First Scotrail Class 156 at Mallaig
The British Rail Class 156 "Super-Sprinter" is a diesel multiple unit. 114 of these units were built from 1987-89 by Metro-Cammell (now owned by Alstom) at their Washwood Heath Works in Birmingham. They were built to replace elderly 'heritage' DMUs and locomotive-hauled passenger trains.
First ScotRail operates the largest fleet of Class 156 units. They operate on both short distance commuter routes and services of up to five hours (Glasgow to Mallaig). Their initial introduction was controversial as they replaced locomotive hauled stock (particularly Class 37 hauled) on these longer routes. Various issues such as limited toilet facilities were cited as criticism, but they proved to have much lower operating costs. They currently can be seen on many core routes including:
* Glasgow to Stranraer / Carlisle via Kilmarnock
* Glasgow to Oban and Mallaig
* Glasgow Central to Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts, Cambuslang and Bellshill.
They are also used on Glasgow local services. These services are worked by units nos. 156500-514, which are operated by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and painted in their carmine and cream livery. These units in particular are often seen working through to Newcastle on two services per day (from Girvan and Stranraer) as these services are jointly operated by First ScotRail and Northern Rail.
* Glasgow to Paisley Canal
* Glasgow to Whifflet
* Glasgow to Anniesland via Maryhill
* Glasgow to East Kilbride
In reality, both fleets are entirely interchangeable (except only RETB fitted units can operate the West Highland Line) and both liveries can be seen on almost any 156 route.
Picture added on 29 October 2007