Heljan reveals 'O' Class 153 railcar

Heljan has revealed that it is developing an all-new ‘O’ gauge Class 153 single-coach railcar, with the project already at the Engineering Prototype (EP) stage of the process.


Originally built for British Rail as two-car Class 155 Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) by Leyland Bus in the late 1980s, 35 of these second generation units were subsequently converted to Class 153 single railcars in the early 1990s for branch line and rural use, with the class eventually totalling 70 vehicles. They became a familiar sight across the national network, although the number in regular use has reduced in recent years. Several have been repurposed for use with Network Rail and ScotRail on Highland routes.


Heljan’s newly-tooled models are set to include the characteristic panel lines and rivets so prevalent on the prototypes, together with separately fitted interior seats, tables and partitions, detailed cab interiors (standard and micro), variations to the underfloor radiator grille mesh, detachable BSI auto-couplers, snowploughs and optional NRN radio roof pods.


Eight separately switchable lighting functions will also be available in Digital Command Control (DCC) mode with directional headlights (day and night settings), tail lights, interior saloon illumination, cab lighting, working bodyside door locking indicator lights, illuminatted door button and illuminated destination blinds. Original and revised headlight units have also been tooled, to accurately represent vehicles according to the period and colour scheme carried. 


Six different identities are planned initially, five of which will be offered DCC ready or DCC sound-fitted, finished as 153301 in Regional Railways livery (Cat No. 53201/53203), 153311 in East Midlands Trains (Stagecoach) colours (53241/53243), 153351 in Northern ‘swoosh’ livery (53251/53253), 153906 Transport for Wales grey and red (53271/53273) and 153356 in London Midland City livery (53291/53293). 153380 in GWR green completes the line-up as a Gaugemaster Collection exclusive in DCC ready format only (GM7240701).


Prices are set at £399 DCC ready and £519 DCC sound-fitted, with release anticipated during the second quarter of 2024.

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