|British Rail Class 170 Turbostar|
The interior of a ScotRail refurbished Class 170
|In service||30 May 1999–present|
|Number built||139 trainsets|
|Number in service||119 trainsets|
9 converted to Class 168 and
11 converted to Class 171
|Formation||2 or 3 cars per trainset|
|Car body construction||Welded aluminium. Steel ends.|
|Train length||2 car: 47.22 m (154 ft 11 in)|
3 car: 70.83 m (232 ft 4 5⁄8 in)
|Car length||23.62 m (77 ft 5 7⁄8 in)|
|Width||2.69 m (8 ft 9 7⁄8 in)|
|Height||3.77 m (12 ft 4 3⁄8 in)|
|Maximum speed||100 mph (160 km/h)|
|Weight||Varies between 90.41 t (88.98 long tons; 99.66 short tons) (170/1 2 car) to 135.31 t (133.17 long tons; 149.15 short tons) (170/1 3 car)|
|Prime mover(s)||One MTU 6R 183TD13H per car|
|Engine type||13-litre 6-cylinder turbo-Diesel|
|Power output||315 kW (422 hp) at 1,900 rpm (per car), 630 kW (844 hp) total (2-car unit), 945 kW (1,266 hp) total (3-car unit)|
|Transmission||Voith Hydraulic T211rzze to ZF final drive|
2 axles driven per car
|Acceleration||max. 0.5 m/s2 (1.8 km/(h⋅s); 1.1 mph/s)|
|Bogies||Powered: BREL P3-23 Unpowered: BREL T3-23|
|Braking system(s)||Disc brakes|
|Safety system(s)||AWS, TPWS|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Class 170 Turbostar is a British diesel multiple-unit (DMU) passenger train built by Bombardier Transportation (and previously ADtranz) at its Derby Litchurch Lane Works. Introduced after privatisation, these trains have operated regional as well as long-distance services, and to a lesser extent suburban services. 139 units were built, but some were later converted to Class 168 or Class 171 units.
The class is a development of the design used in the British Rail Class 165 and 166 DMUs known as the Networker Turbos which were built by British Rail Engineering Limited and later ABB Transportation Ltd before that company became part of Bombardier.
Notable features shared are the aluminium alloy frame and Voith transmission as well as the general body shape (the cab ends are similar to those of the Class 168, but not Class 165/166), interior design and door fittings. The final drive is sourced from ZF instead of Gmeinder and the diesel-engine supplier is MTU.
The engine and transmission are located under the body. One bogie per coach is powered. All coaches in the set are powered when in use (there are no unpowered trailers). The units can work in multiple with trains in the 15X series, i.e. Sprinters and 14X Pacers (the latter empty only), and with other units of the same class. They are unable to operate in multiple with units in the 16X series due to different wiring arrangements.
Seating arrangements are of both 2+1 (first class) and 2+2 (standard class) formation, and give a seated passenger capacity of between ~100 and ~200 per three-car set (depending on the specifications of the operator). 2-car sets are also operated.
Class 170 units have been categorised into six sub-classes; the basic specifications remain the same (engine, length, transmission, etc.), the differences being the seating arrangements specified by the different operators. Because of the different interior fittings the sub-classes differ in weight from one another by a small amount, up to ~2 tonnes.
All the subclasses were built at Derby works either under ADtranz or Bombardier Transportation ownership. The change of ownership occurred in 2001, but early Bombardier units (such as the 2002 2-car 170/2 Phase 2 units) still display ADtranz branding, such as on the window glazing, due to use of backstocked parts.
Abellio ScotRail is the largest operator of the Class 170, with a fleet which formerly comprised 55 3-car sets but which is in the process of being reduced to 34 sets. All units are allocated to Edinburgh Haymarket depot.
The first Class 170s in Scotland were 24 units built for ScotRail (National Express) in 1999-2001 (170 401-424), which had first-class accommodation for use on ScotRail Express services (i.e. the Edinburgh–Glasgow Queen Street shuttle) and Aberdeen/Inverness–Glasgow/Edinburgh services. A further 10 similar units (170 425-434) were built in 2003-05 to complete the conversion of ScotRail Express services from Class 158 to Class 170 operation. By the time the second batch entered service the franchise had passed to First ScotRail.
Two standard-class only units were provided for Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) services from Glasgow Queen Street in 2001 (170 470-471), followed in 2004-05 by 7 more units for SPT (170 472-478) and 12 similar units for Edinburgh commuter services (170 450-461). In December 2008, six of the standard-class-only units (170 450–5) were fitted with first-class sections, and two more (170 456-457) were fitted with first class in December 2011.
