Class 159

159001 Worting Junction 16 July 2001

159001 leads two classmates (the last of which is still in Network SouthEast livery) past Worting Junction on 16 July 2001 with the 05:39 Yeovil Junction to Waterloo South West Trains service. Although numerically the first member of the class, 159001 was not the first to enter traffic, as 159004 had that honour. The Class 159s were originally built as Class 158s, and then upgraded for the West of England route, which included the addition of first class seating. Ironically for a class that was destined to work in the south of England, this work was carried out at Rosyth, in Scotland.

159002 Romsey 19 August 1992

What looks like a brand new Class 159 passes through Romsey station on 19 August 1992 with a Portsmouth to Salisbury crew training run. Note that the unit is not yet carrying any set number on the front. This is a clue to the fact that this is a Class 159 prior to conversion from a Class 158. It would later become 159002, but at this time it was still technically a Class 158 (158874). The unit would shortly be travelling to Scotland for conversion to Class 159 specifications at Rosyth Dockyard.

159002 & 159012 Salisbury 12 December 1993

A pair of Class 159s pictured in the rain at Salisbury station on 12 December 1993. 159002 is clearly displaying Portsmouth Harbour in the destination blind, but this does not match up with any train in the timetable. Is it a Sunday replacement for the 07:45 Cardiff to Portsmouth, starting from Salisbury due to Sunday engineering works? Any information would be gratefully received. 159012 is working the 09:38 Yeovil Junction to Waterloo Network SouthEast service.

159002 Churchdown 5 July 2019

Heading north for a repaint into South Western Railway's latest grey colour scheme, 159002 passes Churchdown on 5 July 2019 with the 5M99 08:00 Salisbury to Loughborough Brush ECS. The Class 159s may be unusual at this location, but the very similar Class 158s in this livery have been commonplace, as hired in traction for First Great Western.

159003 Oborne 26 March 1994

159003 round the curve at Oborne (on the approach to Sherborne) with the 08:35 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service on 26 March 1994. Although the NSE livery now makes this picture historic, I certainly didn't travel down to the west country for a 159 unit, but was at this location for the '50 Terminator' railtour.

159003 Lower Wyke 22 May 2010

A location that unfortunately was not very good for photography in the early 1990s, during the last days of the Class 50s on the West of England line, was the deep cutting at Lower Wyke (near Andover). However, a massive tree clearance operation has opened up the view, but of course now the only thing to photograph is the procession of Class 159 units. So here is one (159003) passing the site with the 1L34 10:45 Salisbury to Waterloo South West Trains service on 22 May 2010.

159004 Ashchurch 9 August 2014

159004 is well away from its home territory, as it approaches Ashchurch on 9 August 2014 with the 1O99 10:46 Great Malvern to Brighton First Great Western service. FGW have been hiring in South West Trains 158s for a number of years, but the Summer 2014 timetable sees this working, and the inward 2E17 07:23 Warminster to Great Malvern train worked by 159s, bringing a new variety of traction to the Cheltenham area.

159005 Standish Junction 24 July 2018

Looking very smart in its freshly applied South Western Railway livery, 159005 passes Standish Junction on 24 July 2018 with the 5O86 09:30 Loughborough Brush Works to Yeovil Junction ECS, which in the event was terminated at Bristol Temple Meads.

159006 Uffington 25 September 2018

Sporting a small 'Rail Operations Group' headboard, 159006 passes Uffington on 25 September 2018 with the 5M99 09:14 Salisbury to Loughborough ECS. This is heading for refurbishment at the Brush Falcon Works, and will emerge in the new South Western Railway livery. This is the first time that I have seen a Class 159 on the Swindon to Didcot line.

159007 & 159018 Wimbledon 29 May 1994

159007 & 159018 approach Wimbledon on 29 May 1994 with the 07:34 Yeovil Junction to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. These units had taken over from Class 47s the previous year, the 47s having in their turn replaced the Class 50s on the route.

159008 & 3489 Potbridge 30 December 1994

Diesel passes electric in the rain at Potbridge on 30 December 1994. 159008 with an unidentified classmate head west with the 09:35 Gillingham Network SouthEast service, while Class 423 4-VEP 3489 brings up the rear of the 10:05 Basingstoke to Waterloo train. With the frequency of trains on this stretch of line this kind of passing shot is fairly easy to obtain, although in this case the timing is spot on. However, what makes this noteworthy is that 3489 is incorrectly showing a white light on the rear of the train, almost giving the impression, at first sight, that both trains are travelling in the same direction!

