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Class 143 Diesel Multiple Unit ‘Pacers’ 143606 & 143607


The Class 143 were built between 1985 and 1986 by Walter Alexander & Company (Coach-builders) Limited of Falkirk, while the two-axle underframes, mechanical parts and final assembly were subcontracted to Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. of Kilmarnock. 


The first 19 of the class were painted into BR Provincial livery of light blue with white and dark blue stripes. The remaining 5 of the class were painted into Tyne and Wear PTE Yellow. All were initially numbered in the 1430xx series.


Their layout is similar to that of the Class 142 with no bogies. The Class 143 and later 144 were considered an improvement on the previous Class 142 and also sported aluminium bodies and roofs as opposed to steel on the 142.


The early part of 143606's (then 006) career would see it employed in Scotland. It even worked the first train to passengers over the re-opened Bathgate to Edinburgh line.

An interesting link on the early days of the 143s including 606 can be seen here

Both 606 and 607 were a fixture in the north east of England for the first 6 years of their lives, being employed on services around 

Newcastle and Carlisle, with the odd jaunt into Scotland.

In 1989 the fleet were fitted with Voith transmissions and were also renumbered into the 1436xx series. 


They would only remain in the north east for around a further two years. In 1991 they were given a repaint into Regional Railways livery and dispatched gradually to Cardiff Canton depot between early 1991 and late 1992 to replace the life expired Class 108 and 116 DMUs. 


Whilst a handful of units were dispersed to Wessex Trains and later First Great Western, 606 and 607 remained Cardiff Canton units until their eventual withdrawal at the end of May 2021.

They would later be repainted into Valley Lines livery, Arriva Trains Wales livery and Arriva Trains Wales executive livery, before being retired with Transport for Wales vinyls over the previous livery.


The LMMR had made arrangements to take on 143606 in the third quarter of 2020. 143607 was a much later decision, with the plan being put in place in the first quarter of 2021. 

Both units arrive at the railway in a serviceable condition. The railway will where possible operate both 143 units during the 2021 operating season.


At the end of the year 143607 will be taken out of service to start the process of conversion into a ticket office, shop and cafe.

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143607 is seen at Eaglescliffe near Stockton-on-Tees in original as built BR Provincial livery in October 1987. Image courtesy of Curly42 on Flickr.


143606 is seen at Cynheidre shortly after arrival by road on 4th June 2021.

143606 and 143607 are seen side by side at Cardiff Queen Street on the 8th August 2012 going about their daily duties. Photo courtesy of Paul Haywood.

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143607 in Valley Lines colours passes Cardiff Canton with a Maesteg service in 2002. Photo courtesy of Nathan S. 


On 17 June 1994, 143607 awaits departure from Merthyr Tydfil, on the 11.50 to Penarth. Photo courtesy of Richard Allen

Class 143 Factfile

Type: Regional Passenger

Class: 143

Manufacturer / Model: Andrew Barclay and Walter Alexander

Fleet Size: 25 x 2-car units

Year of Build: 1985-86

Construction: Steel underframe. Aluminium alloy body and roof. Leyland national bus parts

Length: 15.546 m

Width: 2.695 m

Weight:24t DMS 24.5t DMSL

Transmission: Voith T211r hydraulic and SCG RF420i final drive

Traction Motors: N/A

Bogies: N/A

Engines: Cummins LTA 10-R, 225 hp at 1950 rpm

Maximum Speed: 75 mph

Traction Type: DMU

Couplers: BSI outer ends. Bar couplers within unit

Builder: Hunslet Barclay and Walter Alexander

Brakes: Tread

Seating: 2+2 SCIX Chapman seating (106 seats per unit)

Gangways: Flexible diaphragm. Within unit only

Doors: Folding bi-parting, 3 per side per unit at ends and centre

Other Features: Public Address

Route Availability: 1

Interoperability: Other Sprinters, Pacers and Turbostars

Formation: Operate as 2-car units (DMS-DMSL) with toilet in one vehicle

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Merthyr bound 143607 heads towards Cadoxton working 2M46 16:26 Barry Island to Merthyr Tydfil on the 15th January 2020. Photo courtesy of Mark Gower


In a storage line-up with other TFW 143s at Landore Depot in May 2021.


On 18 January 1992, 143606 leaves Cramlington on the 11.02 Morpeth - Newcastle. Image courtesy of Richard Allen.

On 19 June 1994, 143606 arrives at Radyr on the 1627 Penarth - Merthyr Tydfil carrying Regional Railways livery. Photo courtesy of Richard Allen.

We wish to offer huge thanks to the following organisations for their help and assistance during the process of acquiring this unit:

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