Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Home Christianity Computer Games Links News Search Trains

DMU Classes 153-159

Classes 155/153

In the mid to late eighties BR decided they wanted a faster version of the 150 to run on longer distance routes. But they didn't approach BREL, instead asking Leyland and Metro-Cammell to each produce a design. They opted for the Leyland designed Class 155, but this had fundemental design flaws, such as doors that stuck open, so they asked Metro-Cammell to produce their design, which was classed as 156. The Class 155 units were halved to make Class 153s.

At the end of the decade BR wanted a faster DMU again, this time for long distance express services that were not well enough used to merit a locomotive and coaches. This time they went straight to BREL, who produced the Class 158, and later the Class 159.

Class 155/153
The Class 155 was produced by Leyland in 1987, designed to be a unit suitable for outer suburban or longer distance workings. The units were two coaches, seating 144 standard class passangers, and with a top speed of 75mph. They were dogged with technical faults from the beginning, such as doors that jammed open, and problems working in multiple, and they soon became very unpopular.

Class 155 DMU number 155347 in Metro Train livery is seen at Hebden Bridge.
This photo was taken by David Root. His latest webpage, which will be going online sometime in the future, will be found at

Because the 155 units were not really liked, and because falling passenger levels meant lots of trains were nearly empty, in 1988 BR decided to split the Class 155 units in half, creating two single car DMUs, which were classed 153. On the Class 155 both cars were motor cars, so all that needed to be done was to add a cab to the end that didn't already have one. The class 153s seated 72, and became quickly popular on sparsely used routes. The last conversion of the 35 strong Class 155/0 unit fleet took place in 1992. The Class 155/1 units (Numbers 155341-155347) have survived and are in the hands of Northern Spirit. They are in WYPTE livery.

The current allocation of Class 153 units is:-
* Anglia Railways Train Services Ltd. - 7*
Numbers 153306 (Edith Cavell), 153309 (Gerard Finnes), 153311 (John Constable), 155314 (Delia Smith), 155322 (Benjamin Britten), 153326 (Ted Ellis), 153335, all in Regional Railways colours.
* Central Trains Ltd. - 21*
Numbers 153320-153321, 153323, 153325, 153329, 153333-153334, 153354, 153356, 153364-153366, 153369, 153371, 153375-153376, 153379, 153381, 153383-153385, all in Regional Railways colours.
* Northern Spirit Ltd. - 12*
Numbers 153301, 153304, 153307, 153315, 153317, 153319, 153328, 153331, 153351-153352, 153357, 153378, all in Regional Railways livery.
* First North Western Ltd. - 12*
Numbers 153310, 153313, 153316, 153324, 153330, 153332, 153358-153361, 153363, 153367, all in Regional Railways colours.
* Wales and West Railway Ltd. - 18*
Numbers 153302-153303, 153305, 153308, 153312, 153318, 153327, 153353, 153355, 153362, 153368, 153370, 153372-153374, 153377, 153380, 153382, all in Regional Railways livery.
This gives a total of 70 Class 153 (35 Class 155) units in operation.

Class 153 "Sprinter" number 153372 at Crewe. This photo was taken by David Root. His latest webpage, which will be going online sometime in the future, will be found at

Class 156

These 'Super Sprinter' units were producd by Metro-Cammell in 1987, to replace the very short lived Class 155 units, and they were everything that their predecessor wasn't.

Like the Class 155 they were designed with longer distances in mind, including features such as tables between seats, and doors at the ends of the carriages rather than every few seats down the sides. They also have gangwayed ends, allowing two units to be coupled together if need be. Rather surprisingly considering the plans for their usage, the first models were built with a top speed of only 75mph, but later versions could reach 90mph.

All the units in the series consited of just two coaches, and could seat 150 standard class passangers, approximately 64 of whom were with tables.

