Wessex Trains

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Wessex Trains
Wessex trains logo.svg
158869 at Truro.JPG
Overview
Franchise(s): Wessex
14 October 2001 - 31 March 2006
Main region(s): South West England
Other region(s): South East England, South Wales
Fleet size: 70
Stations called at: 161
Stations operated: 125
National Rail abbreviation: WE
Parent company: National Express
A Wessex Trains Class 153
A Class 150 unit in West Country advertising livery. Many of these units were named after local attractions.
A class 143 in Advertising vinyls for the City of Bristol

Wessex Trains[1] was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by National Express that operated the Wessex Trains franchise from October 2001 until March 2006, when the franchise was merged with the Great Western and Thames Valley franchises to form the Greater Western franchise.

History[edit]

In October 1996 Wales & West commenced operating the South West & Wales franchise in Wales and the West Country. It also operated services to Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Birmingham International, Southampton, Brighton and London Waterloo.

In 2001 the Strategic Rail Authority decided to reorganise the Valley Lines and Wales & West franchises, both being operated by National Express. Wales & West became Wessex Trains from October 2001.

Wessex Trains retained the West Country services with the Welsh services transferred to Wales & Borders although Wessex operated services to Cardiff.

Services[edit]

Wessex Trains ran the majority of local trains in the South West as seen in their route map.[2]

Services ran from Great Malvern and Cardiff to Brighton, Portsmouth, Weymouth and Penzance and on these secondary lines:

Rolling stock[edit]

Wessex Trains inherited a fleet of Class 143, Class 150, Class 153 and Class 158s from Wales & West.

Wessex Trains leased Class 31s from Fragonset to haul a set of Mark 2 carriages from 2002 on services from Cardiff and Bristol to Brighton and Weymouth.[3]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Built
mph km/h
Class 143 Pacer BTM-143+143-02.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 8 (one scrapped due to fire at Flax Bourton which reduced the fleet to 7) 1985–1986
Class 150 Sprinter 150246 at Plymouth.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 25 1984–1987
Class 153 Super Sprinter Wessex Trains DMU 153318.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 13 1987–1988
Class 158 Express Sprinter Wessex Alphaline 158870 2006-01-19 07.jpg Diesel multiple unit 90 145 12 1989–1992
Mark 2 carriage Wessex Trains mk2 coach 01.jpg Passenger Rolling stock 100 160 5 1969–1975

Depots[edit]

Wessex Trains' fleet was maintained at Cardiff Canton and Exeter depots.

Demise[edit]

In 2002 as part of a franchise reorganisation by the Strategic Rail Authority, it was announced that the Great Western, Thames Trains and Wessex Trains franchises would be combined to form the Greater Western Franchise. This was part of a Strategic Rail Authority strategy to reduce the number of train operating companies providing services from London terminal stations.[4]

Originally it was planned for Wessex Trains to take over the diesel services from Exeter St Davids to London Waterloo on the West of England Main Line operated by South West Trains.

On 13 December 2005 the Department for Transport awarded the Greater Western franchise to FirstGroup and the services operated by Wessex Trains transferred to First Great Western on 1 April 2006.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3011029 Wales & West Passenger Trains Limited
  2. ^ Wessex Trains route map
  3. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 458 2 April 2003 Page 49
  4. ^ SRA Announces New Franchise for West Strategic Rail Authority Press Release 6 November 2002
  5. ^ Greater Western Franchise Department for Transport Invitation to tender 2 February 2006

External links[edit]


Preceded by
Wales & West
Wales & West franchise
Operator of Wessex franchise
2001 - 2006
Succeeded by
First Great Western
Greater Western franchise