These are ex FGW (Wessex) ex First TPE 158s. They have been returned to the leasing company as they can't be bothered to pay lease charges and 143s are cheaper to lease for what was Wssex....
Was there anything to stop First group themselves funding the leasing for these units? I don't see any reason why they couldn't or am I being too simplistic?
Absolutely nothing stopping First, apart from the fact that the leaseco's might not want to part with them.An interesting theory. FGW have done something similar in the past when they bought HST Powercars from MML after Project Rio had finished. Perhaps they're still trying to secure the return of the units in storage and make the DfT cough up. If that fails then there isn't really anything stopping First Group paying for them. There making around £70m a year (Including Bus Operations) so funding them isn't impossible.
There are no Scotrail units in service with FGW unless you count 158745/746 that came down from Scotland many years ago. 158741 has indeed long gone. 158863 is not ex-Central. 158863 is currently non-standard with Scotrail as it is one of the final batch of 10 units supplied to RRSW with higher rated engines. They are unlikely to keep it unless of course they acquire the other nine that FGW are rumoured to be wanting rid off shortly. Expect more bad publicity for them when that happens.Hasn't the ScotRail unit gone back up north? And is 158863 a 'real' West unit, or one of the CT units that just got put into Wessex livery ala 860.