British Rail Class 159

British Rail Class 159

DMU Less

British Rail Class 159

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The British Rail Class 159 is a class of diesel multiple unit of the Sprinter family, built in 1989 - 1992 by BREL at the Derby Carriage and Wagon Works as Class 158. Before entering traffic, the original 22 units were modified at Rosyth Dockyard to Class 159.

The class are known and were originally branded by Network SouthEast as South Western Turbo

History and design

thumb|left|A Class 159 in the 2000 version of SWT Mainline liveryIn the late 1980s, the locomotive hauled stock on Network SouthEast's West of England route from London Waterloo to Salisbury, Yeovil and Exeter was in urgent need of replacement. The Class 50s were not suited to the stop-start nature of the route, and frequently broke down. Combined with the long sections of single track west of Salisbury a single breakdown could cause chaos. Various options were considered including electrification, shortened HSTs, construction of new locomotives and stock (a passenger version of the proposed Class 48), or the proposed Class 171 (an intercity version of the Class 165 - not to be confused with the later Turbostars). A study found the best options were electrification or new DMUs.

With the economy in decline in the early 1990s it was found that Regional Railways had...
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