British Rail Class 156

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British Rail Class 156 Super Sprinter
13.09.08 near Bridge of Orchy 156.456 (5944125149).jpg
156402 Interior.jpg
Interior of Greater Anglia refurbished Class 156
In service 1988-
Manufacturer Metro-Cammell
Order no.
  • 31028 (DMSL)
  • 31029 (DMS)[1]
Built at Washwood Heath
Family name Sprinter
Replaced First generation DMUs
Constructed 1987-1989[2]
Entered service 1988
Number built 114 sets (228 carriages)
Number in service 114 sets
Formation
  • 2 carriages per set
  • DMSL+DMS[3]
Diagram
  • DP244 (DMSL)
  • DP245 (DMS)[1][4]
Fleet numbers
  • 156401-156514 (set)
  • 52401-52514 (DMSL)
  • 57401-57514 (DMS)[3]
Capacity
  • As built:
  • 163S (set)
  • 79S (DMSL)
  • 84S (DMS)[3][4]
  • TOC modified:
  • 140-152S (set)
  • 68-74S (DMSL)
  • 72-78S (DMS)[3][5]
Operator(s)
Depot(s)
Specifications
Car body construction Steel[4]
Car length 23.03 m (75 ft 7 in)[4]
Width 2.73 m (8 ft 11 in)[4]
Height 3.81 m (12 ft 6 in)[4]
Floor height 1.14 m (3 ft 9 in)[4]
Doors Single leaf sliding[3]
Articulated sections 2
Wheelbase 16 m (52 ft 6 in) (bogie centres)[4]
Maximum speed 75 mph (121 km/h)[4]
Weight
  • 35.5 t (34.9 long tons; 39.1 short tons) (DMS)
  • 36.1 t (35.5 long tons; 39.8 short tons) (DMSL)[3]
Prime mover(s) 1 × Cummins NT855-R5[4] Diesel (per car)
Power output 570 hp (430 kW)[3]
Transmission
Train heating Hot air from single heat exchanger[4]
Bogies
Braking system(s) Air/EP[3]
Safety system(s)
Coupling system BSI[7]
Multiple working Classes 14x, 15x, 17x[3]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

The British Rail Class 156 is a diesel multiple-unit train. A total of 114 sets were built between 1987 and 1989 for British Rail by Metro-Cammell's Washwood Heath works. They were built to replace elderly first-generation DMUs and locomotive-hauled passenger trains.

Description[edit]

The design of the Class 156 was more conservative than Metro-Cammell's earlier Class 151 design. The bodyshell was made of steel instead of aluminium, and the cab design was deliberately similar to the Class 150 to ease union acceptance.[8]

In late 1985, British Rail placed an order with Metro-Cammell for 114 two-carriage units.[9][10]

Construction of the welded bodyshells was subcontracted out with Procor Engineering, Wakefield completing 118, WH Davis 60 and Standard Wagon 50. Aston Martin Tickford were awarded the interior fitout contract.[11] The units were all built as two-car sets, numbered 156401-514. Each unit was formed of two driving motors, one of which contained a toilet.[12] Individual carriages numbered as follows:

  • 52401-52514 - Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)
  • 57401-57514 - Driving Motor Standard (DMS), containing an area for storing wheelchairs, bicycles, bulky luggage etc

The vehicles are powered by 6-cylinder Cummins NT855-R5 diesel engines through Voith T211r hydraulic automatic transmissions and Gmeinder final drive units.[11][12] They have a top speed of 75 mph (121 km/h).

Unlike the Class 150 units, the 156s have a single-leaf sliding door at either end of each coach. This reflected the expected longer journeys with fewer stops that the Class 156 was supposed to operate. As with the Class 150, all the doors are operable by passengers when released by the guard using one of two passenger door control panels; they are energised using a carriage key to turn a rotary switch situated on the cab bulkhead. Units operated by Abellio ScotRail have additionally been fitted with door-control panels near the centre sets of doors for the convenience of the guard.

