The Anonymous Widower

Porterbrook Targets OffLease DMU Class 153s As ‘Capacity-Busters’

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

I wrote about my visit to the new Kenilworth station in Kenilworth Station – 1st May 2018.

I travelled between Coventry and Kenilworth stations in a well-turned out Class 153 train.

The pictures show it is no scrapyard special.

As the article says, Porterbrook own thirteen of these trains and they are looking at ways of using them profitably for a few more years.

The article suggests these uses.

  • Reforming them as two-car Class 155 trains, which is how they were built.
  • Inserting them into other DMUs.
  • Converting them to luggage/cycle-carrying vehicles.

When I was at Oxenholme Lake District station on Monday, a Class 153 train, was being used to convert two-car Class 156 train into a three-car train, to increase capacity on the Windermere Branch Line.

Many of the Class 153 trains are due to be replaced in the next few years and as there are seventy in total, there will need to be a lot of good ideas.

Route Development

For a start, there is the job the single Class 153 train is doing at Kenilworth, which is route testing and development.

  • Drivers are being trained on the route.
  • Systems are being tested.
  • Passengers have a train service, they can use.

On the Kenilworth route, it doesn’t matter if it is too small a train, as in a couple of months a ten-year-old Class 172 train should be available to double the capacity.

Stand-In Trains

East Anglia has a problem with trains being severely damaged in level-crossing accidents.

Pairs of Class 153 trains could be used as stand-in trains on many branch lines.

Network Rail Uses

Don’t underestimate the uses that Network Rail will find for the trains!


I think that some of the uses will  e very innovative.


May 8, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | ,


  1. I like the idea of them being used for carrying bicycles. I’ve not taken my bike on the train for years, but this is partly because it is not made easy at all. Anything to improve this would be welcome!

    Comment by Matthew Goode | May 9, 2018 | Reply

  2. At Oxenholome Lake District on Monday, the three-car train consisting of a Class 156 and a Class 153 could be driven from either end, as if it had been built as a three-car train. All the seats were needed, but I can imagine on some routes to coastal resorts, a similar setup being used, with the Class 153 arranged as a bicycle and pram/buggy carrier, with perhaps twenty seats.

    Comment by AnonW | May 9, 2018 | Reply

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