A further four 3-car sets (170393-396) with first class accommodation and 'mini-buffets', were obtained from Hull Trains in 2005, bringing the First ScotRail Class 170 fleet up to a peak of 59 3-car sets. The former Hull Trains units were initially used on ScotRail Express services to Inverness, but by 2012 the buffets were out of use and all four units were converted to standard class only.
The 9 units built for SPT services were delivered in SPT livery, whereas the rest of the fleet carried First ScotRail livery (170 401-424 having originally worn the National Express ScotRail 'swoosh' livery). In September 2008 the Scottish Government's agency Transport Scotland announced that all ScotRail trains (including from the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) would eventually be repainted in a new blue livery with white Saltire markings on the carriage ends.
In April 2015 the ScotRail franchise passed from First to Abellio, and the 9 units owned by Eversholt went off-lease. Five of these units (170 416-420) remained in Scotland on short-term lease to Abellio ScotRail (albeit with ScotRail branding removed) until their transfer to East Midlands Railway in 2020, whilst the other 4 units (170 421-424) were converted into Class 171s for their new operator Southern.
As a result of the electrification of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street line in 2018 and the conversion of ScotRail Express services to Aberdeen and Inverness to HSTs in 2018-19, the Class 170s are being displaced from ScotRail Express routes. Additionally, electrification of most of the Glasgow Queen Street (High Level) commuter lines and of the Edinburgh to Dunblane route will see Class 170s displaced from these services once the Class 385 EMU fleet is fully operational. Some of the surplus Class 170s will be cascaded to other Abellio ScotRail services replacing older Class 156 and 158 units, but 16 units were transferred to Arriva Rail North (170 453-461 and 472-478). The first four of these units moved to Northern in March 2018, followed by a further four in August 2018.
Arriva Rail North began operating the Class 170 in 2018, with a total of sixteen units due from Abellio ScotRail by the end of the year. All 16 units had transferred to Northern by January 2019, and can now be seen operating services between Sheffield And Scarborough via Hull and have diagrams around the Harrogate Loop as well as a single Hull to Halifax via Leeds diagram. The units are maintained at Neville Hill and Hull Botanical Gardens as well as light maintenance at Sheffield and Holbeck depot.
On 1 March 2020, these units transferred to new operator Northern Trains.
East Midlands Railway
From 23 March 2020, East Midlands Railway received its first two Class 170 units in the form of 3-car 170416 and 170417, when they moved from Abellio ScotRail. The former was seen in EMR livery on 30 April 2020.
EMR plans to become the largest operator of the Class 170, with a further 23 units due from West Midlands Railway and 12 from Southern. The units from Southern will be converted from 171s - 10 converted back to the 170s they were built as, and 2 being factory-built 171s that will become 170s for the first time.
The first refurbished unit (170416) is currently operating driver training runs between Leicester and Newark Castle.
West Midlands Trains
West Midlands Trains (WMT) currently use 23 (17 x 2-coach & 6 x 3-coach) Class 170 Turbostars for services on the Chase Line, Birmingham to Hereford via Bromsgrove Line and Shrewsbury services. These were passed on from their predecessors London Midland. WMT intend to replace the Turbostars with 26 new Class 196 Civity units; when this occurs, the trains will move to East Midlands Railway, with the centre cars of the 3-coach units instead going to CrossCountry in order to increase 6 of their 2-car units to 3 cars, to match the rest of their fleet. 
CrossCountry currently use 29 Class 170 Turbostars on services between Cardiff Central and Nottingham, and between Birmingham, Leicester, and Stansted Airport. These Class 170 units were refurbished in 2008 with the 3-car units repainted at Marcroft Engineering, Stoke on Trent, the 2-car units at EWS' Toton depot and the interiors done by Transys Projects, Clacton-on-Sea including the fitting of first class seating to the Class 170/5s and 170/6s.
Transport for Wales
In September 2019 Transport for Wales received three Class 170/2s (one 3-car unit and two 2-car units) from Greater Anglia, with driver training following. In November 2019, three more units (two 3-car and one 2-car) transferred depots from Norwich Crown Point to Cardiff Canton, with a further four 3-car units delivered in December 2019, the last 3-car unit delivered in January 2020 and the last 2-car unit delivered in February 2020. This means that TfW Rail now leases the entire 12-strong 170/2 subclass of eight 3-car units and four 2-car units.