Operations[edit]

British Rail[edit]

156419 in Provincial livery at Crewe

On 10 November 1987, 156401 conducted its first test run from Washwood Heath to Banbury. Between January and July 1988, 156401-156429 were delivered to Crown Point depot entering service on 16 May 1988 on new services from East Anglia to North West England as well as existing services services from Norwich and Cambridge to Birmingham. They also operated boat trains from Harwich to Blackpool and later Liverpool.[11]

The remaining 85 were delivered to Heaton, Neville Hill, Haymarket and Inverness. With the Class 155 units withdrawn due to faulty door mechanisms, 25 were transferred to Cardiff from December 1988, with the last remaining until November 1989. In this guise they operated services as far south as Portsmouth. In May 1991, six were transferred from Crown Point to Derby Etches Park.[11]

On 15 June 1989, 156502 was sent to the Netherlands as part of the Dutch Railways 150th celebrations. It returned on 10 July.[11] On 21 October 1993, 156405 became the first Sprinter to accrue 1 million miles, whilst working the 10:10 Great Yarmouth to Norwich service.[13]

The first 100 were painted in Provincial sector's livery of blue and beige with light blue stripe. Twenty units, (156401-419/422) based at Tyseley depot, were later repainted into Regional Railways Express livery after the rebranding of Provincial. The last fourteen units were operated by Strathclyde PTE, and carried an orange and black livery. Following the delivery of the Class 158s in the early 1990s, the 156s began to be cascaded to less important services.[11]

Post-privatisation[edit]

As part of the privatisation of British Rail, the Class 156 fleet was sold with Angel Trains taking ownership of 76 and Porterbrook 38.[14][15] These were leased to several train operating companies.

Scotland[edit]

First ScotRail 156457 at Oban in June 2005

At privatisation the Scottish fleet passed to the National Express owned ScotRail franchise, which used them until 2004 when the franchise was taken over by First ScotRail. All passed to Abellio ScotRail with the franchise in 2015. They operate both on short-distance commuter routes and on services of up to five and a half hours, such as Glasgow to Fort William and Mallaig.[16]

Units 156500-514, were operated by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and originally wore its orange and black livery. This was replaced with a carmine and cream livery in 1997, that was also applied to another 14.[17][18] All have since been repainted inro ScotRail's standard Saltire livery.[19]

Despite their past liveries, the former SPT units were not confined to any specific route and thus worked in tandem with the rest of the 156 fleet on other routes.

Generally units work interchangeably on local and long-distance workings, however only the 15 Radio Electronic Token Block fitted units can operate on the West Highland Line.[20]

As of 2017, they regularly operate on the following routes:

They also make occasional appearances on the following routes worked mostly by other units:

In the event of severe disruption, Class 156s are known to make rare appearances to Perth and Dundee, where they operated regularly until 2005.

In September 2008 Transport Scotland announced that all ScotRail trains (including those of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) would be repainted in a new livery of blue with white saltire markings on the carriage ends. The first 156 was repainted in this livery by RailCare Springburn in February 2009.[21]

In December 2014, 156478 was written off by Angel Trains and sold to Brodie Leasing after being damaged by floodwaters on the Glasgow South Western Line. Brodie Leasing repaired the unit and it returned to service with Abellio ScotRail in October 2016.[22]

In 2016, a program to fit the units with disabled toilets and effluent tanks began. Conversion of the fleet should be completed by December 2017.[23][24] In 2019, five are scheduled to move to Northern after the Class 385s enter service.[25]

East Anglia[edit]

Having originally been based in the East Anglia region but later transferred away, in early 2005 they returned when One received nine from Central Trains in exchange for a similar number of Class 150s.[26]

The units are used on the following local services:

as well as the longer distance services between Ipswich to Cambridge/Peterborough.

On 17 August 2010, 156417 was involved in a collision with a slurry tanker at a user-operated level crossing. Twenty-one people were injured, one of them seriously.[27]

All nine passed to Abellio Greater Anglia when it took over the Greater Anglia franchise in February 2012. Despite being overhauled by Railcare, Wolverton in 2012/13, including work to make them comply with disability legislation, all are scheduled to be replaced by Class 755s in 2020.[28][29]

Northern England[edit]

Northern Spirit liveried 156473 at Buxton in September 2007
Refurbished interior of a Northern Spirit Class 156

Following privatisation, both Arriva Trains Northern and First North Western operated Class 156s and implemented their own refurbishment programs. The two fleets were united when Northern Rail took over both franchises in 2004.

