British Rail Class 153

British Rail Class 153 "Sprinter"
Class 153, no. 153335 'Michael Palin' at Cambridge on 11th July 2003.
In service1991/2 - present
ManufacturerLeyland Motors
Family nameSprinter
RefurbishmentConverted by Hunslett-Barclay at Kilmarnock from Class 155
Number built70 (35 as Class 155s)
Formation1 car
Operator(s)Arriva Trains Wales
East Midlands Trains
First Great Western
London Midland
National Express East Anglia
Northern Rail
Line(s) servedMany including Bletchley-Bedford, Nuneaton-Coventry, Birmingham-Walsall-Rugeley Trent Valley (in multiple with Class 170), Nottingham-Matlock, Heart of Wales Line, Truro-Falmouth
Car length23.2 metres
Width2.7 metres
Maximum speed75mph
Weight41.2 tonnes
Prime mover(s)Cummins NT855R5 of 213kW (285h.p.) at 2100 rpm
Safety system(s)AWS, TPWS
Coupling systemBSI Compact
Track gauge1435 mm (4 ft 8½ in)
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File:153373 at Plymouth.JPG
153373 at Plymouth on 29th August 2003.
153302 at Bristol Temple Meads on 28th June 2005.
File:153304 at Doncaster.JPG
153304 at Doncaster on 27th July 2003.
153323 at Betws-y-coed on 10th April 2007.
File:153373 interior.JPG
Interior of a Class 153
Driving cab of a Class 153

The British Rail Class 153 "Sprinter" is a single-car diesel multiple unit train.

In the early 1990s, British Rail took the decision that running 2-car trains on rural routes was inefficient, and identified the need for single-carriage trains. Initially consideration was given to splitting the Met-Cam Class 156 units to form class 152 units, however due to various problems with the Class 155 units, the decision was taken to split these units instead.

Work was undertaken by Leyland Bus 1988 to 1989 at their Workington Dockside plant [1] The modifications included fitting a cramped cab to the B end of each carriage, making it extremely difficult to load a bicycle.


  1. Porterbrook Leasing Class 153 Data Sheet