BR’s most successful DMU?

delt1c

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Ok this could be a controversial one, but what do you think was BR’s most successful DMU?

I am going to put myself on the firing range by suggesting the 143s.

After initial problems they settled down to work all types of services.

Hated by passengers and the media , they were reliable and most importantly they way outlived their design life expectancy.

Plus they saved many services and possibly lines at a time when cuts and savings were the name of game.

My second choice would be the class 101s; again reliable, they worked all manner of services and way out lived their life expectancy.
 
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Iskra

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Class 158/9, easily.

The DMU format with a more intercity layout and comfort has helped make the rail network a better way to travel long distances whilst still being affordable for the railway even on quieter lines. The longer carriages provide decent capacity on popular routes too and the 90mph speed is good and they still have good route availability.

Just a good all round unit that can do most tasks pretty well and is relatively comfortable to travel on.
 

CW2

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One of my favourites was the "Inter City 123" Swindon Inter City DMUs. They did loads of good work on the Western Region before transferring to the North East to bolster the flagging Trans Pennine DMU fleet. They were essentially Mark 1 coaches with motors beneath. Apparently there was a plan to run them as 2-car sets if the class 141 fleet introduction collapsed, but they weren't needed, and regrettably they were all scrapped.
 

furnessvale

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Class 158/9, easily.

The DMU format with a more intercity layout and comfort has helped make the rail network a better way to travel long distances whilst still being affordable for the railway even on quieter lines. The longer carriages provide decent capacity on popular routes too and the 90mph speed is good and they still have good route availability.

Just a good all round unit that can do most tasks pretty well and is relatively comfortable to travel on.
Only let down by its route availability which, to my mind, makes the 156 a strong contender.
 

Iskra

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Only let down by its route availability which, to my mind, makes the 156 a strong contender.
Hmm. I think the 158 has a better interior and more comfortable seats. The partitioning doors improve the ambience and are better for maintaining a reasonable temperature in winter. I also prefer units/stock where toilets don't open directly into the saloon like on 156's.
 

JonathanH

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One of my favourites was the "Inter City 123" Swindon Inter City DMUs. They did loads of good work on the Western Region before transferring to the North East to bolster the flagging Trans Pennine DMU fleet. They were essentially Mark 1 coaches with motors beneath. Apparently there was a plan to run them as 2-car sets if the class 141 fleet introduction collapsed, but they weren't needed, and regrettably they were all scrapped.
Not entirely successful though - probably let down by being 70 mph units (although I doubt they could have been faster at that time and it is not really right to judge by modern standards). All I know about them is that my father said he used to fall asleep when he commuted between Paddington and Reading on them. If they had been successful as DMUs, there wouldn't have been a need for their replacement by locomotive hauled trains on the Western Region services.
 
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furnessvale

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Hmm. I think the 158 has a better interior and more comfortable seats. The partitioning doors improve the ambience and are better for maintaining a reasonable temperature in winter. I also prefer units/stock where toilets don't open directly into the saloon like on 156's.
It's all very subjective. If you want a plush DMU that runs fast on main lines then the 158 wins hands down.

However, if you want a DMU that does what 1st generation DMUs used to do, a bit of mainline but also branch line work, then other factors come into play. Both 158 and 156 are let down by the end doors and perhaps 150/2 becomes a better bet.
 

Iskra

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It's all very subjective. If you want a plush DMU that runs fast on main lines then the 158 wins hands down.

However, if you want a DMU that does what 1st generation DMUs used to do, a bit of mainline but also branch line work, then other factors come into play. Both 158 and 156 are let down by the end doors and perhaps 150/2 becomes a better bet.
I agree. This thread could do with being a poll really!

150's are my least favourite DMU's!
 

hexagon789

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156, very reliable; no large spate of teething issues of the 158s whe they were new and in much better condition than the 150s which aren't that significantly older.
 

MB162435

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Guess it depends on what criteria you deem successful to be, Pacers saved branch lines as did 153s later on, and the rest improved the travelling experience

I would say 158s, not only were they successful here but were also exported abroad, the Pacers although trialled abroad never took off
 

Taunton

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One of my favourites was the "Inter City 123" Swindon Inter City DMUs. They did loads of good work on the Western Region
I feel the opposite, the WR didn't know what to do with them. There was some internal politics which led to them being authorised, just 5 8-car sets. They were hand-built in the carriage plant, not on a production line, the Swindon dmu line having been closed down a while before, and the jigs disposed of.

Significantly underpowered compared to say Trans-Pennine units, they only had two cars out of four powered, compared to two out of three with the latter. Being of heavyweight steel construction, their power to weight ratio was poor. They were on B4 bogies but these were wasted as the transmission could not handle more than 70mph.

When new I would see them growling out of Taunton late morning on the through Cardiff-Plymouth service, notably slow acceleration, other dmus would see them off. Apparently performance over Dainton led to them being withdrawn from the route, and Hymeks substituted.

