BR Class 143
Built by Walter Alexander and Andrew Barclay in 1985 for British Rail. 143617 was part of the 25 Class 143's which were introduced in the mid 80s as part of a drive to replace British Rail's ageing 1st Generation DMUs from the 50s and 60s. 143617 was based out of Heaton TMD in Newcastle from new before being moved along with all the other members of the class to Cardiff Canton TMD between 1991 and 1992. In 1993 the fleet was split into two pools with one half covering the Cardiff Valleys and the other the South Wales and West Services. After Privatisation in 1997, the Wales and West pool were transferred to the new Wessex Trains franchise where they would soon be moved to St Philips Marsh TMD in Bristol. 143617 stayed based out of this depot under the ownership of First Great Western and was eventually cascaded down further west to Exeter TMD along with the other First Group 143's where it stayed working for Great Western Railway until its retirement in December 2020. 143617 formed part of the last train to be operated by a Class 143 under GWR on Monday 28th December 2020 when it operated the 21:36 Paignton to Exmouth service paired with 158769. 143617 was moved to St Philips Marsh TMD after being withdrawn from service and kept in storage here along with 143618 and 143619.
On the 16th November 2022 143617 was unloaded at Torrington Station making it the last of the class to enter preservation. On the 8th of April 2023 it was officially named after one of our founder members and former chairman Rod Garner who sadly passed away in September 2020.