These are the first Class 170s on the Wales and Borders franchise and they are initially being used on services between Cardiff / Bridgend and Ebbw Vale, and services between Maesteg and Cheltenham/Gloucester. On 12 December 2019, 3-car 170202 worked TfW Rail's first Class 170 passenger services (between Bridgend and Ebbw Vale Town via Cardiff Central) and the units started to enter service in multiple quantities on 16 December 2019 with 5 units (three 3-car and two 2-car) running in passenger service on that day. All units had entered service by April 2020 when 3-car 170206 was the last to enter service.
After TfW Rail's fleet is mostly replaced with brand new trains in 2022-23, it is planned that the 170s will be retained but moved on to West Wales services, the Heart of Wales Line (subject to route clearance), and services between Shrewsbury and Crewe. TfW Rail's acquisition of the 170/2 subclass from Greater Anglia was made possible by the latter operator having replaced them with brand new trains.
First TransPennine Express
First TransPennine Express operated nine Class 170s, used on the Manchester Piccadilly to Hull route. Originally Class 185s were set to operate the route but a combination of weight-restriction problems on the Selby to Hull Line, chronic overcrowding on several of the company's services and the government reducing the amount of money available to First TransPennine Express for new trains resulted in Class 170s coming into service.
From September 2009, two Class 170s were used Sundays to Thursdays on the Cleethorpes–Manchester Airport service.
First TransPennine Express received eight Turbostars from South West Trains, 170301–308 at the end of 2006 and the start of 2007, as well as 170399 from Central Trains in November 2007, which was renumbered 170309.
The units were maintained by Bombardier Crofton. The 170s have since been fully refurbished to include CCTV, power sockets throughout, replacement carpets and seat covers and the removal / declassification of one of the two first-class sections, providing more seats. The work was carried out by Transys at Clacton-on-Sea.
However, in March 2014 it was revealed that the nine Turbostars would move to Chiltern Railways. MP Stephen Hammond revealed on 12 March 2014 that all the class 170/3s would remain with First TransPennine Express until the May 2015 timetable change, when Chiltern would take five of the 170s with the remaining four remaining with First TransPennine Express until the end of the franchise in March 2016 later changed to 8 July 2016. Upon delivery, the Class 170s were modified in Brush Traction to allow them to be used with Chiltern's existing Class 168 units, and were subsequently reclassified as Class 168/3s. Today, the unit numbers are 168321-168329. However it was confirmed in November 2018 that TransPennine Express would be hiring one Class 170 per day from Northern to run services on the Manchester/Leeds and Huddersfield local services to allow more Class 185s to be used on other busier services until the new Nova Fleets arrive in 2019. This arrangement ended in May 2019 when Northern’s subleased Class 185 units returned to TPE.
Hull Trains began its London King's Cross to Hull services using Turbostars, initially with four sets on short-term lease from Anglia Railways. In 2004, it received four of its own 3-car Class 170/3 units, and returned the original units to Anglia.
Midland Mainline (MML) was the first operator to order Turbostars, the first being introduced in 1998. The Class 170/1 were built immediately after the Class 168/0 were built for Chiltern Railways. MML ordered a fleet of seventeen 2-car Class 170 units, although the first ten were subsequently made up of three cars each instead. These were numbered 170101–117. The units were introduced on stopping services from London St. Pancras to Leicester, Derby and Nottingham. Some were also used on summer Saturday-only services from London to York, which later became a year-round service with summer extension to Scarborough. Class 170s were also used on direct services between Matlock and London St. Pancras, these services ended upon the replacement of the Class 170s with new Class 222 Meridian units due to weight restrictions on the Derwent Valley Line to Matlock.
In 2004, Midland Mainline introduced new Class 222 Meridian units, which started to replace the Turbostars. As a result, the fleet was transferred to sister company Central Trains. Ten units (170101-110) are 3-car units, and the remaining seven units (170111-117) are 2-car units. As with the three spot-hire units from Porterbrook, these seventeen units had first-class accommodation, which was declassified.
Central Trains had a fleet of 53 Class 170 units from various subclasses.
In 1999, Central received its first batch of twenty-three 2-car Class 170/5 and ten 3-car Class 170/6 units. These were used to replace Class 156 units on various longer-distance services.
From late 2004, Central also took three Class 170/3 on lease from Porterbrook. Units 170397–8 are 3-car units and 170399 is a 2-car unit. All three of these units contained first-class accommodation, which was declassified (allowing standard-class use throughout the train), as first class travel was not provided on Central Trains services. The two 3-car units' interiors were of Central Trains style, except the MML-style first class, and the 2-car unit had a South West Trains interior. After the Central Trains franchise ended, the two 3-car units (170397 and 170398) remained with the new operator, CrossCountry. The one 2-car unit was returned to Porterbrook, which then leased it to First TransPennine Express who renumbered the unit to 170309.