Like other WR dmus, the buffets were a waste of space, hardly used, but these were actually scrapped very early on.
 

Tetchytyke

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I could take my pick from the 150, 156, 165/166, 158 and 170, and my answer probably depends on my mood.

The 150 is a no-nonsense workhorse, still going strong. No frills but it does the job and it does it well. The 156 took the positive bits of the 150- like 150s, they're bombproof- and added a few frills.

Likewise the 165/166s which replaced a wide collection of clapped out 1st gen DMUs that were never really fit for purpose.

The 158 was a game-changer for regional express work, air conditioning, comfortable seats aligned with windows, even a payphone. Comparing them to the knackered old MkIs they replaced is like night and day.

The 170 took the best bits of the 158 and expanded on it; I know 1/3 and 2/3 doors are a bit Marmite, but I think they work.

I'd probably pick the 158- just that bit nicer than a 156- but, as I say, it really does depend on what day you ask me.
,
 

Masborough

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Class 158 for me. In my humble opinion, no other DMU from their 'generation' was able to replicate the comfort of loco hauled stock as well, particularly the Trans Pennine refurbishment (even Northern when new). They compare well to more modern units, I'd rather spend 2 hours on a 158 than a 185 anyday...

Class 253 & 254 were also pretty successful ;)
 

bramling

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Ok this could be a controversial one, but what do you think was BR’s most successful DMU?

I am going to put myself on the firing range by suggesting the 143s.

After initial problems they settled down to work all types of services.

Hated by passengers and the media , they were reliable and most importantly they way outlived their design life expectancy.

Plus they saved many services and possibly lines at a time when cuts and savings were the name of game.

My second choice would be the class 101s; again reliable, they worked all manner of services and way out lived their life expectancy.
Has to be the Sprinter family. Whilst some of them are a little spartan and/or cramped, ultimately they have effectively formed the backbone of the former Regional Railways sector for many years now, and have performed that task exceptionally well.

That’s not to say they’re perfect, but they do the job, and indeed have been utterly hammered into the ground over the years yet still do the job well.

By contrast something like a 170 whilst the interior is more than plain vanilla, some of them look and sound like they’re falling to bits.
 

Bevan Price

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One of my favourites was the "Inter City 123" Swindon Inter City DMUs. They did loads of good work on the Western Region before transferring to the North East to bolster the flagging Trans Pennine DMU fleet. They were essentially Mark 1 coaches with motors beneath. Apparently there was a plan to run them as 2-car sets if the class 141 fleet introduction collapsed, but they weren't needed, and regrettably they were all scrapped.
I suspect that - like several other 1st generation dmus, they were "afflicted" by asbestos, and it was judged more economical to scrap than to remove all traces of asbestos. The 123s and 124s were good units, but their 70 mph speed limits restricted the ability to reduce journey times, when hauled trains were permitted to run at 90-100 mph.
 

David Goddard

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Fully agree with those saying 158. A versatile and comfortable DMU that's seen work across most of the country. The first air conditioned units and were a step change from anything they replaced
 

DGH 1

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My choice would have to be the metro cammell class 101 because of its long life, but also because it was so successful at giving us kids so much entertainment sitting over the front bogie and lifting our feet of the floor and being bounced all the way to our destination, we had simple pleasures in those far off days.
 

Ashley Hill

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1st Generation,the 101s. A well designed and practical unit seen all over the country. I admit there may be other more aesthetically pleasing sets like the 110s or the Whickam sets but for workhorses it's the MetCams for me.
2nd generation,probably the 158s,game changers on long distance regional services. 150s a close second for their all round usefulness.
Hated the 155s. Noisy,poor internally and horrible to work. Quite unsuitable for the long distance services they worked before conversation. They fared a bit better as 153s on branch work.
 

43096

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I could take my pick from the 150, 156, 165/166, 158 and 170, and my answer probably depends on my mood.

The 150 is a no-nonsense workhorse, still going strong. No frills but it does the job and it does it well. The 156 took the positive bits of the 150- like 150s, they're bombproof- and added a few frills.

Likewise the 165/166s which replaced a wide collection of clapped out 1st gen DMUs that were never really fit for purpose.

The 158 was a game-changer for regional express work, air conditioning, comfortable seats aligned with windows, even a payphone. Comparing them to the knackered old MkIs they replaced is like night and day.

The 170 took the best bits of the 158 and expanded on it; I know 1/3 and 2/3 doors are a bit Marmite, but I think they work.

I'd probably pick the 158- just that bit nicer than a 156- but, as I say, it really does depend on what day you ask me.
,
The 170 is post privatisation and off topic: the question was about BR DMUs.

For me, the 158/159 is the clear winner. I’ve never understood the 156 love-in.
 

py_megapixel

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Undoubtedly something from the Sprinter family, just because they operate all over the country even in the modern day. But I'm torn between the 150, the 156 and the 158.

