British Rail Class 168

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British Rail Class 168 Clubman
168107 A London Marylebone.JPG
Chiltern Railways Class 168/1 No. 168107 at Marylebone.
168107 B M Interior 1.JPG
Refurbished Class 168/1 Interior.
In service 20 May 1998 - present
Manufacturer ADtranz, Bombardier
Family name Turbostar
Constructed 1998 - 2004
Refurbishment 2007 - 2008[1]
2013 -
Number built 19 trainsets
Formation 3 or 4 cars per trainset
Fleet numbers 168001 - 168005
168106 - 168113
168214 - 168219
Capacity 204 seats (3-car unit)
272 seats (4-car unit)
Operator(s) Chiltern Railways
Line(s) served
Car body construction Welded aluminium. Steel ends.
Car length 23.62 m (77 ft 6 in)
Width 2.69 m (8 ft 10 in)
Height 3.77 m (12 ft 4 in)
Maximum speed 100 mph (160 km/h)
Prime mover(s) Diesel, one per car, MTU 6R 183TD
Power output 422 hp (315 kW) per car
Transmission Voith Hydraulic T211rzze
2 axles driven per car
Safety system(s) ATP, AWS, TPWS, Tripcock system
Coupling system BSI[2]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Class 168 Clubman is a diesel multiple-unit (DMU) train used on services between London and the Midlands.


The units were built in several batches from 1997 onwards. The first batch of units was classified 168/0 under TOPS and resembled the Class 165 units previously built by BREL York. The Networker-design cab was an interim solution pending the design of a completely new cab for further Turbostar batches. Subsequent builds, which are subclassed as 168/1 and 168/2, were constructed at the same time as the Class 170 Turbostar and thus are part of the Turbostar family of trains.

The first batch of Clubman carriages ordered by Chiltern Railways were the first units to be ordered by any train operating company since the privatisation of the UK industry in 1996. They were originally delivered as 3 car sets but were later lengthened to 4 car sets. The Midland Mainline Class 170/1 were the first production Class 170 Turbostars to be constructed and are based on the experience learnt from the Class 168.

Technical details[edit]

The Clubman/Turbostar platform is a modular design, optimised for speedy manufacture and easy maintenance. It consists of an underframe, which is created by seam-welding a number of extrusions, upon which bodyside panels are mounted followed by a single piece roof, again made from extruded sections.

The car ends are made from glass-reinforced plastic and steel, and are bolted on. Underframe components are collected in ‘rafts’, which are bolted into slots on the underframe extrusion.

The drive system consists of a MTU diesel engine with a two speed Voith T211r hydrodynamic transmission system. This is the same gearbox as previously used on all Sprinter variations. A cardan shaft links the output of the gearbox to ZF final drives on the inner bogie of each vehicle.[clarification needed]

Automatic Train Protection (ATP) equipment, manufactured by Alcatel is fitted as well as a tripcock system for operation on the London to Aylesbury Line, where tracks are shared with London Underground.


A typical Class 168 consists of 2+2 standard class seating throughout, arranged either round tables or in airline style seating with pull-down tables. The majority of seats are facing seats. The Class 168 is carpeted throughout with luggage racks, air conditioning, and two or more toilets per set (one for disabled users, with baby changing facilities).

Passenger information systems are in fitted every car and on the outside of class 168/2 cars. The Clubman fleet has problems with its passenger information system, which is based on GPRS and GSM technology, but frequently fails to accurately find its position, resulting in misleading information being displayed to passengers.[citation needed]


Three different variants of the 168 have been produced - they are 168/0, 168/1 and 168/2 - both Classes 168/1 and 168/2 are actually of the same design as the Class 170 Turbostar DMU trains, mainly due to the redesigned cab ends. The nine Class 170s that Chiltern will obtain from First TransPennine Express will be converted to operate with the Class 168 fleet, and redesignated as Class 168/3.[3]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 168/0 Chiltern Railways 5 1998 4 168001 - 168005
Class 168/1 8 2000 168106 - 168107
3 168108 - 168113
Class 168/2 6 2004 168214, 168218 - 168219
4 168215 - 168217
Class 168/3[3] 9[4] 2000 2 168321 - 168329


Network South East (NSE) originally planned the Class 168 for their expansion of service on the Chiltern Main Line to Birmingham Snow Hill or New Street. These units were planned to have a higher top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) and better acceleration than the Class 165 Network Turbo DMU trains.

In the event, privatisation intervened before NSE acquired any units; Chiltern Railways operates these units, in similar diagrams to those originally planned by NSE.

Liveries and interiors[edit]

Class 168 Chiltern Railways Diagram 1.PNG


  1. ^ Chiltern Railways. "Chiltern Railways: About us - Our train fleet". Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  2. ^ "System Data for Mechanical and Electrical Coupling of Rail Vehicles". Rail Safety and Standards Board. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  3. ^ a b Broadbent, Steve (4 March 2014). "Chiltern plots further expansion". Rail (769): 46–53. 
  4. ^ 4 more to be delivered in February 2016

Further reading[edit]

  • "First post-privatisation new train enters service on Chiltern Lines". RAIL. No. 332. EMAP Apex Publications. 3–16 June 1998. p. 11. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.