N gauge BR Class 101 Diesel Multiple Unit: Part 1 - The Trailer Car

Completed trailer car

Completed trailer car.

In 2011, I bought a pair of original Graham Farish class 101 bodies in blue/grey livery from Bob Davies (N-train) on E-bay for £10. My aim was to build myself a second class 101 with these bodies using all the experience I had gained on the first one and also in modifying other rolling stock.

The bodies, I feel are better than on my refurbished class 101 that I have detailed which was covered in a separate article.

DMU bodies as bought

DMU bodies as bought.

The trailer car chassis

Starting with the trailer car, I have used an underframe from one of the two full brake coaches that I orignally bought for spares. The bogies were converted to look like the diesel bogies by snipping off the ties.

The buffers on the buffer beams on the coach underframe are wrong for a DMU. The buffer beams were cut off and replace by new buffer beams made according to my article, Buffer Beams and Buffers

scratch-built DMU buffer beam

This is for the outer buffer beam, the inner one, adjacent to the motor car, is plain with buffers but no central details.

Underframe detail

The chassis I made compared with the Graham Farish driving trailer chassis (above).

On the solebar, the steps in wrong places were filed off. New steps for the cab end were made from 5.5mm of small staple and glued with superglue to the solebar as can be seen in the above photograph.

The trusses from the coach underframe were cut off as they were not needed. The battery box was kept (in the same position). A V-hanger was made from strip of card and a vacuum brake cylinder from a slice of sprue which was superglued in place.

There is a trio of items to the left of battery box made on a card base - two are boxes made from card faces which were triangulated behind. The third is a large tube which was cut from a piece of plastic pin.

The underframe was painted matt black and then weathered with a dark brown wash.

The inner coupling is made from the Rapido coupling with the outer frame cut off and a section of paperclip superglued to it to provide the basis for a magnetic coupling, as described in a previous article. The outer Rapido coupling is removed entirely as I intend to run this DMU on its own and not couple it to others.

Inner Coupling

Inner Coupling

Outer coupling removed

The outer coupling is removed. Note the driver visible through the window.

The Interior

The interior is based on a diagram for a class 101 driving trailer on the Railcar website. This was resized and used in my working diagram as the floor for the coach showing the positions of the seats, partitions and lavatory.

The most important alteration I think is to make the first window (the lavatory window) on one side opaque. This was just a piece of white paper glued around the frame. I did try to make the toilet wall inside but It was difficult to keep it aligned against the window frame. I took it out as it really could not be seen.

lavatory window

First window made opaque.

The objective is to try to show the interior as would be seen through the coach windows in daylight. I have no ambition to add interior lighting or to run trains in the dark. I decided to add passengers and a driver, as this seems to be the current trend. I am not entirely convinced of the wisdom of this. The passengers never can get off and have to sit in the train if it is sent into a siding. I suppose it makes sense when all storage is off stage and trains only come into a station and go out again almost immediately.

interior of driving trailer

Interior of driving trailer

The working diagram gives a printable sheet with floor, seats and partitions. The seats are folded card strips as shown on the working diagram which is printed out on 160 gsm card. The first-class compartment on the left has darker seats. The lighter blue seats are for the second-class sections.

The partitions can be glued to clear plastic and then the windows and doorspace are removed after cutting through the card layer, leaving clear windows and door. The partitions are not intended to be an accurate representation of reality but are important as they cut down the transmission of light along the coach length. I decided to leave the partition behind the driver as a solid layer. There should be two entrances with partitions on either sides. The front one separating the first and second class compartments is complete but I had to put a bridging section over the top to keep the partitions the right distance apart. The rear one I hade problems keeping the two partitions in the right place as the seats seemed to be so close together (my fault!},so I just kept one partition.

The passengers are from a pack of standing people from China bought on Ebay. The legs are cut off and the torso glued on the seat with PVA glue. The driver is one of these people selected because he has a white shirt. He has brightly-colored trousers which cannot be seen through the windows. He "sits" on a small seat in the cab area.

Completed trailer car

Completed trailer car.


I am impressed by the older Graham Farish body. It helps make a nice model.

It definitely needs an interior. Going overboard with detail is not necessary as so little can be seen through the windows. Adding passengers and a driver is optional, as they can hardly be seen. Seats and partitions help fill the space and cut down light transmission along the length of the coach.

There will be more work to do on the inner end with corridor connections but that will wait until the motor driving car is near completion. The next stage is to produce a motorised chassis for the other car.


Sources of Information and Inspiration:

  1. Prototype details of class 101 DMUs from the EMGauge 70s group.
  2. Railcar.co.uk website - Class 101 diagrams

Please Note: The working diagram is experimental. You are welcome to try it but please do not regard it in the same way as a commercial kit. Parts may need modification to fit and the colours and details may not be faithful to the prototype.

Article dated: 21/11/2020