British Rail Class 151

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British Rail Class 151
151001 Matlock.jpg
151001 receives attention at Matlock in the summer of 1985.
In service 1985–1989
Manufacturer Metro Cammell
Order no.
  • 30987 (DMSL)
  • 30988 (DMS)
  • 30989 (MS)[1]
Constructed 1985[1]
Entered service 1985[2]
Scrapped 2004[2]
Number built 2
Number scrapped 2
  • 3 cars per trainset
  • DMSL+MS+DMS[3]
  • DP232 (DMS)
  • DP233 (DMSL)
  • DR204 (MS)[1]
Fleet numbers
  • 151001-151002 (as built)
  • 151003-151004[3]
  • 55202-55203 (DMSL)
  • 555402-55403 (MS)
  • 55302-55303 (DMS)[3]
  • 232 (total)
  • 68 (DMSL)
  • 84 (MS)
  • 80 (DMS)[1]
Operator(s) Regional Railways
Depot(s) Derby Etches Park[1]
Car body construction Steel[3]
Car length
  • 19.98 m (65 ft 7 in) (DMS/DMSL)
  • 19.60 m (64 ft 4 in) (MS)[3]
Width 2.81 m (9 ft 3 in)[3]
Height 3.89 m (12 ft 9 in)[3]
Floor height 1.156 m (3 ft 9.5 in)[4]
Doors Double leaf sliding[3]
Articulated sections 3
Wheelbase 14.040 m (46 ft 0.8 in) (bogie centres)[4]
Maximum speed 75 mph (121 km/h)[3]
  • 96.9 t (95.4 long tons; 106.8 short tons) (total)
  • 32.4 t (31.9 long tons; 35.7 short tons) (DMSL)
  • 32.1 t (31.6 long tons; 35.4 short tons) (MS)
  • 32.4 t (31.9 long tons; 35.7 short tons) (DMS)[3]
Prime mover(s) 1 × Cummins NT855R5 (per car)[1]
Power output 285 hp (213 kW)[3]
Transmission Hydraulic[1]
Bogies Metro-Cammell[3]
Braking system(s) Air/EP[3]
Coupling system BSI[1][5]
Multiple working Classes 14x, 15x[3]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge

The British Rail Class 151 was a prototype class of DMU built by Metro Cammell in the mid-1980s. Only two 3-car units were built and they were introduced into service in the spring and summer of 1985.


The vehicles were aluminum bodied and each one was equipped with Cummins NT855 285 hp (213 kW) diesel engines with hot-shift Twin Disc transmissions and Gmeinder final drives. Their maximum speed was 75 mph (120 km/h) and their light weight meant good acceleration. The Class 151 vehicles looks strikingly similar to those used on the Tyne and Wear Metro, also built by Metro Cammell, five years previously.


The gearboxes would prove to be troublesome, giving jerky shifts and sending violent shocks throughout the train. Problems were never fully rectified until a modified version of the transmission appeared some years later on the Class 154, however interest in the Class 151 or hot-shift gearbox had disappeared by then.


The units had one or two other unusual features including hydraulically driven alternators and cooling fans. The main cooler group and radiators were fitted in a pod on the roof of each vehicle. The bogies were non-standard and this combined with several other unique features led ultimately to their withdrawal in 1989. There were proposals to fit standard Class 150 bogies, however this proved to be impractical.


The production contract was awarded to the BREL-built Class 150. After withdrawal the units were stored at Llandudno Junction carriage sheds until they were purchased by Railtest (later Serco Railtest) who had planned to convert them into test units. However, for the same reasons which saw their withdrawal from service, Railtest did not go ahead with any conversions and the units were again stored out in the open in the sidings of the Derby RTC.

In March 2000, they were bought by a company called Endeavour Rail who were planning to refurbish both units for spot hire to TOCs and they were transferred to Pete Waterman's LNWR company at Crewe, but again the proposed refurbishment did not happen and the units remained in the open next to the main line where they would remain until scrapped on site, their condition having rapidly degenerated, in part due to vandalism. The units were scrapped in 2004.


Unit Number DMSL (68S seats) MS (84S seats) DMS (80S seats)
151001 (151003) 55202 55402 55302
151002 (151004) 55203 55403 55303


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Fox 1987, p. 44
  2. ^ a b "The Class 151 Metro-Cammell DMU's". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Class 151". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 8 November 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Diagram". Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "System Data for Mechanical and Electrical Coupling of Rail Vehicles". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2009. 


  • Fox, Peter (1987). Multiple Unit Pocket Book. British Railways Pocket Book No.2 (Summer/Autumn 1987 ed.). Platform 5 Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0906579740. OCLC 613347580. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Metro-Cammell Class 151 Sprinters withdrawn". RAIL. No. 93. EMAP National Publications. 6–19 April 1989. p. 9. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699. 

External links[edit]