Operations::British Rail Class 43 (HST)


Power::class    British::convert    Engines::paxman    Western::railway    Title::coast    Engine::service


The rear of First Great Western 43159 at Railfest 2012.

{{#invoke:main|main}} When Crewe Works built them, the InterCity 125 units were considered to be diesel multiple units, and were allocated Classes 253 and 254 for Western and Eastern Region services respectively. The locomotives were introduced in the Midland region later.

Until the HST's introduction, the maximum speed of British trains was limited to 100 mph (160 km/h). The increased speed and rapid acceleration and deceleration of the HST made it ideal for passenger use, and it slashed journey times around the country. The prototype InterCity 125 (power cars 43000 and 43001) set the world record for diesel traction at 143 mph (230 km/h) on 12 June 1973. An HST also holds the world speed record for a diesel train carrying passengers. On 27 September 1985, a special press run for the launch of a new Tees-Tyne Pullman service from Newcastle to London King's Cross, formed of a shortened 2+5 set, briefly touched {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} north of York.

During 1987, eight HST power cars were converted for use as driving van trailers (DVTs) with Class 91 locomotives during trials on the East Coast Main Line. The power cars were fitted with buffers and Time Division Multiplex equipment that allowed them to directly control a Class 91, and were moved over to the ECML where they were used on workings with Class 89 and then Class 91 locomotives from London to Leeds. After the Mk 4 stock had been delivered, the HST power cars had the TDM equipment removed, and then reverted to their normal duties. The power cars used for this project can be easily identified as they are still fitted with buffers. They were then transferred to Virgin Cross Country, and put in storage when Virgin replaced its HST fleet with Bombardier's Voyager (though Arriva, upon later taking over the franchise, acquired 10 power cars, 4 of which were buffered). Grand Central bought six of these for services from Sunderland to London, the remaining two having been integrated into Network Rail's New Measurement Train.

After the privatisation of British Rail the HST sets continued to be used. 194 of the 197 locomotives built remain in service, the most at any one point in history.

Fleet status

Status/Operator Image Number Notes
CrossCountry CrossCountry-HST-at-BHM.jpg citation CitationClass=book


All Class 43/2 with MTU engines.
Virgin Trains East Coast York - VTEC 43257 down train.JPG 32<ref name="Ian Allan Publishing"/> All Class 43/2 with MTU engines.
East Midlands Trains EMT HST 43058 Leicester AB1.JPG 24 All Class 43/0 with Paxman VP185 engines.
Great Western Railway 43021 at Paddington A.jpg 119<ref name="Ian Allan Publishing"/> All Class 43/0 with MTU engines and Automatic Train Protection.
Grand Central Railway GrandCentral43465.jpg 6 All buffered from previous use as surrogate DVTs. MTU engines.
Network Rail 43062 at Kings Cross 1.jpg 3 New Measurement Train. Pool consists of 43013, 014, 062. All are in "Flying Banana" Network Rail livery, fitted with external video cameras and MTU engines. 013 and 014 buffered from previous use as surrogate DVTs.
Scrapped 3
  • 43173 - written off in the Southall crash of 19 September 1997, being disposed of after completion of the inquiry into the accident. Cut up by Serco at MOD Shoeburyness.
  • 43011 - written off in the Ladbroke Grove crash of 5 October 1999, being disposed of after completion of the inquiry into the accident. Cut up by Sims Metals at Crewe Works in June 2002.
  • 43019 - written off in the Ufton Nervet level crossing collision of 6 November 2004. Cut up by Sims Metals of Beeston in July 2005. (Power car 43139 is dedicated to the driver, Stanley Martin, 54, of Torquay, Devon who perished in the incident.)

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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