Now available for Train Simulator, this highly-detailed recreation with typical controls and cab features, puts you in the driving seat of one of Britain’s iconic diesel multiple units courtesy of Partner Programme developer, Armstrong Powerhouse.
By the 1980s, British Rail were still operating a vast fleet of old Heritage DMUs, which dated back to the mid-1950s, across much of Britain’s rural and un-electrified rail network. Clearly, a significant number of these ageing units were in dire need of replacement, their slow nature and unfit interiors would not hone the ideals of the future. The solution was to keep hold of some older units which were more standardised, and capable of refurbishment, while replacing the rest with brand new, second-generation DMUs.
Two separate batches of DMUs would be the first to modernise the rural rails, the first was the continuously controversial Pacer series which were essentially buses on rails and intended for shorter-haul journeys, the second were the Sprinters, which would take the long-haul into their own.
Derived from the Mk3 bodyshell, the new Sprinter prototypes, classified as the Class 150 and numbered 150001 and 150002, were built in 1984 by BREL in York as 3-car multiple units to test which engine and transmission type would be best for moving forward. 150001 was fitted with a Cummins engine and Voith hydraulic transmission, meanwhile, 150002 utilised a Rolls Royce (later Perkins) engine and self-changing mechanical transmission.
Trials and extensive testing began at Derby’s Railway Technical Centre on the duo of prototypes, following which they entered service on the Matlock branch for preliminary services. Over the subsequent years of testing, the units would move further afield to discover how they performed on different services, and to also promote the new unit around the country. Places such as Manchester, Birmingham, Aberystwyth, just to name a few, would all see the new Class 150 at least on occasion. 150001 also had the pleasure of being displayed under the grand arch roof of St. Pancras, however being 1984, the station looked rather different when compared to today. Other testing locations included the Welsh Valleys, Glasgow and Inverness.
After testing for both prototypes ended, it was apparent that 150001 was much more reliable in operation than 150002, who’s Rolls Royce engine and self-changing gearbox proved to provide a less than satisfactory service. 150001 was the clear choice for a production series, however the concept of a 3-car design would not be continued.
With the shortening of the units, the first production models were categorised as the Class 150/1 and a total of 50 were produced for the Regional Railways sector of BR. The next batch, known as the Class 150/2s, were to differ slightly from the 150/1 with the addition of a gangway to allow passengers to move between units. The Class 150/2s were intended for longer-distance routes than their flat-nosed counterparts, but still under the Regional Railways sector of British Rail.
Having been handed between operators since their introduction in 1986, the Class 150/2 fleet today operate principally for Arriva Trains Wales who put 34 Sprinters into use out of Cardiff and throughout Wales. Arriva have also operated a rather unique consist; the extra gangways of the Class 150/2 have often seen units split in half and combined with other sets to create 3-car sets, and a Class 150/9, no. 150978, has been noted to work out of the Welsh capital and along the South Wales coast.
As some of the original ‘Sprinter’ family DMUs to roll off the production line, the Class 150/2 is a true icon of late British engineering, a unit that was a major step up from the old heritage stock of yesteryear, and still manages to impress commuters and railfans alike, even today.
- Includes two unique Arriva Trains Wales Liveries
- Detailed internal & external audio
- Accurate acceleration & braking physics
- Global System for Mobile Communication - Railway (GSM-R)
- Voith T211r hydraulic transmission
- Wheelslip Protection (WSP)
- Wheelslide simulation
- Automatic unit numbering
- Dynamic exhaust effects
- Player changeable destination blind
- Cold start
- Driver vigilance device (DVD)
- Opening cab windows
- Cab instrument lighting
- 3 challenging career scenarios for the South Wales Coastal: Bristol - Swansea route, also available on Steam