North Western - 156 Super-Sprinter

156 home page

First North Western leased 18 Class 156 units from Porterbrook.

These were refurbished at ADtranz Doncaster between 1995 and 1997. The programme began before North Western was privatised, and unit 156.420 was the first to be completed, returning to traffic in September 1995.

From June 2003, ten units were repainted into First Group's blue, magenta and white livery.

After the prefered bidder for the new Northern Rail franchise was anounced, futher repaints were plain blue.

The North Western franchise became part of Northern Rail on 12 December, 2004

156420 at Stockport

156.420 was the first of the class to receive First livery.

It is pictured arriving at Stockport with a Buxton to Bolton service, 22 July 2003.

This unit has now been named La'al Ratty.

RRNW 156.440 at Manchester Piccadilly 17.April.2004

156.460 at Manchester Piccadilly with a Southport - Manchester Airport train, April 17,2004.

As part of the earlier refurbishment programme the units had been repainted into North West Regional Railways livery.

inside 52427

Inside, the double triangle 'North West Express' symbol in dark blue and green colours is featured on the bright blue seat covers and carpeted end walls.

New seating from Chapman was fitted, together with a restyled toilet similar to that in the Tickford demonstrator.


Units (North Western scheme) Seating Capacity DMS(A) details DMS(B) details
146 seats 70 Standard seats,
2 luggage stacks,
76 Standard seats,
luggage van with parcel shelf.
156.441,455,459,460,461 148 seats 72 Standard seats,
luggage stack,
76 Standard seats,
luggage van.

Allocation and Duties

NH Newton Heath, Manchester 18 Porterbrook units

North Western 156s were initially used on North West Express routes (Blackpool, Windermere and Barrow to Manchester Airport, and Manchester - North Wales coast), before new 100mph Alstom class 175 units began to displace them from 2000 onwards.

However the reliability of the class 175s was such that 156s could still be found in North Wales until the summer of 2004.

New duties included Carlisle to Barrow, Blackpool North - Buxton, Southport - Manchester Airport.

The class could often be found filling in on local services from both Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly, and also on Liverpool to Preston, Blackpool / Morcambe / Barrow services.

The units also worked the Summer Sundays 'Dales Rail' sevices from Blackpool to Carlisle via Settle.