British Rail Class 43 (HST)
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|British Rail Class 43 (HST)|
Powercar 43002 'Sir Kenneth Grange' restored to the original Intercity 125 livery in May 2016
The British Rail Class 43 (HST) is the TOPS classification used for the InterCity 125 High Speed Train (formerly classes 253 and 254) power cars, built by British Rail Engineering Limited from 1975 to 1982, and in service in the UK since 1976.
The class is officially the fastest diesel locomotive in the world, with an absolute maximum speed of 148 mph (238 km/h), and a regular service speed of 125 mph (201 km/h). The record run was led by 43102 and trailed by 43159.
History and background
In the early 1970s, the British Railways Board made the decision to replace its main-line express diesel traction. Financial limitations were tight, so mass electrification was not possible. As a result, a new generation of high-speed diesel trains had to be developed.
Experience with the high-speed Class 55 Deltic locomotives had shown that a low axle weight was essential to avoid damage to the track at sustained high speed, and that high-speed engines were the only way to provide a good enough power-to-weight ratio for diesels. To power the HST at up to 125 mph (201 km/h), each power car had a new diesel engine, the 12-cylinder Paxman Valenta, running at 1,500 rpm and developing 2,250 bhp (1,680 kW). The 70-tonne weight of the power car gave it a 17.5-tonne (per-)axle loading.
Development and design
The prototype set was developed at the Railway Technical Centre, Derby, the power cars having been constructed by British Rail Engineering Limited's (BREL) Crewe Works and the British Rail Mark 3 passenger cars by BREL's Derby Litchurch Lane Works. The engine used in the prototype power cars was the Paxman 'Valenta' 12RP200L, which developed 2,250 horsepower (1,680 kW). The electrical equipment was supplied by Brush. The power cars had a main driver's position at one aerodynamically shaped end with the other flat and gangwayed end having only an auxiliary driving position for shunting purposes.
The two prototype power cars emerged from the works in June and August 1972 and were initially numbered 41001 and 41002, but after a short period the entire set, including the passenger coaches, became reclassified as a diesel-electric multiple unit: British Rail Class 252. The power cars were given the coaching stock numbers 43000 and 43001. After proving trials on the Eastern Region the prototype High Speed Diesel Train (HSDT) was transferred to the Western Region, where it was deployed on Paddington Bristol/Weston-super-Mare services.
In May 2011 the National Railway Museum (NRM) announced that the remaining HST prototype power car 41001 would undergo full restoration work. A long-term loan was agreed between the NRM and the 125 Group of volunteers for the locomotive and a Paxman Valenta RP200L engine. The replacement engine (no. S508) was required as the original Valenta engine (no. S183) had been sectioned for display purposes. The S508 engine was lifted into the locomotive at Neville Hill TMD on 29 June 2012. The loan agreement ended in November 2019 and 41001 returned to the NRM.
The design was successful and led to production orders being placed for similar trains for the Western, Eastern, Scottish and London Midland Regions. The production power cars featured a redesigned front end without conventional buffers, although a rigid drawbar can be used to connect an HST to an ordinary locomotive. Following the introduction of production HST sets, the prototype unit was withdrawn, the power cars passing to the Research Division at Derby. Of the ten prototype coaches, two were adapted for use in the Royal Train, five were modified for use with the production HSTs, and three were transferred to Departmental stock.
The 197 power cars produced are numbered 43002-43198. 43001 was applied to the second of the two prototype power cars, while the first of the pair (now preserved and operational at the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) became 43000, which is unusual because BR TOPS classification numbered its locomotives from 001 upwards (this was because it was not, at the time, classified as a locomotive).
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In 1987, as electrification of the East Coast Main Line was under way, British Rail realised that the new Mark 4 carriages for the Class 89 and Class 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 CrossCountry and Virgin Trains 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 withdrew the HSTs when new Class 220 and 221 units were delivered, and nearly all of these power cars went into storage at Long Marston.
After years of storage, several of the powercars were bought by Midland Mainline to be part of Project Rio, special services running from London St Pancras 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, Grand Central took an interest in the stored power cars and amalgamated them into its 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 its Class 180 units, re-painted the front ends (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).