Six former Arriva Trains Northern Class 156 units were transferred from Yorkshire to the North West by Merseyrail, to replace some Class 142s in the Merseyside area, after Class 158s were introduced in Yorkshire. The franchise's units, split between depots at Heaton and Allerton, operate as 'common user' on a day-to-day basis, and are liable to appear working well away from their supposed home depot's routes (the opposite of what used to happen under British Rail, when units rarely strayed from their home depot's locality).[citation needed] Within the Northern region, Class 156s are concentrated in the North-West and also the North-East, but are uncommon now in Yorkshire and Humberside, where Class 158s and other unit types are used instead.

In 2011, fourteen Class 156s were fitted with GPS as a trial for Northern Rail, being tested on the Esk Valley line.[30] In 2011 four were transferred to East Midlands Trains.[31]

In January 2015, Northern Rail began to hire 156s to First TransPennine Express to operate Manchester Airport to Blackpool North services.[32] Northern Rail's fleet of 42 Class 156s passed to Arriva Rail North when the new franchise started on 1 April 2016. The 156s began to operate Manchester Airport to Barrow in Furness and Oxenholme to Windermere services from this date after they along with the Manchester Airport to Blackpool North services were transferred to the franchise.[33]

An additional five Class 156 units are due to transfer to Northern from Abellio ScotRail in 2019.[25]

Midlands[edit]

East Midlands Trains 156406 at Derby in February 2012
Refurbished interior of an East Midlands Trains Class 156

In 1997, Central Trains inherited twenty units from Regional Railways[34] for use mainly on medium-distance services such as:

In an attempt at fleet standardisation, preparations were made during 2003 to exchange all 20 Class 156s for an equal number of ScotRail Class 158s,[35] with 156402 partially repainted in ScotRail colours in readiness when overhauled at Wabtec, Doncaster.[36] The transfer did not proceed after the Scottish Government refused to sanction the move, and the rest of the fleet were reliveried into Central Trains' livery between 2003 and 2005.[37]

Nine units were transferred to One during early 2005, in exchange for a similar number of Class 150s.[26]

At the end of the Central Trains franchise, the remaining eleven units were transferred to East Midlands Trains, who repainted the fleet during 2008[38] and then carried out a refurbishment program from autumn 2010 onwards.[39] The refurbishment, carried out at Neville Hill depot, included interior refurbishment work, improvements to driving cabs and installation of CCTV.[40][41] These trains are now used on slower medium-distance services such as Nottingham/Derby to Matlock, Nottingham to Skegness, Leicester to Lincoln and Nottingham to Worksop. In May 2011, four additional units were transferred from Northern Rail to allow Nottingham to Liverpool services to be strengthened.[41]

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 156 Abellio ScotRail 48 1987-89 2 156430–156437, 156439, 156442, 156445–156447, 156449–156450, 156453, 156456–156458, 156462, 156465, 156467, 156474, 156476–156478, 156485, 156492-156496, 156499–156514
East Midlands Trains 15 156401, 156403–156406, 156408, 156410–156411, 156413–156415, 156470, 156473, 156497, 156498
Greater Anglia 9 156402, 156407, 156409, 156412, 156416–156419, 156422
Northern 42 156420–156421, 156423–156429, 156438, 156440–156441, 156443–156444, 156448, 156451–156452, 156454-156455, 156459–156461, 156463–156464, 156466, 156468–156469, 156471–156472, 156475, 156479–156484, 156486–156491

Named units[edit]

