Can’t tell your Sprinters from your Pacers? Struggling to separate a 153 from a 158? Don’t know if it’s better to be on a 125 or a 175? Fishguard Trains help is at hand.
Why would you want to know? If you’re an ordinary rail user, and not a railway specialist, we admit the discussions here on Fishguard Trains can get baffling. Too much jargon, too many acronyms. It probably all means something, but does it mean anything to you?
While we’d prefer everyone to comment in plain language, and explain technical points as they arise for us lesser mortals, that’s not likely to happen overnight. Until then, here is a handy look-up guide to the different trains you’re likely to find running between west and east Wales. We don’t claim this is thorough and comprehensive. In fact, we’d like our expert commentators to correct and extend these notes as required. This is just a start, so over to you.
Does all the jargon make any real difference to daily rail users, or is it just for enthusiasts? We think it does. If you are travelling from Fishguard to Cardiff on a 143 Pacer, you’ll arrive shaken up and exhausted. Thirsty too – no catering trolleys are allowed on 143s. On the other hand, if you’re on a 158 or 175, you’ll be comfortable, rested and hopefully well-fed. So read on …
Commonly used on the Cardiff Valley lines, but known to escape the valleys and serve longer routes. Fine for a few stops, gruelling for long journey.
A slightly smarter version of the 142, with the same bouncy ride. The reason is simple – like the 142, it’s a bus on rails, with one wheel at each corner. Due to disappear as not wheelchair-friendly, but electrification will in any case eliminate Pacers.
A common train in Arriva’s Welsh franchise. Built as a proper train, with a bogie at each end instead of a wheel at each corner, but still pretty basic inside. Used too often for the lunchtime Fishguard boat train.
153 Super Sprinter
Less doors and more seats than the 150, and usually run on quiet routes as a single unit.
158 Express Sprinter
One of two designs of long-distance trains used by Arriva that seems fit for purpose.
Arriva’s highest-spec long-distance unit.
And finally -
Inter City 125
Otherwise IC125, or HST = High Speed Train. The trains used for diesel-hauled high-speed routes thoughout the UK, and reaching as far west as Carmarthen (all year) and Pembroke Dock in summer.
Due to disappear after electrification.
So now you know! (E&OE)
UPDATE: 141 Pacer
Spad wanted to add this one before anyone else mentions it: it’s a 141 Pacer, one of the first of the bus-on-rails experiment, and even older than the 143 and 142 (see above). Still carrying passengers in Iran, where most of the 141 fleet was sent a decade ago. Built in 1984, meant to last 20 years.