British Rail experimented with Mirrlees Blackstone MB190 engines in four Western region examples (43167–43170) between 1987 and 1996, but this experiment was unsuccessful and the standard Paxman Valenta engines re-installed. These four locomotives have since all been re-engined with the MTU 16V4000 engines. 43167 is now 43367 and operates with London North Eastern Railway, whilst 43168-43170 are still in service, in the former Western region area under Great Western Railway
Paxman began development of the Valenta's successor, the VP185, in 1987. The suggestion that British Rail participate in a trial of the new VP185 engine in the IC125 was first mooted in January 1991, and a formal agreement for the trial was signed in May 1993.
A qualifying requirement for the trial was that the engine should undergo a British Rail Type Test which was carried out between December 1993 and February 1994. The test involved completion of 3,000 cycles, each of 10 minutes duration, with four minutes at the maximum power of 2,611 kW (3,501 bhp) and six minutes at idle, simulating the typical 'on-off' nature of IC125 duty. The test was much more severe than operational duty, where the train operates at a maximum of 1,678 kW (2,250 bhp). The successful results of the test cleared the way for installation of a VP185 in Power Car 43170 at Plymouth Laira Depot for in-service trials in the summer of 1994. Power car 43170 entered service on 22 September 1994. 43170 was given the nameplate "Edward Paxman".[clarification needed]
During the late 1990s twenty-five HST power cars were re-engined with Paxman 12VP185L engines in order to improve fuel consumption and reduce emissions.
The very last VP185 engine to be manufactured at Paxman's Colchester Works was despatched from the factory on 15 September 2003 as part of a program to convert 14 Midland Mainline power cars to VP185 engines to supplement the four already converted during 1994/95, and this led to 43043/045/048-050/052/055/060/061/072/073/076/082 joining 43047/059/074/075 with this engine type.
Today there are no production power cars fitted with a Paxman Valenta engine, although the 125 Group have reinstalled a Paxman Valenta in the surviving prototype powercar, 41001 (formerly 43000).
Diesel-battery hybrid trial
In 2007 Brush Traction and Hitachi equipped Paxman Valenta powered 43089 and a semi-permanently coupled Mark 3 coach with a diesel-battery hybrid power system for experimental trials. The power car was named "Hayabusa" (Hayabusa, はやぶさ, Japanese for Peregrine falcon, project name 'V-Train 2'). It returned to normal service with East Midlands Trains.
The HST, having been in operation since the late 1970s, is due for replacement by the Hitachi Super Express. The development cycle for the replacement series is such that the existing fleet may be required to operate through to 2019 or beyond.
- During 2005, two Class 43 power cars (43004 and 43009) operated by First Great Western were fitted with new MTU V16 4000 engines before being tested in passenger operation on the Great Western Line. In December 2005, First announced that all its power cars would receive the MTU engine. The MTU engine offers improvements over the existing Paxman 12RP200 'Valenta' engines, with reduced noise, smoke and exhaust emissions, improved reliability and fuel efficiency.
- East Coast also re-engined its fleet with MTU engines, a process begun under its predecessor GNER. East Coast's fleet of re-engined power cars have been renumbered into the 432xx and 433xx series by adding 200 to the existing power car number.
- East Midlands Trains stated that it would install Paxman VP185 engines in all its powercars before the end of its franchise. It has since completed this operation, though the re-engined power cars retain their original numbers
- Grand Central had fitted their HST fleet with MTU engines, with the first pair entering service on 21 September 2010; they have also been repainted with an orange stripe to match Grand Central's Class 180s. 43123 was the final Valenta powercar; it now carries a plaque reading "Valenta 1972-2010". The final passenger service of a Valenta engined power car was on 19 December 2010. On 22 December 2010 the Valenta was used in four farewell tours between York and Sunderland using 43123. All power cars have been re-engined by Brush Traction, Loughborough, and have been renumbered in the 43/4 range.
- CrossCountry's first CrossCountry-liveried HST powercar, 43301 (formerly 43101) was released from its overhaul at Brush Traction, Loughborough on 16 July 2008. To identify its fleet, CrossCountry is renumbering all its HST units by adding an extra 200 to the old number.
