Wessex Class 158/9 Fleet

Posted in Railways on Saturday 22nd January 2005 at 12:00am

First Great Western Class 158/9 Fleet - as at 08/11/2011

Having left this page around for historical purposes, it's interesting to note that once again FGW is beginning to form a number of three car Class 158 sets as part of it's refurbishment program. The first of these, 158950 was sighted at Bristol Temple Meads on 22/03/2008, prior to working it's first diagram.

Since November 2008, rumours circulatied within the industry as to the continued operation of these three car sets following FGW's need to review stock utilisation to meet timetable commitments. However the short-term retention of a combination of the Northern Class 142s and the Arriva 150/2s, along with the hire-in of two locomotive hauled sets operating a Cardiff-Taunton diagram from 15/12/2008 and a Cardiff-Paignton diagram from 14/12/2009 has ensured the sets continue to run.

08/11/2011: 158961 was noted in traffic on the 09:30 and 17:30 CDF-PMH departures, formed of 158767 with 52749. Additionally 158960 is reported to be formed from 57749 along with 158769.

25/02/2010: Some changes to the formation of 158956 and 158957 have resulted from the reformation of 158749 and the splitting of 158748. These are reflected in the table below.

24/05/2009: 158958 continues to be iformed of former 158776 along with 153380, although the unit is expected to be reformed correctly today.

23/05/2009: 158958 is in traffic as a two-car unit formed of 52776 and 57776. 153380 is forming the third car at present.

05/04/2008: 158952 and 953 were shown as formed from 158748, 750 and 762 but not yet in traffic. 158951 is now in service.

24/03/2008: 158951 was shown as formed below, but not yet in traffic.

29/03/2008: 158951 was reported seen in traffic.

03/05/2008: 158953 was seen in traffic.

15/05/2008: Three car units have appeared on 2D04 0732 TAU-BPW, which featured 158951, 954 and 956 during the week.

08/09/2008: 158957 worked 2C83 1600 CDF-TAU today, which has previously been worked by 2 Class 143 sets on the majority of occasions.

07/11/2008: 158/9s have been regular performers on 2C83 for around two months now, and appear to have improved timekeeping on this train, which FGW acknowledge is one of their worst performers.

21/11/2008: 158952 & 953 have been reformed to release both cars of 158748 (which worked 2C83 as a 2 car set today). They have been replaced by cars from 158745.

Current Formations

Currently, these units (numbered in the 15895x series) are formed as follows:


Historical updates from the former 15896x series are below.

First Great Western Class 158/9 Fleet - as at 16/12/2006

From December 2004, Wessex Trains began to reform some of its two car Class 158 DMUs into three car formations. These new units have been renumbered in the 15896x range. It was envisaged that ten of these units would be created, and that they would be dedicated to increasing seating capacity on the Cardiff-Portsmouth route. In reality, only eight of the units have been reformed, and the need to provide exams on schedule has meant parts of three car units needing to be detached at times. The units have also strayed from their originally intended area of operation, being seen in Cornwall and on Taunton-Great Malvern services. The availability of stock to create these units relied on a chain of other stock being cascaded from other operators, which continues to become more complex. Units 961-968 have been seen in operation.

There is currently some speculation as to the fate of the three car sets when First Group commence running the Wessex operation on 01/04/2006, particularly as a number of hired-in 158 sets go off-lease at this point leaving the operator short of suitable stock. Early indications are that only four three-car sets will be retained.

20/04/2005: 158965 was observed running as two cars (52817 and 57817) but retaining its numbering. It operated as a three car set on 04/12/2005 when it formed part of an eight car convoy with 158964 and 158860 on 2B70 Frome-Cardiff Central from Bristol TM.

09/12/2005: 158962 was observed running as two cars (52751 and 57751) but retaining its numbering.

25/03/2006: 158964 and 158965 were both observed running as two car sets (816 and 817 respectively), in extremely poor external condition.

01/04/2006: 158962 was also noted in two car form.

11/12/2006: Following the Winter Timetable change First Great Western began returning the three-car sets to two car formations. 158962-965 have so far been dismantled, returning 158748,749,751,815,816 and 817 to traffic - although a number of these units are recorded as stored.

The units are formed as follows:


Corrections and updates to the above are welcome!


I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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