159009 Southampton 2 December 1998

159009 approaches Southampton on 2 December 1998 with the 11:15 Salisbury to Waterloo South West Trains service. It is passing underneath the footbridge that links Saxon Road with the footpath that runs alongside the nearby A33 dual carriageway.

159009 Little Langford 30 November 2013

159009 passes Little Langford's diminutive church on 30 November 2013, as it heads down the Wylye Valley with the 1O32 08:51 Bristol Temple Meads to Waterloo South West Trains service. Apart from the church, Little Langford consists of nothing more than a large farm, and a few cottages.

159010 & 159019 Potbridge 2 January 2010

159010 & 159019 speed past Potbridge on 2 January 2010 with the 13:20 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids South West Trains service. Nearly two decades before I was photographing Class 50s on these trains, but I don't ever remember seeing a woman train driver in those days!

159010 & 159006 Potbridge 11 July 2022

159010 & 159006 pass Potbridge on 11 July 2022 with the 1L41 14:20 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids South Western Railway service. Unfortunately this train was terminated at Crewkerne due to signalling problems.

159011 Andover 15 May 1994

159011 leads an unidentified classmate out of Andover station on Sunday 15 May 1994. Even after extensive research, I have been unable to identity this working. It is not, as you might suppose, an ordinary Network SouthEast passenger working. The Exeter train had departed half an hour earlier, and nothing else was due. Clearly some kind of special working, which is confirmed by 'Special' being displayed in the destination blind. However, due to the general lack of reporting of anything that isn't loco hauled, I can find no record of this. Information anyone?

159012 Abbotswood 24 January 2019

Freshly painted 159012 passes Abbotswood on 24 January 2019 with the 5O86 09:48 Loughborough Brush Works to Salisbury ECS. The unit had just been painted into South Western Railway's new colours. Despite the poor light, I thought a picture of an ex-works Class 159 in Worcestershire, well away from its home territory, was well worth the effort.

159012, 159014 & 159001 Worting Junction 17 May 2023

159012, 159014 & 159001 pass Worting Junction on 17 May 2023 with the 1L20 05:10 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo South Western Railway service. Only 159001 has made the whole journey, with the other two units being added at Salisbury.

159014 Worting Junction 14 May 2016

159014 passes Worting Junction on 14 May 2016 with the 1L22 06:19 Honiton to Waterloo South West Trains service. This short train gives a clear view of the flying junction in the background, where the Salisbury and Southampton lines diverge.

159015 Crewkerne 8 October 1994

Once the Class 50s were withdrawn from the West of England line in 1992, my once frequent visits to the route virtually stopped overnight. However, I did call in at Crewkerne on 8 October 1994 and saw 159015 arrive with the 12:35 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. The signal box and goods shed in the background are no longer in railway use, but the impressive 1859 built London & South Western Railway station building is assured a secure future as it is grade 2 listed.

159015 & 159001 Potbridge 2 December 1998

159015 & 159001 pass Potbridge on 2 December 1998 with the 12:35 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids South West Trains service. Considering this is early December, there is still a surprising quantity of autumn leaves on the trees in the background, which certainly improves the picture.

159016 Salisbury 18 July 1993

Salisbury Cathedral's 404 feet tall spire dominates the background, as 159016 leaves the city on 18 July 1993 with the 2V07 08:25 Basingstoke to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service. This was the first westbound train of the day on a Sunday at this time.

159016 Redbridge 23 December 2001

With frost still lying on the sleepers, despite the sunshine, 159016 rounds the curve from the Romsey line a Redbridge on 23 December 2001 with the diverted 09:00 Honiton to Waterloo South West Trains service.

159016 & 159104 Potbridge 5 December 2007

I arrived at Potbridge (between Woking and Basingstoke) on 5 December 2007 just as the rain was clearing, so quickly grabbed this picture from the north side of the line before the sun came out. The rain clouds are still visible in the background as 159016 & 159104 speed by with the 10:50 Waterloo to Salisbury South West Trains service.

159016 & 159018 Lower Wyke 22 May 2010

159016 & 159018 pass Lower Wyke on 22 May 2010 with the 09:26 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo South West Trains service. The tree stumps visible in the foreground gives an idea of the amount of vegetation clearance at this location, which has opened up the view of this lengthy chalk cutting in both directions.

