Originally the class mainly worked on locals out of Paddington. The can be seen in this role in a British Pathe newsreel.
In June '61 certain SR services between Reading, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton & Portsmouth were noted as being worked by Reading 117s.
In mid Oct '65 these vehicles were allocated to 81C:
59486/91-4/8/9/500/1/2/8/9/11/2/3/7/8 (+59478/9 - 118 trailers)
These were numbered as sets SHL300-19 (although there may not have been a 315) and used on Paddington - Slough - Reading locals.
These vehicles were allocated to 81D:
59484/5/7-90/5/6/7/503-7/10/4/5/6/9-22 (+59480 - a 118 trailer)
also W7254, W7804/13W!!
These were sets RDG 300-20 plus two, and used from Reading to Paddington/Oxford-Banbury/Westbury & Woking to Salisbury.
It was noted that with a few temporary changes, these sets (both at Reading and Southall) had retained thier original formations to this point. It is also noted that the converted hauled stock which had been previously used with the Cross-Country sets was now being used to strengthen these sets to 4-cars. At least four sets had corridor connections fitted by this time.
An early casualty was 51357 which was fire damaged around March 1968 and withdrawn from 81C in April 1968. 51403 suffered accident damage, recorded as being withdrawn from RG in April 1982, although it is believed to have been stripped an broken up at the depot in February of that year.
In the early '70s some sets left the London area going to Bristol, by the late '70s they could be found at Cardiff, and the early '80s Plymouth was also a base for some.
In the early '90s they could be found on the Gospel Oak - Barking services, based out of Old Oak Common. Some vehicles broke away from the WR, notably to the Birmingham Cross-City services. Based at Tyseley (with T3xx set numbers) some were facelifted and repainted into Regional Railways livery and given the matching 117 3xx set number. After electricifation some of these sets moved to Scotland.