Centro 150s at Reading

The exile

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While sorting out old photos, I came across this one of a 6-car Centro-liveried 150 formation at that well-known West Midlands location, Reading. I assume some crisis in the Birmingham area was behind its exciting day out, but have no idea of the date, other than that it was probably in the first half of 1991. Can anyone shed any light on what it was doing there, and when? Photo quality is pretty poor, unfortunately, so can't even identify the near unit.

19910000 READING.jpg
 
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krus_aragon

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From looking at the yellow ends, I presume that somebody's stuck some 150/2s inside a 150/1, which suggests that this wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment coupling job: somebody saw a need for this long unit and had the vehicles shunted around to form it with a through corridor.
 

LowLevel

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From looking at the yellow ends, I presume that somebody's stuck some 150/2s inside a 150/1, which suggests that this wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment coupling job: somebody saw a need for this long unit and had the vehicles shunted around to form it with a through corridor.

That's how many 150s were formed up in the West Midlands for about 30 years - it'll be 2 x 3 car units.

Could have been on hire to Intercity (they regularly hired Central units until the early 2000s when the Virgin XC 158s moved elsewhere - usually 158s though) or operating an extended Cotswold service of some sort, the Worcester to Oxford services were 15x worked until replaced by 16x later in the 90s, or some sort of special.
 

150219

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From looking at the yellow ends, I presume that somebody's stuck some 150/2s inside a 150/1, which suggests that this wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment coupling job: somebody saw a need for this long unit and had the vehicles shunted around to form it with a through corridor.
That was the case for many Centro 150s, with the 2-car 150/1s being supplemented with 150/2s. Whilst the consist isn't unusual in this respect, the working may have been. It's only speculation on my part, but perhaps this was covering for a missing Cross Country service.
 

The exile

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That's how many 150s were formed up in the West Midlands for about 30 years - it'll be 2 x 3 car units.

Could have been on hire to Intercity (they regularly hired Central units until the early 2000s when the Virgin XC 158s moved elsewhere - usually 158s though) or operating an extended Cotswold service of some sort, the Worcester to Oxford services were 15x worked until replaced by 16x later in the 90s, or some sort of special.
Think the Cotswold line was operated by Cardiff units rather than Tyseley, wasn't it?
 

Peter Mugridge

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Photo quality is pretty poor, unfortunately, so can't even identify the near unit.
It looks like 150 113 to me, which upon checking back to my 1992 Combine Volume was one of the Tyseley ones formed up to three cars.

Later on the three car units were generally renumbered into the 150 0xx sequence and they appear as such in the 1994 book, so this photograph must have been taken between approximately early 1991 ( when the reformations took place ) and mid to late 1993 ( when the renumberings took place ); that tallies well with your suspicion of the picture dating from the first half of 1991.
 

JonathanH

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It's only speculation on my part, but perhaps this was covering for a missing Cross Country service.
I don't think it was unknown for units to be commandeered for Cross Country services at that time if that was all that was available in the same way that spare locomotives were used. I recall a report in Railway Magazine of a Turbo covering for a failed northbound Cross Country service to Birmingham around that time.
 

The exile

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I don't think it was unknown for units to be commandeered for Cross Country services at that time if that was all that was available in the same way that spare locomotives were used. I recall a report in Railway Magazine of a Turbo covering for a failed northbound Cross Country service to Birmingham around that time.
Indeed - I remember an "interesting" run in set TS606 (116 / 127 combo - after all these years I've finally worked out why we sat in the trailer car - it would have been a non-corridor set and the toilets were in the TS!) from New Street to Taunton a few years before on an occasion when S&C diversions were on.
 

nickw1

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A few years earlier, 1986, there was certainly a Reading-Birmingham (and corresponding incoming Birmingham-Reading) which was diagrammed for a Tyseley 116.

Looks like it was a last-minute addition, as it wasn't shown in the published timetable, but appeared to run regularly (on the three occasions in summer-autumn 1986 that I spent some time at Reading). It filled in a gap at around 1140 in the hourly-ish Reading-Birmingham schedule; IIRC it was the only hour during the day when there was no loco-hauled XC service so presumably a last-minute decision to use a DMU to fill in the gap, working to Reading immediately after the Birmingham morning peak.

Another example of those quirky, yet efficient (the unit would presumably otherwise be sitting around Tyseley all day) features of the BR era all sadly gone now.

So maybe this is something similar? Wasn't that familiar with the 1991 timetable, I have a bit of a blind-spot for XC schedules in the late 80s-early 90s period.
 
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P Binnersley

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I remember doing Reading to Coventry on a first generation DMU back in the late 1980's. 11:40 from Reading sounds about right. I think it was a very poorly loaded 3 car unit so six cars would have been overkill.

I think there were some rail tours with 150's in the early 1990s. The local manager in Birmingham at the time was quite enthusiast friendly.
 

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