BEMU restoration

Coordinator: Jeff Rogers (

Last Updated: 2015-12-28 12:25:17

A project has been initiated to restore the Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) to fully working condition. Like the Milton of Crathes station building, it is intended to transform the BEMU into a showpiece for Royal Deeside Railway.

The scope of work will address all aspects of the vehicle, the most important of which is the traction system. This will include the batteries, fuse board, control system, compressors, motors and gearboxes. The exterior will be secured and re-painted. The internal fixtures and fittings will be brought up to scratch including lighting, heating and toilet facilities. The seats will be refreshed, in particular the first-class section. We will prepare a comprehensive set of interpretation material for the benefit of visitors, emphasising the unique aspects of the vehicle as well as its relevance today in the world of renewable energy technologies. Finally, we will need to re-learn how to drive the vehicle properly and, of course, comply with official regulations.

An early decision has been taken to avoid restoring BEMU’s original traction control system. The vehicle was a one-off and unique when it was built in the 1950s. Spares were very difficult to source then and would be almost impossible today. We will, therefore, deliver a Battery Electric Multiple Unit but the traction control system will be restored using modern and appropriate technology.

Current electrical Health and Safety standards will be adhered to, and we will strive for the best possible reliability.

Bearing in mind the scope of work involved, we have estimated that the project will take 2 to 3 years. Our target, therefore, is to complete it in time for the operating season 2018. According to historical record, Monday 21st April 1958 was the date that the original BEMU went into public service on the Royal Deeside line. It would be fantastic to mark the 60th anniversary of this date by rolling out the restored vehicle on Saturday 21st April 2018.

The current stage of the project will develop a feasibility study highlighting various options for restoration, focussing mainly on the batteries, control and motor systems. Once approved by the Society, a detailed plan will be developed and then executed leading up to the operating season in 2018. This will involve many different departments of the Railway, so your active support is requested as we go forward.

No budget has been allocated for this project yet; this will be decided once the feasibility study has been considered.


2015-09-26 14:01:48
BEMU in the siding at Milton of Crathes