Central Trains 156414 at Nottingham in November 2005

Some units have received names:[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fox 1987, p. 45
  2. ^ Fox & Hughes 1994, p. 33
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Class 156". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 9 March 2005. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Vehicle Diagram Book No. 220 for Diesel Multiple Unit Trains (Railcars) (PDF). Barrowmore MRG. Derby: British Railways Board. 1982. DP244, DP245. 
  5. ^ "The Northern Interim Franchise Agreement" (PDF). gov.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Fox & Hughes 1994, pp. 33–35
  7. ^ "Mechanical And Electrical Coupling Index". Rail Safety and Standards Board. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  8. ^ dysgraphyk (n.d.). "Class Origins". 156 Super-Sprinter website. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  9. ^ ”Bus builders share massive BR car orders” Railway Gazette International December 1985 page 899
  10. ^ ”Super Sprinters take to the rails” Railway Gazette International July 1987 page 471
  11. ^ a b c d e f "The Class 156 Super Sprinter story" Today's Railways issue 87 March 2009 pages 44-56
  12. ^ a b The Railway Data File. Leicester: Blitz. 1999. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-85605-499-7. 
  13. ^ dysgraphyk (n.d.). "The British Rail Years". 156 Super-Sprinter website. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  14. ^ Class 156 Angel Trains
  15. ^ Class 156 Porterbrook
  16. ^ "Class 156". scot-rail.co.uk (enthusiast website). 20 February 2012. 
  17. ^ "Strathclyde adopts new livery for fleet" Rail Magazine issue 298 12 February 1997 page 13
  18. ^ "SPT confirms carmine & cream as new livery" The Railway Magazine issue 1172 April 1997 page 62
  19. ^ SPT Liveried Class 156s Scot-rail (enthusiast site)
  20. ^ Class 156 Scot-rail (enthusiast site)
  21. ^ All Scotand's trains to get Saltaire livery The Scotsman 31 July 2008
  22. ^ Flood-damaged DMU returns to service Railway Gazette International 19 October 2016
  23. ^ "New train refurbishment to rid Scotland's railways of effluent". Transport Scotland. 15 October 2015. 
  24. ^ No dumping: first of ScotRail trains refurbished with non-discharging trains will rejoin the fleet this week Evening Times 16 October 2015
  25. ^ a b "Northern announces dates for rundown of Pacer fleet" Rail Express issue 244 September 2016 page 11
  26. ^ a b "Central starts rebranding its ex Anglia 150s" Rail Magazine issue 517 6 July 2005 page 27
  27. ^ Gabbatt, Adam; Meikle, James (18 August 2010). "Suffolk rail crossing crash leaves man with life-threatening injuries". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 
  28. ^ Newly refurbished Class 156 train re-enters service Abellio Greater Anglia 3 December 2012
  29. ^ Stadler and Bombardier to supply trains for Abellio East Anglia franchise Railway Gazette International 10 August 2016
  30. ^ Train tracking trials Whitby Gazette 17 March 2011
  31. ^ "Northern 156s readied for EMT" Rail Magazine issue 680 5 October 2011 page 27
  32. ^ Train announcement First TransPennine Express 8 January 2015
  33. ^ Stakeholder Briefing Document and Consultation Response Department for Transport 27 February 2015
  34. ^ Knight, Steven, ed. (1997). A comprehensive guide to Britain's new railway. Peterborough: EMAP Apex. OCLC 154179551. 
  35. ^ dysgraphyk (n.d.). "White 156 402". 156 Super-Sprinter website. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  36. ^ ”CT Class 156 emerges unbranded” Rail Magazine issue 466 23 July 2003 page 70
  37. ^ dysgraphyk. "Central Trains Livery". 156 Super-Sprinter website. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  38. ^ "East Midlands Trains launches first re-branded Class 156 train" (Press release). East Midlands Trains. 4 April 2008. 
  39. ^ "Rail passengers welcome first trains to undergo part of £5m makeover". Lincolnshire Echo. Lincoln. 29 September 2010. 
  40. ^ ”EMT starts 153 and 156 refurbishment” Today’s Railways issue 105 September 2010 page 64
  41. ^ a b Miles, Tony (December 2010). "EMT refurbished Class 156 launched". Modern Railways. London. p. 88. 
  42. ^ "DMU Formations". AbRail. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 

Sources[edit]

  • 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. 
  • Fox, Peter; Hughes, Barry (1994). DMUs & Channel Tunnel Stock. British Railways Pocket Book No.3 (7th ed.). Platform 5. ISBN 9781872524597. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]