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.

143601 Up Hatherley 13 July 2019

Living on borrowed time! 'The journey is almost over for old trains' proclaims the wording on the side of 143601, seen here passing Up Hatherley on 13 July 2019, just a couple of minutes into its journey with the 2L59 13:45 Cheltenham Spa to Maesteg Transport for Wales service. The journey should have been over many years ago, as the Pacers were seen purely as a stop-gap solution, and were never designed to have a life of over 30 years.

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.

143602 Wansford 17 July 2022

The Nene Valley Railway's latest arrival stands in front of the shed at Wansford on 17 July 2022. Former Arriva Trains Wales 143602 arrived at the railway the previous year, becoming the sixth of the Class to be preserved. With the Class 769 units that Transport for Wales (Arriva's successor) now uses in place of the Pacers being massively less reliable than the 143s, I wonder if they would secretly like them back!

143604 Wellhouse Bay 28 June 2018

A Pacer sized gap in the bushes allows this almost aerial view of 143604, as it runs alongside the River Severn at Wellhouse Bay on 28 June 2018 with the 2L69 19:00 Gloucester to Maesteg Arriva Trains Wales service.

143604 Ley Court 18 September 2019

Soon to be history. 143604 passes over Ley Level Crossing, at Ley Court (between Grange Court and Oakle Street) with the 2G56 09:16 Maesteg to Cheltenham Spa Transport for Wales service on 18 September 2019. After 34 years of bouncing along, this is the Pacer's last summer.

143604 Ley Court 18 September 2019

143604 runs alongside the narrow country road at Ley Court (between Oakle Street and Grange Court) on 18 September 2019 with the 2G55 11:57 Cheltenham Spa to Cardiff Central Transport for Wales service. Churcham church can just be seen in the distance, immediately behind the unit.

143605 & 142082 Cadoxton 6 October 2019

143605 & 142082 passes through the rock cutting between Cadoxton and Barry Docks on 6 October 2019 with the Branch Line Society 'Ffarwelio Phacer Cymoedd Caerdydd' (Farewell to Cardiff Valley Pacers) railtour, which at this point was running as the 1Z41 08:20 Cardiff Central to Pontypridd. Descending sharply in the foreground is the freight line to Barry Docks, which at one time was a lot more important, as witnessed by the decaying remains of the bracket signal.

143605 & 142082 Radyr 6 October 2019

143605 & 142082 slowly pass non-stop through Radyr station on 6 October 2019 with the Branch Line Society 1Z41 08:20 Cardiff Central to Pontypridd 'Ffarwelio Phacer Cymoedd Caerdydd' (Farewell to Cardiff Valley Pacers) railtour. The normal route for trains heading for the Llandaff line would be through platform 1, but this being a Branch Line Society tour, it is doing things the difficult way, and has just used the crossover visible behind the train, to move over for some wrong line running through platform 2.

143605 & 142082 Taffs Well 6 October 2019

143605 & 142082 pass Taffs Well on 6 October 2019 with the Branch Line Society 1Z41 08:20 Cardiff Central to Pontypridd 'Ffarwelio Phacer Cymoedd Caerdydd' (Farewell to Cardiff Valley Pacers) railtour. It was largely cloudy when I arrived here, which would have been fine, but this was one occasion when the sun reappeared when it wasn't welcome!

143606 Heath Junction 19 December 1998

143606 heads south from Heath Junction on 19 December 1998 with the 13:02 Coryton to Maesteg service. Waiting in the background is 37429 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol with the 2F20 12:10 Rhymney to Cardiff Central service.

143606 & 143610 Rhymney 25 August 2013

A clutch of Arriva Trains Wales Pacers parked up at Rhymney on 25 August 2013. 143606 & 143610 are in the company of a pair of unidentified Class 142s. A couple of hang gliders can just be seen in the murky background.

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, 143606 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.

143607 Radyr 6 October 2019

Out of the dark, and into the light. 143607 just manages to keep ahead of the advancing clouds, as it approaches Radyr on 6 October 2019 with the 2Y12 09:53 Aberdare to Barry Island Transport for Wales service.

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.

