Thursday, 21 January 2016

Class 159

The Class 159 is a sister class to the Class 158, indeed the 22 original sets were built as 158s but were converted at Babcock Rail for London Waterloo services replacing locomotive hauled trains to Exeter. The conversion took place before their entry into traffic and the modifications including first class compartments and retention toilets. Eight more were converted from Class 158s in 2006-7 forming the 159/1 (the original 22 sets are 159/0).

Information
Number built: 30 3-car sets
Built: 1989-93, 2006-7 (159/1)
Builder: BREL Derby / Babcock Rail (159/0)
BREL Derby / Wabtec Doncaster (159/1)
Engine: Cummins NTA855R per car
Power: 1, 200 hp (900 kW) - 159/0
1, 050 hp (780 kW) - 159/1
Formation: Driving Motor Composite Lavatory (DMCL)+Motor Standard
Lavatory (MSL)+Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)

Originally operated by British Rail Network South East they are now all operated by South West Trains. They mostly operate on services from Waterloo to Salisbury and Exeter as well as Bristol. In the past they have also worked services to the likes of Penzance, Southampton and Reading.
SWT 159 106 at Clapham Junction

SWT 159 010 at Waterloo

SWT 159 005 at Clapham Junction

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Class 156

The Class 156 was the largest class of "Super Sprinter" built for the Regional Railways arm of British Rail to replace 1st generation DMUs and loco hauled trains. The Class 156 has a low-density layout designed for outer suburban and regional routes, it is similar to the Class 153 and 155 DMUs with much of the same equipment.

Information
Number built: 114 2-car sets
Built: 1987-89
Builder: Metro Cammell
Engine: Cummins NT855R5 diesel per car
Power: 527 hp (426 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)+Driving Motor Standard (DMS)

They are currently operated by East Midlands Trains, ScotRail, Greater Anglia and Northern. They have also been operated by Central Trains and British Rail of course in the past. They are among the most reliable trains in service today.


British Rail considered converting some Class 156s to single-car DMUs as the Class 152 for branch lines but in the end Class 155s were converted instead to form the Class 153.
EMT 156 408 at Derby
Northern 156 425 at Liverpool Lime Street
EMT 156 404 at Leicester

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Class 350 [Updated]

The Class 350 "Desiro" EMU has been built in 3 batches since 2004 and serves, and has served, with a number of Train Operating Companies, probably the most notable being London Midland. With LM the Class 350 is the mainstay of the franchise's intercity regional services under the wires. The Class 350 has also served with the now defunct franchises Central Trains and Silverlink and also with Southern but now is only in service with LM and First TransPennine Express.

Information
Number built: 87 4-car train sets 
Built: 2004-14
Builder: Siemens
Engine: 4 Siemens 1TB2016-0GB02 traction motors
Power: 2, 000 hp (1, 500 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)+Trailer
Composite Open (TCO)+Pantograph Trailer Standard Open (PTSO)+DMSO

The Class 350 is capable of up to 110mp/h (except the 350/2) and collects its power from the 25kV AC overhead wires though some (350/1) can use the 750v DC third rail too.


London Midland use the 350/1, 350/2 (which has high density seating) and the recently built 350/3. First TPE uses the 350/4. The Class 450 EMU is nearly identical to the 350 but can run only on DC third rail routes.
LM 350 260 at Stafford

LM 350 116 at Birmingham New Street
LM 350 266 and 350 113 at Bletchley

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Class 70 (Type 5 Diesel) [Updated]

The Class 70 diesel locomotive (the original Class 70 was an early DC electric locomotive) is the most powerful freight diesel locomotive on British rails today with nearly 3,700hp to play with. Thirty have been bought by Freightliner and Colas Rail, they are used on intermodal and heavy haul freight services.

Information
Number built: 30 (+7)
Built: 2008-14, 2017
Builder: General Electric
Engine: GE PowerHaul P616 diesel
Power: 3, 690 hp (2, 750 kW)

The Class 70 had a troublesome entry into service with a very poor availability rate in its early days on British metals. One locomotive was also very bad damaged during a mishap during unloading from a cargo ship at Newport Docks and had to be returned to the US. Nowadays the locomotives are much more reliable.

The original 20 Freightliner locomotives are known as the 70/0 with the 10 Colas Rail locomotives 70/8. Seven more Class 70s have been ordered for Colas and should be delivered in 2017.
Freightliner 70 020 powers through Tamworth

Colas Rail 70 808 at Leamington Spa
Close up of 70 020 at Tamworth

Monday, 4 January 2016

Class 220

Post-privatisation the Class 220 Voyagers DMUs (or to be more precise Diesel Electric Multiple Units DEMUs) were built to replace HSTs and locomotive hauled passenger trains on long-distance cross country routes. They were originally operated by Virgin Trains but nowadays are all operated by Cross Country.

Information
Number built: 34 4-car sets
Built: 2000-01
Builder: Bombardier Bruges
Engine: Cummins QSK19 diesel per car
Power: 3, 000 hp (2, 440 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)+Motor Standard (MS)+
Motor Standard Lavatory (MSL)+Driving Motor First Lavatory (DMFL)

The Voyagers are high speed units able to reach 125 mp/h, every car in the unit has an engine, though cannot tilt like the Class 221. Although generally reliable units which form the backbone of Cross Country, the Voyagers have had a few problems.

They are generally shorter (at 4 cars) than the trains they replaced like the HST though initial passenger capacity was increased slightly by getting rid of the buffet, however overcrowding remains a problem with them. An option which has been discussed is to lengthen the Class 220s with a pantograph equipped fifth car turning the units into electro-diesels or as is commonly referred to these days "bi-mode", however it does not look as if this will be carried out.

Another problem with the Voyagers is that they are vulnerable to sea water which can badly affect their electronics. They are barred from running where the line runs alongside the sea such as at Dawlish if sea conditions are rough there is a good chance of spray!
220 011 at Banbury

220 024 at Birmingham New Street

220 033 at Barnt Green