Published: 07-01-2009 photo #5494 0 comments 0 votes
First Scotrail class 158 train at Dalmeny station.
British Rail Class 158 Express Sprinter is a diesel multiple unit (DMU) train, built for British Rail between 1989 and 1992 by BREL at their Derby Works. They were built to replace elderly 'heritage' DMUs and locomotive-hauled passenger trains. Class 159 trains are almost identical to Class 158s having been converted from Class 158 to Class 159 in two batches.
BREL also built similar units for State Railway of Thailand,which featured metre-gauge bogies and different outer-end gangways.
ScotRail inherited the largest number of sets, originally having a fleet of 46 units from new in 1989. These were employed on Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh Waverley services, as well as services to Aberdeen and Inverness. From 1998 onwards, units were reliveried in ScotRail Railways livery.
When ScotRail leased new Class 170 units in 1999, the Class 158 fleet was cascaded onto other routes, such as services to Thurso and Wick. The resultant cascade of older units allowed ScotRail to finally retire its elderly Class 101 'heritage' DMUs and end the lease on the Class 150. Six units were also transferred to other franchises. First ScotRail have now completed the repaint of the fleet into First's corporate pink and dark blue livery.
In September 2008 the Scottish Government's agency Transport Scotland announced that all First ScotRail trains (including from the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) would be eventually repainted in a new, blue livery with white Saltire markings on the carriage ends. The First Group corporate livery on the Class 158s will now be replaced by this new livery, which will not be changed in the event of a change of franchisee.
158863 joined the ScotRail fleet on loan from First Great Western on 9 December 2006. This unit carries standard Wessex Trains "Alphaline" livery.
As of 2008, the operations of the ScotRail 158s are very varied. Journeys range from short hops (such as Glasgow Queen Street to Anniesland) to Intercity services from Glasgow/Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness as well as the rural Far North and Kyle of Lochalsh lines. Routes out of Glasgow and Edinburgh are shared with Class 170 Turbostars and Class 156 SuperSprinters. Often a two car Class 158 can be seen running in a five car formation coupled to a three car Turbostar.
Several of the ScotRail units have had names attached - for example 158702 is named "BBC Scotland - 75 Years", 158707 is named "Far North Line - 125th Anniversary", 158715 is named "Haymarket" and 158720 is named "Inverness and Nairn Railway - 150 Years".