- Network Rail's New Measurement Train is a specially converted InterCity 125. It can check the condition of railway lines over a 13-week cycle. On the West Coast Main Line, care is taken so tilting trains can safely run. It measures contact between wheels, rails and overhead power lines and is equipped with lasers, video cameras and other instruments. It was launched in 2003, but the vehicles used for it are older. Its yellow livery has earned it the nickname "The Flying Banana", which was previously used for older High Speed Trains with a similar livery.
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 144 mph (232 km/h) 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 Voyagers (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. This train is being replaced by IET Class 801 and Class 802. Bi mode trains.
After the privatisation of British Rail the HST sets continued to be used. 194 of the 197 locomotives built remain in service. The three units that are not in service, 43173, 43011 and 43019, were written off by fatal rail accidents in 1997, 1999 and 2004 respectively.
All HSTs operating with Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railway were replaced by Class 800/801/802s in 2018/2019. Twenty-seven sets each with four or five carriages moved from Great Western Railway to Abellio ScotRail and be refurbished with controlled emission tanks and plug automatic doors. They will operate on services from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Aberdeen and Inverness. The first two were delivered to Craigentinny TMD for crew training in September 2017. The first entered service in October 2018.
|Abellio ScotRail||55||43003, 43012, 43015, 43021, 43026, 43028, 43030-43037, 43124-43152, 43163-43164, 43168-43169, 43175-43177, 43179, 43181-43183, 43185*||The first of 54 former Great Western Railway power cars entered service in October 2018 on InterCity routes from Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street to Aberdeen and Inverness.|
*used for spare parts.
|Colas Rail||2||43050, 43060.||2 Ex EMR power cars to be repainted and used for test train purposes.|
|CrossCountry||12||43207-43208, 43239, 43285, 43301, 43303-43304, 43321, 43357, 43366, 43378, 43384||12 Class 43/0 powercars, all with MTU engines. Renumbered into the 432xx and 433xx on installation of MTU engines by adding 200 to their original number.|
|East Midlands Railway||28||43047, 43049, 43073, 43238, 43251, 43257, 43272, 43274, 43277, 43290, 43295, 43296, 43299, 43302, 43305-43310, 43314, 43316-43320, 43423, 43465, 43467-43468, 43480, 43484||3 Class 43/0 powercars, all with Paxman VP185 engines. Retained their original numbers on installation of VP185 engines.|
23 Class 43/0 powercars, all with MTU engines. Former London North Eastern Railway powercars, only 43238, 43251, 43257, 43295-296, 43299, 43305, 43307, 43309-310, 43316-320 in service as of September 2020.
6 Class 43/4s with MTU engines, buffered from previous use as surrogate DVTs.
|Great Western Railway||33||43004-43005, 43009-43010, 43016, 43022, 43040-43042, 43088, 43092-43094, 43097-43098, 43122, 43153-43156*, 43158, 43160, 43162*, 43170-43172, 43186-43189, 43192, 43194, 43198||These will be retained by GWR to operate local West of England services, and will be known as “Castle Class” sets. They are now operating in a 2+4 formation.|
Four extra PCs (43088, 43156, 43160 and 43162) have been bought from Porterbrook leasing as part of a company review and may be used on additional 2+4 sets.
|Locomotive Services Limited||5||43046, 43055, 43058-59, 43083||Former East Midlands Railway powercars.|
|Network Rail||3||43013, 43014, 43062||Used for the New Measurement Train. All are in Network Rail's yellow livery, fitted with external video cameras and MTU engines.|
43013 and 43014 are buffered from previous use as surrogate DVTs. Retained their original numbers on installation of MTU engines.