159016 & 159017 Potbridge 11 November 2016

Consecutively numbered 159016 & 159017 pass Potbridge on 11 November 2016 with the 1L28 07:25 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo South West Trains service. I much prefer the traction that was on offer at this location a quarter of a century earlier!

159017 Hook 17 July 1993

159017 approaches Hook on 17 July 1993 with the 09:32 Yeovil Junction to Waterloo service. In view of the amount of white on these DMUs, it's a good job that Network SouthEast seemed to spend a lot of effort keeping them clean. Perhaps it was because they had only just acquired them, rather like the amount of time you spend washing a new car after you've just bought it!

159017 Little Langford 5 October 2016

159017 passes Little Langford on 5 October 2016 with the 1V33 13:52 Salisbury to Bristol Temple Meads South West Trains service. This did entail standing in the middle of the road, in order to include the farmhouse sign and rustic fence in the picture. Luckily this is a very quiet road, with hardly any traffic!

159018 Potbridge 5 December 2007

159018 passes Potbridge (near Hook) on 5 December 2007 with the 11:20 Waterloo to Yeovil Junction South West Trains service. The bridge in the background, which carries the minor road between Potbridge and Murrel Green, still has evidence of Second World War defences in the form of concrete 'dragon's teeth' beside the road.

159018 Potbridge 8 March 2020

Running 15 minutes late, 159018 passes Potbridge on 8 March 2020 with the 1L24 08:45 Andover to Waterloo South Western Railway service. By early 2020 most of SWR's DMUs had received this new livery, but far fewer EMUs carry the new colour scheme.

159020 St James Park 10 July 1993

Still in commendably clean condition, 159020 races through St James Park station, on the outskirts of Exeter with the on 10:12 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids Network SouthEast service on 10 July 1993. 159020 had been in service less than a year when this picture was taken. The class having taken over from Class 47s & 50s on this former Southern Railway route.

159020 New Malden 4 March 1995

159020 and an unforfortuntley unidentified classmate pass New Malden on 4 March 1995 with the 06:50 Honiton to Waterloo Network SouthEast service. In the background, a Class 455 EMU is about to call at New Malden station with the 09:17 Waterloo to Waterloo (via Strawberry Hill) train.

159021 Potbridge 3 February 2007

159021 passes the Second World War pillboxes at Potbridge on 3 February 2007 as it heads west with the 12:50 Waterloo to Salisbury South West Trains service. This was obviously a key point in the defence of the country during the war, as not only are there abundant pillboxes (there is another in the field on the left), but there are several 'dragons teeth' tank traps next to the road.

159101 & 159108 Worting Junction 14 May 2016

159101 & 159108 pass Worting Junction on 14 May 2016 with the 1L26 06:41 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo South West Trains service. These units have now served this route for much longer than any of the previous forms of diesel traction on the line.

159102 Shapley Heath 1 January 2011

159102 passes underneath the M3 motorway at Shapley Heath on 1 January 2011, as it leads the 1L25 10:20 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids SouthWest Trains service towards its next stop at Basingstoke. Winchfield station is situated just beyond the brick arched bridge in the background.

159103 Grateley 21 March 2009

159103 approaches Grateley on 21 March 2009 with the 10:45 Salisbury to Waterloo South West Trains service. This was one of my favourite spots to photograph Class 50s in their final years on the route and I was quite surprised that the location is still fine for photography, as many other locations on the line have become hopelessly overgrown in the intervening years. 

159104 Heytesbury 16 July 2018

159104 passes Heytesbury on 16 July 2018 with the 1O60 15:51 Bristol Temple Meads to Waterloo South Western Railway service. The hill in the background is Scratchbury Hill, famous for its Iron Age hillfort, which can be clearly seen in this view.

159105 & 159003 Worting Junction 17 May 2023

Class 159s in old and new South Western Railway livery at Worting Junction on 17 May 2023. 159105 & 159003 heads towards London with the 1L22 06:20 Honiton to Basingstoke service. 159003 had worked the train solo until Salisbury, where 159105 was added.

159106 & 159009 Potbridge 1 January 2011

159106 & 159009 pass a very gloomy Potbridge on 1 January 2011 with the 1L40 10:26 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo South West Trains service. This is yet another example of a picture taken with my excellent Canon EF-S 60mm Macro lens wide open! ISO 800 1/1000sec f2.8.