143609 Caerphilly 7 February 2004

143609 Tom Jones arrives at Caerphilly on 7 February 2004 with the 12:48 Arriva Trains Wales service from Cardiff Bay. Of course with a name line Tom Jones, it should really be operating in the next valley, through Pontypridd! Coincidentally I had photographed this unit at this same location a few years earlier, in much better light, and in a better livery!

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 Quedgeley 16 December 2006

The use of a long lens makes the little Pacer unit look even shorter, as it passes Quedgeley on 16 December 2006 with the 09:29 Cheltenham Spa to Swindon service. 143612 is wearing the 'Visit Bristol' advertising livery.

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.

143614 Magor 14 March 1997

Is this a ploy to put off potential passengers, by displaying Depot on the destination blind? 143614 clearly isn't going to the depot, as it passes Magor on 14 March 1997, running exactly to time with the 1B32 15:10 Bristol Temple Meads to Cardiff Central service.

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.

143616 & 143601 Pontlottyn 5 July 2019

143616 & 143601 approach Pontlottyn on 5 July 2019 with the 2R18 16:02 Penarth to Rhymney Transport for Wales service. The wording on the side of the units reads: 'These Trains Will Terminate Soon', a reference to the impending elimination, due to new disability legislation, of all thee classes of Pacer unit.

143616 & 142069 Gilfach Fargoed 8 July 2019

143616 & 142069 approach Gilfach Fargoed station (just visible amid the trees) with the 2P87 17:27 Rhymney to Penarth Transport for Wales service on 8 July 2019. This is not one of the trains that calls at this diminutive stopping place. The reason for taking the going away shot, rather than the earlier approaching one, was the light was better, and the bushes aren't in the way!

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.

143620 Pilning 17 March 1994

With the village of Almondsbury visible on the hillside in the distance, 143620 descends towards the Severn Tunnel at Pilning on 17 March 1994 with the 2B78 13:45 Weston-super-Mare to Cardiff Central Regional Railways service.

143622 Severn Beach 29 April 1993

143622 arrives at the desolate former island platform at Severn Beach station on 29 April 1993 with the 17:33 service from Bristol Temple Meads. 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 Severn Beach 29 April 1993

143622 stands at Severn Beach station on 29 April 1993, prior to working the 18:27 service to Bristol Temple Meads. It had arrived a few minutes earlier with the 17:33 train from Temple Meads. On the right is the Severn Salmon pub, which was formerly the Severn Beach Hotel. This was a reminder that Severn Beach was an unlikely seaside (or at least Severn Estuary side!) resort in the 1920s, attracting daytrippers from nearby Bristol. Unfortunately the hotel was demolished in 2002 to make way for yet more housing estates.

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 18:27 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!

143623 Feeder Bridge Junction 10 April 1997

143623 passes Feeder Bridge Junction on 10 April 1997 with the 5A17 16:45 Bath Spa to Bristol Parkway ECS. The unit had arrived at Bath with the 2C36 16:26 Regional Railways service from Filton Abbey Wood, and once the empty stock had arrived at Bristol Parkway, it would form the 2A17 17:36 Bristol Parkway to Swindon (via Bath) service. It is seen here crossing over to take the sharply curved chord to Dr Days Junction. It seems that the Bristol rush hour traffic is building up along Feeder Road, although I bet it is a lot worse nowadays!

143623 Radyr 8 July 2019

143623 arrives at Radyr on 8 July 2019 with the 2Y49 12:52 Aberdare to Barry Island Transport for Wales service. With just a few months to go before the entire class is withdrawn, there is no chance that these Pacers will acquire their new operator's white colour scheme, and will finish their days in this obsolete Arriva Trains Wales livery.

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.

143624 & 143604 Cadoxton 6 October 2019

Running 16 minutes late, 143624 & 14604 are pictured between Cadoxton and Barry Docks on 6 October 2019 with the 2Y04 08:17 Treherbert to Barry Island Transport for Wales service. Apart from the lack of a headboard, and the fact that there were only about four people on the entire train, this looks very like the much more unusual railtour that passed by just a few minutes earlier.

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.