New type of train tested on West Coastway line

Rail enthusiasts in Worthing were thrilled to see a new type of train being tested on the West Coastway line this week.

A GWR Class 166 Turbo was operated as a gauging train in the early hours of Wednesday, January 22, with a view to using the Class 165 and Class 166 Turbo trains on the services from Brighton to Great Malvern, Cardiff and Bristol.

John Vaughan, railway author and photographer, was there to witness staff carrying out checks when the train was stopped at Worthing railway station.

He said: “With a view to using Class 165/166 Turbo units on their services from Great Malvern, Cardiff and Bristol to Brighton, which serve Worthing, the Great Western Railway operated a gauging train along the West Coastway line in the small hours of Wednesday.

The GWR Class 166 Turbo No.166211 pulling into platform one at Worthing railway station

“The chosen unit for the test was Class 166 No.166211, which was photographed at Worthing.

“This event was an absolute first for the route and may well be an indication of future workings, presently the domain of GWR Class 158 units.

“The train stopped at various stations to test train-to-platform clearances. These were carefully measured to ensure that tolerances were satisfactory. Unit No.166211, still in First Great Western livery, was seen at platform one at Worthing station. This was the first ever Class 166 working along the route.”

A member of the survey team measures the clearances at Worthing station. Picture: John Vaughan

A spokseman for GWR said the company currently operates Turbo trains on the line from Cardiff to Portsmouth.

He added: “These are not able to run beyond Portsmouth to Brighton in passenger service quite yet.

“We have completed testing and are seeking the necessary approvals to be able to run weekend services with this type of train.”