The Class 156 units are allocated to the following companies:-
* Central Trains Ltd. - 20*
Numbers 156401-156419, 156422, all in Regional Railways Express livery.
* Northern Spirit Ltd. - 28*
Numbers 156438, 156451, 156468-156469, 156473, 156483, 156486, 156488, 156497-156498. These are all in provincial (became Regional Railways) livery.
Numbers 156443-156444, 156448, 156454, 156463, 156470-156472, 156475, 156479-156482, 156484, 156487, 156489-156491, in Northern Spirit colours.
* First North Western Ltd. - 18*
Numbers 156420-156421, 156423-156429, 156440-156441, 156452, 156455, 156459-156461, 156464, 156466, all in Regional Railways North West livery.
* ScotRail Railways Ltd. - 48*
Numbers 156446-156447, 156450, 156453, 156456-156458, 156462, 156465, 156467, 156474, 156476-156478, 156485, 156492-156493, 156495-156496, 156499 including 156465 (Bonnie Prince Charlie), 156477 (Highland Festival). These are all in provincial livery.
Numbers 156430-156437, 156439, 156442, 156445, 156449, 156500-156514, in Carmine and Cream livery. Includes 156433 (The Kilmarnock Edition).
This sums to all 114 units still in action.

Class 156 "Sprinter" number 156504 stands at Mallaig, the northern terminus of the West Highland Line in Scotland. It is painted in Strathclyde PTE's orange and black livery.

This is another photo by David Root. (Wouldn't this page be boring without permission to use his pictures. Thankyou David).

Class 158/159
The Class 158 'Express Sprinter' units were introduced in 1990 as a DMU alternative to loco hauled express trains. The normal 2-car unit had a top speed of 90mph and seating for 118 Standard Class and 16 1st Class, while the three car units sit 208 Standard Class. 22 of the units were later converted to Class 159 to work the service between London Waterloo and Exeter St. Davids, formally the realm of Class 50 locomotives.

The current allocation is as follows:- *Central Trains Ltd. - 36*
Numbers 158782-158786, 158788-158797, 158844-158845, 158853, 158860 are all 2-car units in Central Trains colours.
Numbers 158780, 158846-158852, 158854-158859, 158861-158862 are all 2-car units in Regional Railways Central livery.
*Northern Spirit Ltd. - 48*
Numbers 158760-158779, 158781, all 2-car units in Transpennine livery.
Numbers 158798-158814 all 3-car units in Transpennine livery.
Numbers 158901-158910 are 2-car units in WYPTE livery, classified 158/9 (because they only have one toilet)
* First North Western Ltd. - 8*
Numbers 158752-158759 are all two car units in FNW blue.
* Scotrail Railways Ltd. - 46*
Numbers 158701-158736, 158738-158741 are all 2-car units in Scotrail's new livery. Includes 158702 (BBC Scotland 75 Years), 158707 (Far North Line 125th Anniversary), 158715 (Haymarket).
Numbers 158737, 158742-158744 are all 2-car units in Regional Railways Express livery. These units are to be transferred soon to Northern Spirit now the Class 170s have arrived.
* South West Trains Ltd. - 22* Numbers 159002(City of Salisbury), 159004 (Basingstoke and Deane), 159009, 159011-159013, 159015, 159017-159022, 3-car Class 159 units in 'Networker' livery.
Numbers 159001 (City of Exeter), 159003 (Templecombe), 159005-159008, 159010, 159014, 159016, 3-car units in South Western Trains livery.
* Virgin Trains Ltd. - 5*
Numbers 158747-158751 all 2-car units in Regional Railways colours and allocated to Newton Heath depot, Manchester for use on Cross-Country services. Incidently, these are Virgin's only DMU stock.
* Wales and West Railway Ltd. - 39* Numbers 158745-158746 are 2 car-units in Wales and West livery. These have recently been transferred from Scotrail to work Cardiff to Portsmouth services. 158745 is named Pont Brittania
Number 158867 is a 2-car unit in prototype Wales and West livery.
Numbers 158815-158843, 158863-158866, 158868-158872, are all 2-car units in Regional Railways Express colours. These units have no 1st Class, and seat 138 standard. 10 of these units have different engines.

Wales & West Class 158 Alphaline service near Newport. Picture from FreeFoto.Com (link on train page).

Class 159s on Dawlish Sea Front. Not a good picture, but all I've got.

Back to trains