Written by: TrainSim-James
The Sprinting Genesis of regional travel, the Class 150/1, is available now for Train Simulator in stylish First Great Western form!
With the sectorisation, and eventual privatisation of British Rail looming in the early 1980s, it was decided that this new era in rail travel was most opportune. Much of the English, Welsh and Scottish rural routes were populated by 1960s-derived Heritage DMUs, with rattling interiors, clunky manual transmission, and worn down aesthetics to feature. Provincial, one of the three passenger sectors of BR, was to be in charge of the regional routes, and take on the Heritage fleet; it was decided to procure a second generation of DMUs, based on the Mk3 bodyshell which would serve the rails right into the 21st Century.
Despite the plan, many of the short-distanced routes were given the longest ‘motive stopgap’ of all time, the controversial, bus-based Pacer fleet. Thankfully however, the more fairly distanced journeys would receive traction of Mk3 origin, 2 prototypes for a brand new DMU were ordered, and BREL built them in 1984 ready for testing. The new series of DMUs was branded the Sprinter, and the prototypes were designated as Class 150.
150001 and 150002 were put through their paces, and it was decided that 001 was to be the basis for a production fleet. A total of 50 Sprinters were ordered for Provincial (later Regional Railways) use and were classified as the Class 150/1, the main difference being the lack of an intermediate car. These shorter units were mainly seen around Manchester and Birmingham in their sector years, but privatisation would soon lead to them reaching far beyond the original boundary.
First Great Western acquired a total of 18 Class 150/1s from London Overground & Central Trains, and put them to good use on West of England services out of Bristol. Today however, only 15 are in service, the remaining 3 having been combined with Class 150/2 cars to form longer 150/9s. All of the fleet, after arriving in an interesting selection of liveries, were given a fresh coat of FGW paint, brandishing the bold ‘Plain Blue’ scheme. Despite the rebrand from First Great Western to Great Western Railway, it is unlikely that the 150/1s will receive the green treatment, as they’re due to head back north in the future, replaced by the Turbo Networker fleet.
In all, the Class 150/1 is a true testament to late British engineering, the first in a wide series of units that would serve the whole country – from Portsmouth to Mallaig. The time has come for you to do some South Wales Sprinting as the Class 150/1 hass arrived for Train Simulator service!
Included in this add-on is the Class 150/1 in First Great Western ‘Plain Blue’ livery, both clean and weathered versions are provided. Career scenarios are included that see you run across the stunning South Wales Coastal: Bristol-Swansea route, and the Class 150/1 is also Quick Drive compatible.
The First Great Western Class 150/1 is available now, head to the Store for more details ■