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The British Rail Class 156 Super Sprinter is a diesel multiple unit (DMU). A hundred and fourteen of these units were built from 1987-89 by Metro-Cammell (now owned by Alstom) at their Washwood Heath Works in Birmingham.

They were built to replace elderly First Generation “Heritage” DMUs and locomotive-hauled passenger trains. Compared to a loco-hauled train, a modern DMU was cheaper to operate, caused less wear to the track and could reduce journey times.

The design of the Class 156 was more conservative then Metro Cammell’s earlier Class 151 design, the body shell was made of steel instead of aluminium, and the cab design was deliberately similar to the BREL Class 150 to ease union acceptance.

These units were all built as two-car sets, numbered 156401-514. Each unit was formed of two driving motors, one of which contained a lavatory. Individual carriage numbered as follows:

52401-52514 – Driving Motor Standard (DMS) – contain an area for storing wheelchairs, bicycles etc. 57401-57514 – Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)

The vehicles are powered by 6-cylinder Cummins NT855-R5 diesel engines through Voith T211r hydraulic automatic transmission and Gmeinder final drive units. Although speeds of up to 90mph (140km/h) have been observed on level track, the units have a top speed of 75mph (121km/h) in

regular service.

The first 100 units were all ordered by the Provincial sector of British Rail, and therefore carried the sector's livery of blue and beige with light blue stripe. Twenty units, numbers 156401-419/422 based at Tyseley depot, were later repainted into Regional Railways Express livery after the rebranding of


The last fourteen units, numbers 156501-514 were ordered by Strathclyde PTE, and carried a distinctive orange black livery. This was later replaced by an attractive carmine and cream livery, reminiscent of the 1950s livery carried by Mk.1 coaching stock.

Maximum speed: 75 mph (121 km/h)

Weight DMS: 35.5 t

Weight DMSL: 36.1 t

Engine(s): 213 kW (286 hp) Cummins NT855-R5 Diesel (1 per car)

Transmission: Voith Hydraulic T211r (2 axles driven per car)

Coupling system: BSI

Northern in the South

First Great Western is currently suffering from a lack of Class 165 DMUs due to refurbishment. Northern Rail has hired out two of their Class 156 DMUs for use on the Oxford to Reading section of the line. Your task is to work the two units on an Oxford to Reading stopping service, calling all stops en route. It's wet and windy, so you must perform each stop at your best to finish at Reading on time.


Norwich Knowledge

Due to a new service starting later in the year, ONE Railway have begun operating a drivers route learning trip between Norwich Crown Point and Slough using a Class 156 DMU. Today you shall start on the Willesden Branch and head onto the GWML to Slough.


Where should they go?

The Class 156 DMU is being trailed on the Great Western Mainline leading up to the privatisation of the railway. You are joining the peak day express service from Slough into Paddington. You are then

required to complete some shunt moves into the yard.


Sprinting the ECML

It’s 1990 and the Class 156 DMU has been in service for a number of years. Regional Railways has a service running between Darlington and York, stopping at all stations and this particular timetable is still being tested to see how efficiently the Class 156 can run.



Take your train from Oxford to Paddington under the midnight moon light. You are the last eastbound train of the night.


Shunt move

A Class 156 DMU has just arrived into Hedborough station and this unit has been scheduled for maintenance work. Your task is to complete the shunt move into the depot.


Fault Testing

A brand-new Class 156 DMU “Super Sprinter” is on a test run at the German TestTrak. You are required today to assist with its development by driving the unit under different conditions.


Class 156 Driving Tutorial

Take the challenge and learn how to drive the Class 156 DMU.

Very Hard/20mins

Routes Featuring the Class 156 DMU

Oxford to Paddington

Newcastle to York

Hedborough North

Test TraK