British Rail Class 252

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British Rail Class 252
252001 - weston s mare - 1975.jpg
Prototype HST 252 001 at Weston-super-Mare in 1975.
Manufacturer BREL Crewe
Family name HST
Constructed 1972
Number built 1 trainset
Number in service 0
Formation Two power cars flanking 10 Mark 3 coaches
Fleet numbers 252 001
Operator(s) British Rail Western Region
Maximum speed 143.2 mph (230.5 km/h)
Prime mover(s) Paxman Valenta 12RP200L, 2 off
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
252 001 arriving at Reading, 1975.
One of the first Mk3 coaches No:E12000 to be delivered to RTC, Derby in the summer of 1972

Class 252 was the classification allocated to the prototype High Speed Train unit, numbered 252001.


When originally built, in 1972, the prototype High Speed Train (HST) units were considered to be formed of two locomotives at either end of a rake of carriages. As a result, the power cars were designated Class 41 and numbered 41001/41002, while the carriages were given numbers in the new Mark 3 carriage number series.

Shortly after their introduction, it was decided to classify the unit as a Diesel Electric Multiple Unit. It was allocated Class 252, and the whole formation was renumbered into a new carriage number series for HST and Advanced Passenger Train vehicles (4xxxx). Two coaches were not included in the renumbering (one Trailer First and one Trailer Second), as these were transferred for use in the Royal Train as part of its upgrade before Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. The power cars were allocated numbers in the 43xxx series, and the two prototype cars took the numbers 43000/43001. Thus, the production-run cars were numbered from 43002 onwards.

Ironically, the situation reversed again in the 1980s, and the production power cars were then considered to be class 43, as this time round no power car or carriage was renumbered. By this time, the prototype cars had been transferred into departmental (non-revenue earning) service and had taken numbers in the departmental carriage 975xxx series, so they were not involved in this redesignation, and they retained their departmental carriage numbers rather than being transferred to the departmental locomotive list.

The former 41002/43001 has now been scrapped, but the other prototype loco, 41001/43000, has been preserved as part of the National Collection, held at the National Railway Museum, York. Of the passenger-carrying vehicles, all remain in use on the mainline, except for one of the former restaurant cars, which was scrapped in 1993, whilst many other vehicles since been scrapped due to other accidents. The power car can sometimes be seen while entering York from the northbound coming from the Newcastle area.

The 125 group, under the name of "Project Miller" have undertaken to bring the remaining prototype powercar 41001 back to life. This entails a complete restoration of the vehicle and a fitment of a Paxman Valenta V12 Engine. The engine was successfully started in July 2013, and on 31 May 2014 the loco moved under its own power for the first time in over 30 years.[1]


The vehicles that made up the prototype High Speed Train are listed below, together with their current identity and use:

Key: In service Special service Scrapped Preserved Departmental
First Number Second Number Type Converted to Current Location
10000 40000 Trailer Buffet (TRSB) Departmental, 975984 New Measurement Train
10100 40500 Trailer Kitchen (TRUK) Departmental, 977089 Scrapped (1993)
11000 41000 Trailer First (TF) Departmental, 975814 New Measurement Train
11001 - Trailer First (TF) Royal Train, 2903 In service
11002 41001 Trailer First (TF) Production TF, 41170 In service
11003 41002 Trailer First (TF) Production TF, 41174 In service, as TS 42357
12000 42000 Trailer Second (TS) Production TF, 41172 In service, as TS 42355
12001 - Trailer Second (TS) Royal Train, 2904 In service
12002 42001 Trailer Second (TS) Production TF, 41171 In service, as TS 42353
12003 42002 Trailer Second (TS) Production TF, 41173 In service, as TS 42356
41001 43000 Driving Motor Brake (DMB) Departmental, 975812 Preserved, National Railway Museum
To 125 group for restoration
41002 43001 Driving Motor Brake (DMB) Departmental, 975813 Scrapped (1990)


  1. ^ "41001 Returns - Prototype HST Test Runs at GCRN". KBRail Videos (YouTube). 2014-06-01. Retrieved 2016-11-14. 

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