Sprinter (train)


Sprinter (train)

The Sprinter is a family of diesel multiple unit trains in use on the UK railway system. They were built in the 1980s and early 1990s by BREL, Metro Cammell and Leyland. All are based around a Cummins engine with Voith hydraulic transmission. Sprinters can be seen operating in almost every part of the UK, from rural branch lines to commuter expresses into London.

The Prototypes

Two companies, Metro-Cammell and BREL built three coach prototypes for the first batch of Sprinters.

'Sprinter' name

British Rail coined the 'Sprinter' name for the units mainly to expose the superior acceleration capabilities of the units compared with the First-Generation DMU trains they replaced. Ads such as 'The Sprinters are coming' were locally advertised in newspapers when these trains were scheduled to be introduced. Great play was also made of, in many cases, reduced journey times and on many lines timetables were changed to take advantage.

Reception

On many lines, the new units were warmly welcomed. It is important to remember that while the first generation DMU trains had given many years of service, in very many cases, they suffered from lack of and/or poor maintenance, with sometimes filthy and worn interiors, and leaking exhaust systems pumping fumes directly into passenger accommodation. Ignoring arguments over comfort and style, the mere fact that the trains were clean and new was enough to make them welcome countrywide.

Class 150

One of these BREL prototypes was very similar to production Class 150 units, with a Cummins engine and Voith gearbox. The other was fitted a Rolls-Royce engine and Self Changing Gear (SCG). The latter unit would suffer various problems with both of these components, but would later become the only Class 154 and was used as a Class 158 testbed. [ [http://www.traintesting.com/Class150.htm Class 150 Sprinter Prototype ] ]


=Class 151=

Built by Metro-Cammell, these featured the same Cummins engine as the Class 150. They had aluminium body shells and hot-shift twin disc gearboxes. They suffered from a jerky, violent gearshift, which was never fully rectified. BREL's Class 150 design won the contract from British Rail, and the Class 151 never entered production. [ [http://www.traintesting.com/Class151.htm Class 151 Sprinter Prototype ] ]

Class 154

This was unit was converted from a Class 150 prototype, which had been fitted with a different engine and gearbox to production Class 150s. It became a Class 158 testbed; its problematic gearbox was replaced with an improved version of the Class 151 twin-disc hot shift transmission, which was finally providing smooth gear-changes, and air-conditioning was fitted. It was later converted back to Class 150 standard. [ [http://www.traintesting.com/Class154.htm Class 154 experimental DMU ] ]

Production Units

The production units were all built as two coach units, with the exception of 17 Class 158s and the 22 Class 159 units, which were built with an additional centre car. The Class 153 railcars were converted from the two coach Class 155.

All units have a top speed of 75 mph and no air-conditioning, except Classes 158 and 159. All units have outer-end gangways, allowing passengers to walk between trains multiple-working together, except the first batch of Class 150s.


=Class 150 (Sprinter)=

These were designed as commuter units and are fitted with 5 abreast seating and doors fitted at 1 and 2 thirds down the length of each car, unique amongst the Sprinter family. Early units also didn't feature any outer-end gangway, therefore in multiple-working with other Sprinter units, passengers cannot move about between trains. Later trains had an outer-end gangway, like all other Sprinters.

150/1

Currently operated by
*First Great Western
*London Midland
*London Overground
*Northern

150/2

Currently operated by
*Arriva Trains Wales
*First Great Western
*London Midland
*Northern


=Class 153 (SuperSprinter)=

These single-car units were originally built as two-car Class 155 units by Leyland from 1987-88, but were converted by Hunslet-Barclay at Kilmarnock from 1991-92. The class was built for lightly used lines, replacing first generation single coach units. The conversion involved building a new cab at the original inner ends of the vehicles. The layout of the original non-cab ends was subtly different from the original cab end, so the ends are noticeably different, and the vehicle not symmetrical. The new cab is significantly smaller than the original Leyland cab and pushes back into the door area.

Currently operated by
*Arriva Trains Wales
*East Midlands Trains
*First Great Western
*London Midland
*Northern
*National Express East Anglia


=Class 155 (SuperSprinter)=

These DMUs were built by British Leyland at Workington (using Leyland National bus components) between 1987 and 1988. Very few units remain, most were converted into Class 153. They have a top speed of 75 mph.

Currently operated by
*Northern


=Class 156 (SuperSprinter)=

The Class 156 units were built from 1987-89 by Metro-Cammell (now owned by Alstom) at their Washwood Heath Works in Birmingham. The vehicles are based on the Mark 3 bodyshell, and like the Class 155s have a single leaf sliding door at either end of each coach - this feature reflected the anticipated longer journeys (with fewer stops) that the Class 156 was supposed to operate. They have a top speed of 75 mph.

Currently operated by
*East Midlands Trains
*First Scotrail
*Northern
*National Express East Anglia


=Class 158 (Sprinter Express)=

The Class 158 "Express Sprinter" units were built from 1989-92 by BREL at Derby Works to replace elderly 'heritage' DMUs and locomotive-hauled passenger trains. Compared with previous members of the Sprinter family, specifically the venerable Class 156 SuperSprinter, the Sprinter Express is a large step up. Fully air-conditioned with provision for a trolley refreshment service and an increased top speed of 90 mph, the Class 158 is much better suited to longer journeys with fewer stops and provides a much quieter and more comfortable environment than its contemporaries.

Currently operated by
*Arriva Trains Wales
*East Midlands Trains
*First Great Western
*First Scotrail
*Northern
*South West Trains


=Class 159 (South Western Turbo)=

Originally built as 3 car class 158s, but converted before entry in to service. Twenty-two 3-car units were built for Network SouthEast's West of England and from London Waterloo to Salisbury, Yeovil and Exeter. They were used to replace Class 50 and Class 47 locomotive-hauled passenger trains. Units tend to operate in six or nine coach formations between Waterloo and Salisbury, in three or six coach formations between Salisbury and Exeter, and as single units west of Exeter.

Some surplus three coach Class 158 units were transferred to the West of England route in 2007 have been refurbished to Class 159 standards at and have been renumbered as Class 159/1

Currently operated by
*South West Trains

Replacement

As many sprinters are now 20 years old, TOCs are beginning to replace them. For example, London Midland have decided to replace their aging Class 150 fleet with Class 172 Turbostars from 2010. [citeweb|url=http://www.railnews.co.uk/2007/06/news/business/20070621_O_business_govia.html|title=Govia picked to run West Midlands franchise|date=June 21 2007|publisher=Railnews] . This is good news for the passenger as most Sprinters lack air conditioning [ [http://www.aslef.org.uk/information/100052/102518/102539/trainfreight_company_update/ The Train Drivers' Union] October 22 2007] and have a top speed of only 75 mph. They can be noisy inside, as opening windows are needed for ventilation and there are no pressure doors at the end of each carriage, next to the external doors. [ [http://members.madasafish.com/~dysgraphyk/156/class156_origins.htm The origins of the 156 sprinter] ] . It is likely these trains will be 'cascaded' to other TOCs to replace ageing pacers.

Class 158 Sprinter Express trains have been augmented or replaced by Turbostar units, allowing these to be "cascaded" down to lesser services and replace older and less comfortable Sprinters but these still operete the 5 hour journey from Norwich to Liverpool replacing the Turbostar units which have been cascaded to London Midland under the new franchise that began in November 2007, since Sprinter Express trains have higher top speeds, better sound proofing and air conditioning.

References

External links


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