South West Trains' 159/1 Preview

South West Trains is increasing the capacity of its diesel unit fleet without increasing the number of units and also creating a fleet with all units of a similar age by "exchanging" five of its newer two car class 170 Turbostar units for teenaged three car class 158 units from . South West Trains will be retaining three 170s for the Romsey service (one as spare) until the end of 2007 and it is believed 170392 may go to Southern. This unit was built to Southern's specification as 170727 as part as a follow-on order and emerged from Derby works in Southern livery before being repainted into South West Trains' livery. Southern is known to be in need of increasing its diesel unit fleet because capacity is strained during peak times.)

exterior of 159102 in the Wabtec works at Doncaster Legendary railway photographer Brian Morrison has sent the Southern Electric Group these two photographs of conversion work underway in 's UK works at Doncaster to convert 158803 to 159102 for South West Trains.
work underway on the interior of 159102 Work underway on the interior of 159102

The 158 units are being converted at 's Doncaster works although fitting 400hp engines (as per 159/0, themselves converted from later batch 400hp three car 158 units) is not included.

The conversions will be as follows:
159101 - 158800
159102 - 158803
159103 - 158804
159104 - 158805
159105 - 158807
159106 - 158808
159107 - 158809
159108 - 158811
159109 - 158814

As of 16th October 158800, 158803 and 158804 were in the works and 158805 and 158807 were on hand in Doncaster West Yard. Initial formation details are listed as
(i.e. no change from their most recent 158 formations so far) :
159101 formed 52800 + 58717 + 57800
159102 formed 52803 + 58703 + 57803
159103 formed 52804 + 58704 + 57804
159104 formed 52805 + 58705 + 57805
159105 formed 52807 + 58707 + 57807

159102 is expected to enter service before Christmas and is already allocated on the system to Salisbury.