolk Railway 94-Dec 03

Current Location

Eastleigh Works


Swanage Railway Dec 03-Sep 14

Current Status

Under Overhaul



Current Livery

BR Green (Speed Whiskers)

Visited Railways

Midland Railway Butterley (Contract Overhaul) 06-07

TRA Designation



Eastleigh Works (Contract Overhaul) Sep 14-Present

Partner Vehicle(s)

59486 &51356










Record Last Updated

1 January 2018


Preservation Modifications

Preservation Information
Withdrawn from British Rail service in July 1993, 51388 was preserved in 1994 along with TCL 59516 & DMBS 51346. It is unclear if the set spent some time at the Mid Norfolk Railway (County School) before moving to the NNR or not.

From 1994-1996 the vehicle received restoration work, and it moved for the first time in February 1995 on a test run, albeit on only one engine.

May 1996 saw 51388 outshopped in BR Green livery. Also during that year, the redundant headcode box was opened and photo copies of numbers taped inside the box to return it to its original appearance. 51388 & 51346 made their first runs at the June 1996 diesel gala event, as a 2-car set.

From 1996, 51388 operated much of the NNR's off peak diesel requireents, such as low-season work, mid season running alongside steam and high season running in the form of the first and last trains of the day.

Winter 1997 saw the heaters repaired on the vehicle allowing it to provide heat during winter services, and in 1998 new batteries fitted in the spring which resolved a number of problems, exacerbated by the winter weather, essentially caused by poor batteries.

In 2000 the roof was repainted but 51388 was suffering due to problems with the batteries. The set was dogged with mechanical issues and was regularly out of traffic. This, along with the realisation that long term the vehicles would require much work to the numerous doors, lead to the set being put up for sale shortly afterwards.

51388 was purchased by the Swanage Railway, who purcahsed the whole 3-car set (incluing unrestored TCL 59516) in 2003.

At Swanage 51388 & 51346 entered traffic and became the railway's main DMU set, replacing Class 10851933 & 56504 which was in need of refurbishment.

On 9th February 2009 51388 & 51346 became the first train to run passengers from the bay at Swanage since 1966 following the completion of resignalling work.

In 2010, 51388 was removed from traffic and stored awaiting overhaul, its duties being covered by Class 108 set 51933 & 56504 which had by this time been fully overhauled. A four year period of inactivity followed whilst the vehicle awaited restoration.

In September 2014, 51388 was removed from store and sent to Eastleigh Works for a further overhaul and mainline registration. The overhaul work, particularly the mainline specifications, took far longer than originally hoped for. The vehicles involved in the project were the subject of several setbacks concerning the mechanical components such as freewheel units and wheelsets. Combined, these issues led to 51388 being inside Eastleigh works for several years.

By late 2017 51388 was receiving mechanical overhaul work to the bogies.

Future Plans
51388's overhaul to mainline standards is understood to be well advanced. This work is planned to be completed at Eastleigh Works, after which it will be returned to the Swanage Railway to operate as a 3-car set running link services to the mainline at Wareham.


51388, 59486 & 51346 in store on the Swanage Railway, 15/4/12. Mike Gill


51388 & 51346 in store at Harmans Cross, 7/5/11. John Cordingley


51388 & 51346 in operation at Corfe Castle, September 2009. Simon Edwards


51388 outside the shed at Butterley, its contract overhaul now completed, 1/4/07. Chris Moxon


51388 outside the shed at Butterley, its contract overhaul now completed, 31/12/06. Simon Edwards


51388 stabled at Weybourne on the North Norfolk Railway, February 2002 . Stuart Mackay


51388/51346 leaves an impressive plume in the cutting at Windpump Crossing on a Sheringham-Holt service, 7/7/96. ee20213