|Off-lease / Stored||47||
|Preserved||2||43002, 43018||43002 is now at the National Railway Museum. 43018 is now at Crewe Heritage Centre. Former Great Western Railway powercar.|
|Scrapped||3||43011, 43019, 43173||
|Original Number||New Number||Name||Operator||Previous Operator||Status||Notes|
|43002||–||Sir Kenneth Grange||National Railway Museum||Great Western Railway||Preserved||Preserved at the National Railway Museum. Part of the National Collection.|
|43003||–||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||In Service||Formerly Isambard Kingdom Brunel|
|43004||Caerphilly Castle||Great Western Railway|
|43006||43206||-||London North Eastern Railway||Stored||Used in LNER HST charily railtour along with 43312.|
Stored at Ely
|43008||43208||CrossCountry||London North Eastern Railway||Stored||Formerly Lincolnshire Echo.|
Stored at Eastleigh Works
|43009||–||Great Western Railway||Stored|
|43011||–||–||First Great Western||Scrapped||Scrapped after the Ladbroke Grove Rail Crash.|
|43012||–||Abellio ScotRail||In service|
|43013||The Railway Observer||Network Rail||Used for the New Measurement Train. Buffered.|
|43014||Mark Carne OBE|
|43016||Great Western Railway|
|43017||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Ely.|
|43018||–||Great Western Railway||Preserved||Preserved at Crewe Heritage Centre.|
|43019||–||–||First Great Western||Scrapped||Scrapped after the Ufton Nervet Rail Crash.|
|43020||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Ely|
|43021||-||Abellio ScotRail||In service|
|43022||Great Western Railway|
|43023||-||-||Great Western Railway||Stored|
|43024||Stored at Ely.|
|43026||-||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43027||-||-||Great Western Railway||Stored|
|43028||-||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43030||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||Stored||Involved in the Stonehaven derailment, stored at Glasgow Works|
|43031||–||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43033||Formerly Driver Brian Cooper|
|43038||43238||East Midlands Railway||London North Eastern Railway|
|43039||43239||CrossCountry||London North Eastern Railway||Stored||Stored at Eastleigh Works|
|43040||-||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43041||St Catherine's Castle|
|43043||-||-||East Midlands Railway||Stored|
|43045||-||East Midlands Railway||In service|
|43046||Locomotive Services Limited||East Midlands Railway||Stored|
|43047||-||East Midlands Railway||In service|
|43048||T.C.B. Miller MBE||Will be donated to 125 Group in 2020|
|43050||Colas Rail||East Midlands Railway|
|43051||43251||East Midlands Railway||London North Eastern Railway|
|43052||–||-||East Midlands Railway||Stored|
|43053||Great Western Railway||Stored at Long Marston.|
|43054||East Midlands Railway|
|43055||–||Locomotive Services Limited||East Midlands Railway||Stored|
|43056||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston.|
|43057||43257||East Midlands Railway||London North Eastern Railway||In service||Formerly Bounds Green|
|43058||–||Locomotive Services Limited||East Midlands Railway|
|43061||–||East Midlands Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston awaiting scrapping.|
|43062||-||John Armitt||Network Rail||In service||Used for the New Measurement Train.|
|43063||Great Western Railway|
|43064||-||-||East Midlands Railway||Stored|
|43065||43465||East Midlands Railway||Grand Central||In service||Buffered.|
|43066||–||-||East Midlands Railway||Stored|
|43067||43467||Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
British Transport Police Nottingham
|East Midlands Railway||Grand Central||In service||Buffered.|
One name on each side. Named after the crews responding to the Nottingham station fire on 12 January 2018.
