Class 143

143601 Defford 10 August 1995

The first Alexander / Hunslet Barclay Class 143 entered service in August 1985, but it was exactly a decade later before I first photographed the prototype unit, 143601. This was mainly because the class were initially allocated to the North East area, only coming to the Western Region in the early 1990s. 143601 is pictured here passing Defford on 10 August 1995 with the 18:20 Worcester Shrub Hill to Swindon Regional Railways service.

146602 Hallen Marsh Junction 25 June 1993

143602 passes Hallen Marsh Junction on 25 June 1993 with the 09:47 Severn Beach to Bristol Temple Meads Regional Railways service. Considerable track rationalisation had just taken place here, with most of the former connections between the freight lines, and the Severn Beach route removed.

143606 Honeybourne 29 July 2017

143606 passes Network Rail's buddleia nature reserve at Honeybourne on 29 July 2017, as it works the 5D94 08:30 Cardiff Canton to Long Marston ECS. I wasn't entirely surprised to be on my own here, as despite the novelty of an Arriva Class 143 on the Cotswold Line (a first in fact), most photographers still ignore DMUs. This is the first run of a modification contract, and so was definitely worth recording, despite the grim weather. Despite keeping an eye on its early running, I had only just arrived here, after deciding to leave home when it passed Cheltenham 68 minutes early. It was now running a staggering 102 minutes early!

143606 Honeybourne 29 July 2017

143606 passes underneath the road bridge at Honeybourne on 29 July 2017 with the 5D94 08:30 Cardiff Canton to Long Marston ECS. Note the highly appropriate 'Sorry Not In Service' being displayed on the destination blind. This view also shows the truncated remains of the former bay platform line, disconnected from the other line during the recent track upgrade.

143606 Long Marston 29 July 2017

143606 arrives at Long Marston on 29 July 2017 with the very early running 5D94 08:30 Cardiff Canton to Long Marston ECS. This is the first visit of a Pacer unit to Long Marston, but now to be a monthly occurrence, as part of a contract for modification work to be carried out.

143606 Long Marston 29 July 2017

After arriving at Long Marston 108 minutes early with the 5D94 08:30 Cardiff Canton to Long Marston ECS on 29 July 2017, the unit changes direction and commences to run round the complex's perimeter line, while a worker closes the gates behind it. Behind the unit is a rake of bogie oil tankers that was booked to leave the depot later in the day as the 6E66 17:14 Long Marston to Peterborough, behind a GBRf Class 66, but in the event did not run.

143609 Caerphilly 21 October 1995

A fine autumnal afternoon at Caerphilly on 21 October 1995. 143609 arrives with the 15:48 Regional Railways service from Cardiff Bay. It has just used the crossover in the background in order to access platform 1. This last few yards of 'wrong line' working allows it to depart from the correct platform with return working - the 16:25 back to Cardiff Bay.

143611 Patchway 29 April 1993

A picture where the background is as interesting as the foreground! A varied selection of vehicles is parked in the Patchway yard of Durbin's Coaches, as 143611 passes by with the 14:22 Bath to Cardiff Central Regional Railways service on 29 April 1993. Durbin's Coaches had been set up in 1982, but a year after this picture was taken it was sold to Badgerline. The two appropriately named 'Orange Bus' school buses certainly stand out!

143612 Pilning 7 August 2005

A cavalcade of Class 143s at Pilning on 7 August 2005. Three units, led by 143612 rattle though the station with what is presumably an ECS working from Cardiff, and not necessarily going to Gloucester either! In the background, 66044 descends towards the Severn Tunnel.

143612 Chittening Warth 25 September 2010

143612 passes over one of the small underbridges at Chittening Warth on 25 September 2010 with the 2K25 13:54 Severn Beach to Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western service. The new Severn Bridge approach viaduct can be seen on the left. Unfortunately it has been a long time since anything other than the hourly unit operated service working on this line (the odd railtour and test train excepted). However, at one time a regular freight flow operated to the nearby ICI Severnside plant.

143614 Lydney 23 April 1994

143614 approaches Lydney station on 23 April 1994 with the 09:37 Gloucester to Cardiff Central Regional Railways service. In the background, 37402 Bont-y-Bermo waits to use the crossover and then follow the unit with the Monmouthshire Railway Society 'Gwaun-cae-Gurwen Growler II' railtour.

143615 Cogan 19 April 1997

143615 rounds the sharp curve on the approach to Cogan station with the 13:30 Treherbert to Barry Island Cardiff Railway service on 19 April 1997. The A4055 road bridge spanning the Ely River dominates the background. Cogan Junction is just round the corner to the left, and the single track branch to Penarth can be seen just behind the train. 143615 sustained severe fire damage in 2005 and was cut up at Cardiff the following year.

143616 Gilfach 24 April 2004

143616 passes Gilfach, as it descends the Rhymney Valley on 24 April 2004 with the 10:42 Bargoed to Penarth Arriva Trains Wales service. Even without the coal mining landscape of yesteryear, this is still very typically a South Wales scene, with the rows of terraced houses climbing up the valley.