When Central Trains lost its franchise in 2007, 23 of Central Trains' units (17 x 2-coach & 6 x 3-coach) were transferred to London Midland, which took over the West Midlands franchise and continued to use Class 170s for services on the Chase Line, Birmingham to Hereford via Bromsgrove Line and Shrewsbury services. 29 out of the remaining 30 units (including the ex-Midland Mainline units and 2 out of the 3 spot hire units) were transferred to CrossCountry, which took over the Cardiff-Birmingham-Nottingham and Birmingham-Leicester-Stansted Airport services.
One of Central Trains' 170s (170399) went to First TransPennine Express and was subsequently renumbered 170309; East Midlands Trains did not receive any, despite taking over the previously Class-170-operated Liverpool-to-Norwich route. This route is now operated by refurbished Class 158 units.
Anglia Railways ordered two batches of Turbostars. The first batch of eight 3-car Class 170/2 units were built for London Liverpool Street to Ipswich, Norwich, Lowestoft and Bury St. Edmunds services. These supplemented the existing Class 86 locomotive-hauled trains from London to Norwich. Four of these units were later hired to Hull Trains from 2002–2004, before that company acquired its own Turbostars.
Other units, including the spot-hire set 170399, were used on Anglia's short-lived Norwich to Basingstoke 'London Crosslink' service. In 2002, Anglia introduced a new Cambridge to Norwich direct service, and acquired four 2-car units dedicated to working these services.
In 2004 the Greater Anglia franchise was won by National Express subsidiary One, rebranded as National Express East Anglia in 2008, and passed onto Abellio Greater Anglia in 2012. Since then, 2-car Turbostars have been used for the Cambridge to Norwich route, and also on new through services including Cambridge (via Ipswich), Bury St Edmunds (via Ipswich), Peterborough (via Ipswich) and Lowestoft (via Ipswich and East Suffolk Line or Ipswich and Norwich) - London Liverpool Street via Ipswich, although with a new timetable all Class 170 London services ended in December 2010, in favour of connecting branch line trains with GEML expresses.
The 3-car trains used to include a buffet and larger first-class area, but because more seating was needed, the buffet area has been removed and the number of first-class seats reduced.
South West Trains
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South West Trains (SWT) acquired a fleet of eight 2-car Class 170/3 units in 2000 (later to nine units supplemented by ex-Southern 170392), to supplement its existing Class 159 fleet. Units operated on London Waterloo to Salisbury, Reading to Brighton, Southampton local services, and occasionally on services to Exeter St Davids, though this was not a regular route for these units, as they do not feature end gangways, making it difficult to provide trolley services, and they lacked selective door opening for the short platforms at stations on the route west of Salisbury. All but one of these units were transferred to First TransPennine Express at the end of 2006, in exchange for some Class 158 Express Sprinters. Unit 170392 was transferred back to its original intended operator Southern and has since been reclassified and renumbered from 170392 to 171730.
Southern obtained six 2-car Class 170/7 units, along with six 4-car Class 171/8 units, in 2003 to replace its slam-door Class 205 and Class 207 units on services on the Marshlink Line and Oxted Line to Uckfield.
Southern later fitted these units with the Dellner type coupler used on its Class 171s, reclassifying its 2-car units as Class 171/7, replacing the standard BSI coupler fitted to Class 170s. This was done to allow them to couple to Class 377 EMUs in an emergency.
Southern later acquired 170392 from South West Trains, which became its 10th 2-car, 171730. This unit had already carried Southern livery, being ordered as an add-on to a Southern order to save costs, and was delivered accordingly in Southern livery as 170727. It was renumbered and reliveried at Ashford Chart Leacon Works before entering traffic.
At the end of the First ScotRail franchise in March 2015, 170416 to 170424 were returned to Eversholt Rail Group. The first five units then remained on hire to Abellio ScotRail via a sublease arrangement until March 2020, while 170421 to 170424 moved to Wolverton railway works in April 2015. They were overhauled and converted to Class 171s. Following issues with the conversion and reliability issues, the remaining units were then handed back to Eversholt Rail Group where they were then re-leased to East Midlands Railway. Two became two-car 171/2s and two four-car Class 171/4s.