Incidentally I dislike Sprinters other than the 158s because they are noisy, draughty, sluggish to accelerate and have really outstayed their welcome - for example in Northern land where they share some common commuter journeys with 195s they are really starting to look outdated.

However this is all going a bit off topic since obviously they weren't outdated when introduced.
 

hexagon789

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I feel the opposite, the WR didn't know what to do with them. There was some internal politics which led to them being authorised, just 5 8-car sets. They were hand-built in the carriage plant, not on a production line, the Swindon dmu line having been closed down a while before, and the jigs disposed of.

Significantly underpowered compared to say Trans-Pennine units, they only had two cars out of four powered, compared to two out of three with the latter. Being of heavyweight steel construction, their power to weight ratio was poor. They were on B4 bogies but these were wasted as the transmission could not handle more than 70mph.

When new I would see them growling out of Taunton late morning on the through Cardiff-Plymouth service, notably slow acceleration, other dmus would see them off. Apparently performance over Dainton led to them being withdrawn from the route, and Hymeks substituted.

Like other WR dmus, the buffets were a waste of space, hardly used, but these were actually scrapped very early on.
I agree they were probably not the right thing to have ordered. I remember reading an article in a magazine of the period which expressed concern at the 70mph top speed! I'm not sure they were that underpowered 6.2hp per ton for an 8-car set is pretty good for the time and would've been plenty for the flat GWML.
 

hexagon789

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Undoubtedly something from the Sprinter family, just because they operate all over the country even in the modern day. But I'm torn between the 150, the 156 and the 158.

Incidentally I dislike Sprinters other than the 158s because they are noisy, draughty, sluggish to accelerate and have really outstayed their welcome - for example in Northern land where they share some common commuter journeys with 195s they are really starting to look outdated.

However this is all going a bit off topic since obviously they weren't outdated when introduced.
The engine noise is one of their good points! ;)

In all seriousness I agree they are getting on a bit but I would say the 156s and 158/159 still have useful life left. The 150s are pretty much done though
 

davetheguard

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I agree. This thread could do with being a poll really!

150's are my least favourite DMU's!
I'll second the need for a poll; in fact two polls - one for first generation DMU's & one for their replacements up to the present day. My votes, which definitely reflect a regional bias, would go to classes 119 & 165.
 

matchmaker

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156 for me. At least in Scotland they were used on virtually any service due to their "go anywhere" ability, including Glasgow - Edinburgh via Falkirk High prior to the introduction of the 158s, and Aberdeen - Glasgow at least once.
 

hexagon789

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156 for me. At least in Scotland they were used on virtually any service due to their "go anywhere" ability, including Glasgow - Edinburgh via Falkirk High prior to the introduction of the 158s, and Aberdeen - Glasgow at least once.
Glasgow-Aberdeen for April-September 1990, same as 156s on Glasgow-Edinburgh. Not ideal for the services but I like to think their versatility meant they could cope with such workings without issue.

To me the 156 is a nice intermediate design between 150 and 158.
 

PG

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158/159 gets my vote. The 155/156 showed how to improve on the 150's (155 unreliability aside) but the few years wait for the 158's was worth it as they really transformed things.

SWT 159's really showed how good Sprinters could be.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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One of my favourites was the "Inter City 123" Swindon Inter City DMUs. They did loads of good work on the Western Region before transferring to the North East to bolster the flagging Trans Pennine DMU fleet. They were essentially Mark 1 coaches with motors beneath. Apparently there was a plan to run them as 2-car sets if the class 141 fleet introduction collapsed, but they weren't needed, and regrettably they were all scrapped.
I'm sure there was a 90mph variant of these which ran Paddington-Banbury services on introduction.
They were chronically unreliable and perpetuated the cramped WR 4-a-side compartment format.
They were quickly withdrawn.

156s for me. It still cheers me up to see one turning up instead of a 150 or Pacer.
Go anywhere, reasonably comfortable and a smooth ride, good view out, highly reliable, still going strong.
158s were problem children at the start (the last stock built before BREL was sold to ABB).
For me they are too cramped to have an inter-city ambience, though the recent ATW upgrade was nicely done.
I seemed to travel on a lot of Derby 108s in the early days in the north-west, far better than the push-pull steam they replaced.
But really most of the 1st generation were rubbish commuter trains and were put on unsuitable long-distance services (eg Manchester-Holyhead), because BR had run out of money to buy proper long-distance DMUs.
Not many votes for the Turbos I see, but they were a great improvement on the high-density and fume-ridden Thames 116s they replaced.
 

hexagon789

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I'm sure there was a 90mph variant of these which ran Paddington-Banbury services on introduction.
They were chronically unreliable and perpetuated the cramped WR 4-a-side compartment format.
They were quickly withdrawn.
The only 90mph BR First Gen DMU was the Blue Pullmans. The 123s did sometimes run to Banbury I believe.
 

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