Class 153

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Class 153 units are single-car DMUs built 1987-88 by Leyland as 2-car class 155s and converted by Hunslet-Barclay (at Kilmarnock, 1991-92) by adding a 2nd driving cab to each vehicle.
Test run at Connel Ferry on 13/06/21. 153380 leading 156458. Photo by colin


ScotRail introduced class 153s modified to carry extra bicycles and luggage onto West Highland line services between Glasgow and Oban (working with 156s in July 2021. They have been dubbed 'Active Travel Carriages', and marketed as ScotRail Highland Explorer.

Each modified 153 has 24 seats (20 around tables and four airline-style), with the rest of the vehicle able to carry up to 20 cycles via custom-designed racks, sporting equipment, and large items of luggage. There are spaces for tandem cycles as well as an e-bike charging socket - a first for a UK train.

The units received a full interior and exterior refresh including installation of free WiFi, at seat power sockets and a refurbished toilet with controlled emission toilet (CET) tank.

Three former GWR Class 153s arrived at Brodie Rail's Kilmarnock Bonnyton Depot, early in 2019 after several months in use with Northern Rail.
  • 153377 (57377) GWR green (arrived 03/01/19)
  • 153370 (57370) GWR green (arrived 31/01/19)
  • 153305 (52305) Pale grey (arrived 28/02/19)
A further two ex-GWR units moved to Kilmarnock from Northern Rail in August 2020.
  • 153373 (57373) GWR green (arrived 03/08/20)
  • 153380 (57380) GWR green (arrived 03/08/20)

  • The first 3 units completed moved from Kilmarnock to Corkerhill Depot on 13th April 2021.
  • The final two units had moved to Corkerhill by Friday 4th June.
  • On Sunday 6th June, 153373/377/380 moved to Eastfield depot.
  • From Monday 7th, 153373 + 153380 began driver training runs between Eastfield, Anniesland and Glasgow Queen St.
  • On Sunday 13th June 153380 (with 156458) made a test run on the West Highland line as 3T90 09:02 Eastfield H.S. to Oban, and 3T91 return, checking the platform interface at all station stops.
  • Sunday 20th June 2021 saw a five car formation 153380 + 153373 + 153377 + 156492 run as 3T90 from Eastfield depot to Oban, returning as 3T91.

  • Introduction to passenger service took place on Monday 19/07/2021, with 1Y20 05:21 Oban to Glasgow Queen St High Level formed of 156458 and 153377 coupled on the rear. This pairing then worked 1Y25 10:34 Glasgow - Oban and 1Y26 14:41 Oban - Glasgow. The afternoon 1Y29 16:36 Glasgow - Oban was formed of 153373+156499.
  • Normal operation is the class 153 with 'bike end' leading to Oban, and on rear to Glasgow.

  • On Sunday 22 January 2023, a pair of 153s, 153305+153308 (Photo) ran as 5Z90 from Eastfield to Fort William, to commence driver training at the latter location. Some training runs south to Tulloch were made later in the week.
  • On Tuesday 11th April 2023 153370 ran from Glasgow to Fort William in passenger service.
  • On Sunday 16th April, an afternoon test run from Fort William to Mallaig and return was operated by 153380 + 156457.
  • Wednesday 19th April - the first Class 153 in passenger service to Mallaig, was 153373 (with 156500), on the 18:23 service from Glasgow Queen Street. Unfortunately the following morning's 06:03 service from Mallaig was terminated at Fort William. The Thursday evening/Friday morning Mallaig trains ran as planned.

Two Class 153s 153380 & 153373 sit in the Yard at Brodies Photo by JimGillies

Previous use in Scotland

During the early 1990s Class 153s (from Newton Heath or Heaton) were used on Carlisle - Dumfries services.

On a several occasions between 2001-2003 class 153s appeared on the daily 1S53 Leeds - Glasgow Central (via Settle & Beattock) services substituting for the booked class 158.
The first 153 on 1S53/1E23 was paired with a 156 (153301+156486, believed to be January 2001). Other sightings noted were:

Works Visits.

Some accident damaged Class 153s were repaired by RailCare at Glasgow Works, but are believed to have been transferred by road.
Several Northern Rail class 153s visited Brodie Rail's Kilmarnock depot for repairs during 2012/2013:
  • 153317 present during Autumn 2012 (possibly arrived and departed by road)
  • 153316 arrived with 150135 as 5Z50 on 30/11/12. Departed by road on 09/05/13
  • 153359 Neville Hill - Kilmarnock (via Beattock) on 17/07/2013 but South by Road on 26/9/2013.
  • 153358 arriving on 03/11/13, returning to Neville Hill on 23/12/13.

See also...

See also...

Internal Links

Class 153 Diagrams SX
Class 153 Diagrams Weekend

External Links

Dumfries in 1993.