The 23 West Midlands Railway 170s will move to East Midlands Railway after being replaced by new Class 196s in 2020. The centre cars from the 6 170/6s will be transferred to CrossCountry and inserted into 6 of its 2 car units, leaving just seven CrossCountry 2 car units. The XC 170/5s will then be renumbered as /6s while the WMR 170/6s will renumber to /5s. 
East Midlands Railway is also due to receive 12 Class 171s from Southern (including the ex-ScotRail 170/4 examples and possibly ex 170392) during 2022. These will be converted back to Class 170s with their carriage configuration also being changed to create 2 and 3 car units.
Current fleet details
|170/2||Transport for Wales||8||1999||3||170201-208|
|170/3||Converted to Class 168||9||2000||170301–309||170309 formerly 170399|
|Converted to Class 171||1||170392||To be converted back to Class 170 and transferred to EMR in 2022.|
|170/4||Abellio ScotRail||18||1999–2001||170401–415, 170418, 170470–471||170418 will be transferred to EMR.|
|East Midlands Railway||4||170416–417, 170419-420||Not currently in service|
|Converted to Class 171||4||170421–424||To be converted back to Class 170s and transferred to EMR in 2022.|
|Northern Trains||16||170453–461, 170472–478|
|170/5||West Midlands Trains||19||1999–2000||2||170501–517, 170532, 170535||will be transferred to EMR|
|CrossCountry||6||170518–523||These will be lengthened to 3-cars throughout 2020.|
|170/6||West Midlands Trains||4||2000||3||170630–631, 170633-634||Driving vehicle pairs to transfer to EMR throughout 2020, centre cars to CrossCountry to lengthen their 170/5s.|
Some units had names, as follows:
- 170401: Sir Moir Lockhead OBE (removed)
- 170405: Riverside Museum (removed)
- 170432: Investor in People (removed)
Accidents and incidents
- On 13 November 2005, 170207 collided with a car at a level crossing in Swainsthorpe, Norfolk, on the Great Eastern Main Line. The car driver was killed. The front of the train was damaged by the consequent fire from the wrecked car.
- On 26 November 2005, 170431 hit a landslide near Moy on the Highland Line. The front of the train was derailed and damaged by the debris, the other 2 coaches remained railed. 6 passengers, the driver and conductor were injured.
- On 12 September 2006, 170206 was derailed as it crossed the level crossing at Croxton, Norfolk, on the Breckland Line. A panel that formed part of the level crossing had become dislodged and fouled both railway and road.
- On 27 July 2011, 170393 derailed after crossing over a set of faulty points at Princes Street Gardens on the approach to Edinburgh. The train was occupied only by 2 members of crew - neither of whom was injured.
- On 14 July 2013, 170272 collided with a car towing a trailer on a level crossing at Woodbridge, Suffolk, on the East Suffolk Line.
- On 10 April 2016, 170204 collided with an agricultural tractor on a level crossing at Roudham, on the Breckland line. The tractor driver was seriously injured; the train driver and some passengers sustained minor injuries. An investigation revealed that the tractor driver had obtained permission to cross the line.
- On 15 October 2017, 170272 collided with a car on a level crossing at Melton, on the East Suffolk Line. The car driver was airlifted to hospital.
- On 10 October 2018, 170402 derailed at Stonehaven, between Aberdeen and Dundee.
- On 3 March 2019, 170520 collided with a fallen tree between Lydney and Gloucester and derailed. The front cab was severely damaged 
- On 23 March 2020, 170107 collided with locomotive 66057, which had run through a buffer stop at the end of a siding at Bromsgrove and ended up foul of the running line. None of the two crew and four passengers on board were injured.
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- Bishop, Donna-Louise (10 April 2016). "Tractor driver suffers serious injuries following collision between train and tractor at Roudham, near Thetford". Eastern Daily Press. Archant Media Ltd.[permanent dead link]
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Rail Class 170.|
- "Central spends £48m to order 50 more 'Turbostar' DMU cars". RAIL. No. 339. EMAP Apex Publications. 22 September 1998. p. 7. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.
- West, Lee (20 October 1998). "'Turbostar' is ready to roll!". RAIL. No. 341. EMAP Apex Publications. pp. 22–25. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.
- "Adtranz launches Turbostar for Midland Mainline". RAIL. No. 344. EMAP Apex Publications. 1 December 1998. p. 16. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.
- "Sanding gear for '170s'". RAIL. No. 345. EMAP Apex Publications. 15 December 1998. p. 8. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.
- "New numbers for Turbostar and Electrostar fleets". RAIL. No. 345. EMAP Apex Publications. 15 December 1998. p. 9. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.