The Class 158Express Sprinter is a nice little Diesel Multiple Unit I have come to know quite well during my trip in England. She's neither a looker or very fast, but she sure works hard and is very visible from many places in the UK. The Class 158 was truly British and was built in Derby during some of the last British Rail Engineering Limited days. She was built as a 2 or 3-car DMU although today all of them have been converted to 2-car sets or into Class 159. Hydraulic transmissions are used on each car of the 158 to deliver 350 (later 400) horsepower from the diesel engines to 2 of the 4 total axles per car. The 158 is also a lightweight built with welded aluminum construction and weighs only 84,000 lbs. per car. After privatization of British Rail, a considerable number of TOCs (Train Operating Companies) still operate 170 sets of Class 158 today.
East Midland Trains Class 158
Interior of the First Great Western 158
During my rail journey in England, it was the Northern Rail 158s that took me from Sheffield to Leeds then onto Carlisle, and from Scarborough to Sheffield via Hull. The ride quality and noise level in the cabin of the Class 158 isn't as great as the new generation DMUs (such as the 185 which I will talk about in a later post), but she was still described as a major step up in Britain from the First Generation DMUs. Oh and before I forget, the top speed in service of the Class 158 is 90 mph.