143617 Twerton 22 July 1995

143617 has just emerged from Twerton Tunnel (very nearly completely hidden by bushes) on 22 July 1995, as it heads towards its next stop at Bristol Temple Meads with the 15:40 Warminster to Abergavenny Regional Railways service. A bizarre choice of starting point and destination, which makes you wonder if anyone has ever made the complete journey!

143617 Yatton 30 June 2001

143617 calls at Yatton station on 30 June 2001 with the 09:37 Taunton to Bristol Temple Meads Wales & West service. Yatton was once the junction for the Clevedon branch and the cross country line to Wells and Shepton Mallet. As can be seen here, a surprising amount of steam age buildings and fittings still survives, although the footbridge does look a little strange without its roof.

143617 Malago Vale 8 May 2004

143617 heads south past Malago Vale in the drizzle on 8 May 2004 with the 09:12 Bristol Parkway to Weston-super-Mare First Great Western service. This is the bottom end of FGW's pecking order of rolling stock, with of course the HST sets being at the top!

143618 Flax Bourton 11 August 2007

143618 passes Flax Bourton on 11 August 2007 with the 14:02 Bristol Parkway to Weston-super-Mare First Great Western service. Largely hidden behind the bushes in the background is the once rail served oil depot, the headshunt for which can just be seen under the farm occupation bridge in the distance.

143619 Llandevenny 17 July 2002

143619 shows off its 'Visit Bristol' advertising vinyls as it scuttles past Llandevenny with the 10:00 Cardiff Central to Bristol Temple Meads Wales & Borders Trains service on 17 July 2002. The line in the background is the up relief line which has just crossed over the main lines via the Bishton Flyover.

143620 Hallen Marsh Junction 25 June 1993

143620 approaches Hallen Marsh Junction on 25 June 1993 with the 11:05 Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach Regional Railways service. In true DMU fashion it is showing 'Bristol Temple Meads' in the destination blind! The fresh ballast is part of the route upgrading in connection with the then new bulk handling terminal at nearby Avonmouth.

143622 Severn Beach 29 April 1993

143622 arrives at the desolate former island platform at Severn Beach station on 29 April 1993 with the 18:02 service from Weston-super-Mare. Severn Beach was formerly a through station, with the line continuing on to join the Great Western Mainline at Pilning, after first crossing over the eastern portal of the Severn Tunnel. Through services to Pilning ended in 1964, with the line being removed several years later. Since then Severn Beach has been a terminus, although with all the station buildings demolished, this view shows the entire rail facilities!

143622 St Andrews Road 29 April 1993

143622 passes through St Andrews Road station in the very last of the fading evening light on 29 April 1993 with the 19:19 Severn Beach to Bristol Temple Meads service. On the right are the new tracks of the partly completed Avonmouth coal handling facility, primarily built to handle trainloads of imported coal destined for Didcot Power Station.

143622 Freshford 28 July 1999

143622 gets under way from Freshford station (just to the left of the picture) on 28 July 1999 with the 18:07 Weston-super-Mare to Castle Cary Wales & West service. Note that the former 'Regional Railways' wording has been replaced by small 'Wales & West' stickers.

143622 Stonehouse (Bristol Road) 1 June 2002

'Visit Bristol' liveried 143622 passes the site of Stonehouse (Bristol Road) station on 1 June 2002 with the 06:03 Salisbury to Gloucester Wales & Borders service. Note the way that the advertising has even extended to the windows, with the ventilators covered in writing.

143623 Avonmouth 25 September 1993

Nice evening lighting at Avonmouth on 25 September 1993 as 143623 arrives with the 16:58 Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach Regional Railways service. The M5 River Avon bridge can be seen in the background. Yet again, in typical DMU fashion the destination blind is displaying where the train has come from rather than where it is going to!

143624 Rangeworthy 8 May 1995

143624 bounces along past Rangeworthy on 8 May 1995 with the late running 07:28 Bristol Temple Meads to Gloucester Regional Railways service. Note that the last two digits of the unit number have been reapplied in a larger size. Quite why this is I'm not sure, as the unit doesn't appear to have been reformed, which is the usual reason for such mismatched numbers.

143624 Coedkernew 18 August 1995

143624 scurries along the former Great Western Mainline at Coedkernew on 18 August 1995 with the 13:18 Bristol Temple Meads to Cardiff Central Regional Railways service. I always thought that this two tone blue and white colour scheme was very stylish, and is certainly the best livery to be applied to these buses in rails.

143625 Up Hatherley 20 October 2016

The new Arriva Trains Wales livery has certainly smartened up the appearance of their Class 143 fleet, although I can't help thinking that the white roof may not be a good idea. 143625 has clearly only just re-entered service, and the white roof has only the merest suggestion of exhaust contamination. However, previous experience of light roofs on railway vehicles show that they soon look anything but white! Ex-works 143625 is pictured passing Up Hatherley on 20 October 2016, just getting into its stride with the 2L59 13:52 Cheltenham Spa to Maesteg service.