79998 Derby Lightweight Battery Unit

Home Railway

Royal Deeside Railway

Location History

East Lancashire Railway 89-Aug 01

Current Location

Royal Deeside Railway


Royal Deeside Railway May 06-Present

Current Status

Operational (Hauled Stock)



Current Livery

BR Green (Plain End)

Visited Railways

Hammerton St Depot (Storage) 86-89

TRA Designation



Private site: Aberdeen (Storage) Aug 01-May 06

Partner Vehicle(s)





Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society






Record Last Updated

1 July 2014


Preservation Modifications
Unfortunately, original-style seating could not be sourced for the large (second class) saloons, so DMU bus-type seats were fitted. Portable battery charging equipment was fitted in the guards van.

Preservation Information
79998 & 79999 were latterly used in departmental service as hauled vehicles fitted with test equipment, being withdrawn from passenger service as long ago as December 1966. The second class seating was removed for this purpose but the rest of the vehicles were in original condition. This use enabled the vehicles to survive long enough to be of interest to preservationists when it was time to dispose of the vehicle.

The Strathspey Railway attempted to secure the set, but it was bought by the West Yorkshire Transport Museum for use on the abortive Bradford Low Moor scheme. It was put into store in the city's redundant BR Hammerton St. depot, which was the West Yorkshire areas first operational DMU depot in 1954.

While in store 79998 underwent complete asbestos removal. The front saloons, behind the cabs, still retained the original seats, with the original shell-pattern moquette, which was in remarkably good condition. 95% of the original brown marble formica remained, with the replacement material being an almost exact match. Externally, the bodywork was in immaculate condition, due to it's aluminium construction.

79998 & 79999 were then loaned to the East Lancashire Railway, and once the interior was replaced 79998 went into service. Portable battery charging equipment was fitted in the guards van. It was repainted into original green livery.

79998 & 79999 later fell out of use, and they were kept in the electric car sheds out of sight for some years.

The West Yorkshire Transport Trust's "Transperience" project then went into liquidation, and most of it's assests were auctioned off. One exception was 79998, claimed to be a precaution against disposal through no sale or a high bid by a scrap merchant.

The Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society successfully negotiated with the liquidators to purchase the vehicles, and they arrived back in Scotland for storag in 2001, continuign to their site at the Royal Deeside Railway five years later.

79998 & 79999 were returned to passenger services at theRoyal Deeside Railway but the cost of replacement batteries and limited facilities means the vehicle no longer operates under its own power, being used as loco hauled coaching stock instead.

Future Plans
There are long term plans for a new set of batteries, but for the forseeable future 79998 will be maintained and used as hauled coaching stock.


Sc79998 in static use and open to the public at Milton of Crathes, 20/8/12. Ian McLoughlin


The BEMU is seen at Milton of Crathes. It's now used as hauled stock, with the industrial shunter. Work has begun on the batteries, 2008. Neil Cannon


Sc79998 at Milton of Crathes, 2006. Nigel Gould



79998's cab interior, 20/8/12. Ian McLoughlin


79998's front saloon, which survives in original condition, 20/8/12. Ian McLoughlin


79998's middle saloon, which was stripped in departmental days. Consequently, the area has been fitted with seating reclaimed from another DMU vehicle, 20/8/12. Ian McLoughlin