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Buffered units::British Rail Class 43 (HST)

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43468 Departs London King's Cross

In 1987, as electrification of the East Coast Main Line was under way, British Rail realised that the new Mk4 carriages for the Class 89 and 91 locomotives were not going to be finished in time for the introduction of electric services on the East Coast Main Line so, in late 1987, a total of eight Eastern Region power cars (Numbers 43013/014/065/067/068/080/084/123) conversions (on 43014/123) were carried out at the Derby Engineering Development Unit, whilst the other six (43013/065/067/068/080/084) were converted by the diesel repair shop at Stratford to have the lower valancing removed and buffers fitted.

After being fitted with buffers, these power cars began work as surrogate DVTs to work with the Class 91s and 89. The locomotives, working with conventional Mk3 stock, worked on the line between 1987 and 1991, when the last Class 91 locomotives entered service. As well as buffers being fitted to these powercars, special remote control equipment was also added to the locomotives so they could be controlled by the locomotive at the front. Once these locomotives left DVT duties, the remote equipment was removed.

After privatisation, these power cars joined the Virgin Trains fleet working both Virgin Cross-Country and Virgin West Coast routes, where they displaced loco-hauled stock. All the units were repainted from their original Intercity colours to the Virgin Red livery. Later, Virgin Trains gave up the HSTs when new Virgin Voyager units were delivered, and nearly all of these power cars went into storage at Long Marston yard.

After years of storage, several of the powercars were bought by Midland Mainline to be part of 'Project Rio', special services running from St Pancras Station to Manchester while major engineering works were undertaken on the West Coast Main Line. These units were kept in the de-branded Virgin Trains livery throughout their time with Midland Mainline and put back in storage once Project Rio had finished in 2006.

43013 and 43014 joined Network Rail's New Measurement Train in 2003 and have continued to work with this service ever since. Both of these units have now had MTU engines fitted.

43080 was leased to GNER as a one-off powercar, working as a spare unit that could be easily called for if a HST failed. For most of its time with GNER, it was based at Craigentinny yard in Edinburgh and was painted into GNER colours. This locomotive's lease ended in 2006 and it was returned to storage at Long Marston.

In 2007, the Train Operating Company Grand Central Trains took an interest in the stored powercars and amalgamated them into their fleet of three HST sets. In total, 43065/067/068/080/084/123 were bought by the company and now run high speed services between Sunderland and London Kings Cross. HSTs 43084 and 43123 were the final operational Paxman Valenta power cars, being re-engined in 2010 with the MTU treatment. While at the works being re-engined, Grand Central added the orange stripe that appears on their Class 180 units, re-painted the front ends (this making them look more like the non-buffered HSTs), and re-numbered the power cars into the four-hundreds. These are the current numbers: 43465 (065)/467 (067)/468 (068)/480 (080)/484 (084)/423 (123). The re-numbering of 43123 was confusing to some enthusiasts, as they sometimes believed it was originally 43023 because 400 was added to the numbers of the other power cars, yet only 300 to this particular power car.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}


British Rail Class 43 (HST) sections
Intro  History and background  Development and design  Buffered units  Engines  Life extension  Prototype  Operations  Replacement  See also  References  External links  

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