|British Rail Class 143 Pacer|
GWR 143603 at Dawlish
Refreshed interior as used in service by Great Western Railway.
|In service||1985 - present|
|Manufacturer||Hunslet-Barclay and Walter Alexander|
|Replaced||First generation DMUs|
|Number built||25 sets|
|Number in service||18 sets|
|Number preserved||1 set due|
|Number scrapped||2 sets (both due to fire)|
|Car body construction||Steel underframe. Aluminium alloy body and roof.|
|Car length||15.546 m (51 ft 0 in)|
|Width||2.695 m (8 ft in)|
|Height||3.515 m (11 ft in)|
|Doors||Twin leaf pivot|
|Wheelbase||9.000 m (29 ft in)|
|Maximum speed||75 mph (121 km/h)|
|Engine type||10-litre turbo-Diesel|
|Train heating||Engine waste heat, ducted warm air|
|Bogies||None, Ax1 fixed axle|
|Multiple working||Classes 14x, 15x and 170|
The British Rail Class 143 is a diesel multiple unit, part of the Pacer family of trains introduced between 1985 and 1986. They originally worked in the North-East of England but were later transferred to Wales and South-West England.
The Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2008 and the subsequent Persons of Reduced Mobility - Technical Specification for Interoperability (PRM-TSI) require that all public passenger trains must be accessible by 1 January 2020. No Class 143 train currently meets this requirement. Porterbrook has proposed an extensive refurbishment of the Class 143 and 144 units in an attempt to meet this requirement although this would significantly reduce the number of seats.
The units are currently used on short distance services around Exeter. Previously they were common on services in the Bristol area.
On 31 December 2019, the Department for Transport issued a dispensation, allowing use of the Class 143 until 31 December 2020 by Great Western Railway.
On 17 October 2004, Wessex Trains unit 143613, forming a service from Bristol Temple Meads to Weston-super-Mare with 143621, caught fire between the site of the former Flax Bourton railway station and Nailsea and Backwell. Fire services took two hours to get the blaze under control. Of the 23 passengers and crew, three were treated on-site for the effects of smoke inhalation. One carriage was completely burnt out, and the other was badly damaged, causing the train to be written off. The line through Nailsea was closed until 03:30 the following morning, when the train was hauled to St Philip's Marsh depot for examination. The unit was later taken to Crewe Works where it was stored, then later to Cardiff Canton TMD where it was scrapped. The Rail Safety and Standards Board issued a report into the incident, concluding that the fire was caused by electrical arcing between the live starter motor cable (which had damaged insulation) and the unit's underframe, causing accumulated oily residues to ignite.
On 16 January 2020, a Class 143 train had several windows smashed in by waves and sea debris while running along the sea wall at Dawlish during stormy weather, causing minor injuries to one passenger.
|Class||Operator||Number||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||Notes|
|Class 143||Transport for Wales||15||1985-1986||2||143601–602/604–610/614/616/622–625|
|Great Western Railway||3||143603/612/620|
|Stored||5||143611/617–619/621||GWR units temporarily stored.|
|Scrapped||2||143613/615||143613 & 615 destroyed after fire damage. 613 in 2004 & 615 in 2005.|
start of year
Several units formerly had names:
Presently only one unit has so far been considered as being saved for preservation.
|Set number||Vehicle numbers||Livery||Location||Notes|
|143603||55658||55669||Great Western Railway Green||Still in service with Great Western Railway. Will be based at Swindon & Cricklade Railway following withdrawal.|
BR Regional Railways blue (Carlisle, undated)
Wessex Trains 'Visit Bristol' Bristol Temple Meads, 2005)
Wales and Borders 'Valley Lines' with later Arriva branding (Gloucester, 2005)
Arriva Trains Wales (Cardiff Central, 2009)
First Great Western Bristol Temple Meads, 2008)
First Great Western Bristol Temple Meads, 2009)
Arriva Trains Wales 'Executive' (Cardiff Central, 2016)
A serious incident just short of Nailsea & Backwell station (alongside the common), saw the 2W63 20.06 Temple Meads-Weston-super-Mare local Wessex Trains service, formed with 143613 + 143621, stopped and evacuated due to a fire which gutted coach 55654 and smoke damaged 55679 (both from set 143613). Fire services took two hours to get the blaze under control, the flames reaching around 20 feet in height, but there were no serious injuries, three persons being treated for smoke inhalation of the 23 passengers and crew travelling on the service. The mainline was closed until 03.30 the following day, the units being dragged back to Bristol and store at St.Phillips Marsh depot for examination. The fire was thought to have started due to a mechanical fault. 19/10 143613 was taken to St Phillips Marsh for an investigation into the fire. The main frame of 55654 was badly buckled and it is beyond repair. The unit was taken by road to Crewe Works later in the week.
Stored: 143613/615 - ZC [Crewe Works]
Disposals: Pullman : 143613 @CF [Cardiff Canton]