|43069||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston.|
|43072||43272||East Midlands Railway||London North Eastern Railway||In service|
|43074||43274||East Midlands Railway||London North Eastern Railway||Stored|
|43075||–||-||East Midlands Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston awaiting scrapping.|
|43076||East Midlands Railway||In service|
|43077||43277||London North Eastern Railway|
|43078||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston.|
|43080||43480||West Hampstead PSB||East Midlands Railway||Grand Central||In service||Buffered.|
|43082||-||East Midlands Railway||Stored||Formerly Railway Children - Fighting for street children|
|43083||Locomotive Services Limited||East Midlands Railway||Stored|
|43084||43484||East Midlands Railway||Grand Central||In service||Buffered.|
|43086||–||-||Great Western Railway||Stored|
|43087||Stored at Long Marston.|
|43088||Great Western Railway|
|43089||East Midlands Railway||In service|
|43090||43290||London North Eastern Railway|
|43091||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston.|
|43092||–||Cromwell's Castle||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43093||Old Oak Common HST Depot 1976-2018|
|43094||St Mawes Castle|
|43095||43295||East Midlands Railway||London North Eastern Railway|
|43097||–||Castle Drogo||Great Western Railway||Formerly Environment Agency|
|43099||43299||East Midlands Railway||London North Eastern Railway|
|43100||43300||-||London North Eastern Railway||Stored|
|43102||43302||World Speed Record - HST||East Midlands Railway||London North Eastern Railway||Along with 43159, 43102 holds the world record for the fastest diesel locomotive in the world, to be preserved at National Railway Museum|
|43103||43303||CrossCountry||London North Eastern Railway|
|43105||43305||East Midlands Railway|
|43108||43308||Formerly BBC Television Railwatch later named Highland Chieftain|
|43111||43311||-||London North Eastern Railway||Stored|
|43112||43312||Used in LNER HST charily railtour along with 43206.|
Stored at Ely
|43113||43313||Damaged in a collision on 31 October 2019.|
|43114||43314||East Midlands Railway||In service|
|43115||43315||-||London North Eastern Railway||Stored|
|43116||43316||East Midlands Railway||In service|
|43118||43318||Celebrating Forty Years|
|43122||–||Dunster Castle||Great Western Railway|
|43123||43423||Valenta 1972-2010||East Midlands Railway||Grand Central||Buffered.|
|43124||–||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway|
|43139||Formerly Driver Stan Martin|
|43140||–||–||Abellio ScotRail||Stored||Involved in the Stonehaven derailment, stored at Glasgow Works|
|43141||–||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43151||Formerly known as Blue Peter II|
|43153||Chun Castle||Great Western Railway|
|43156||Great Western Railway||Stored||Might be used on new 2+4 sets|
|43157||43357||Kingswear Castle||CrossCountry||In service|
|43158||–||Great Western Railway|
|43159||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston.|
Along with 43102, 43159 holds the world record for the fastest diesel locomotive in the world.
|43160||Great Western Railway|
|43161||-||Great Western Railway|
|43162||Great Western Railway||Might be used on new 2+4 sets|
|43163||-||Abellio ScotRail||In service||Involved in the Southall Rail Crash.|
|43165||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Ely|
|43167||43367||London North Eastern Railway||Stored||Formerly Deltic 50 1965-2005|
|43168||–||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43170||Chepstow Castle||Great Western Railway|
|43171||-||Great Western Railway||Under overhaul at Doncaster Works|
|43172||Formerly Harry Patch|
|43173||–||–||Great Western Trains||Scrapped||Scrapped after the Southall Rail Crash.|
|43174||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Ely.|
|43175||–||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43179||–||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway|
|43180||–||-||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Landore.|
|43181||–||Abellio ScotRail||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43185||–||-||Great Western Railway||Stored||Formerly Great Western|
stored at Ely
|43186||–||Taunton Castle||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43187||Y Cymru The Welshman|
Y Cymru The Welshman / Geraint Thomas
|43190||-||Great Western Railway||Stored|
|43191||Trematon Castle||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43193||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston.|
|43194||–||Okehampton Castle||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43195||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored as a source of spare parts after hitting a tree.|
|43196||–||Great Western Railway||In service|
|43197||–||–||Great Western Railway||Stored||Stored at Long Marston.|
|43198||–||Driver Brian Cooper 15 June 1947 - 5 October 1999
Driver Stan Martin 25 June 1950 - 6 November 2004.
|Great Western Railway||In service||One name on each side. Formerly Oxfordshire 2007.|
On 2 May 2016 an open day was held at Bristol St Philip's Marsh depot with a line up of Class 43s from each operator (except Cross Country) to celebrate the HST's fortieth anniversary. Several locomotives and passenger trains also appeared, such as 150 247 and 166 214 both in their new GWR liveries, 158 798 in its Springboard Opportunity Group livery and the prototype Class 41 HST. At the event, powercar 43002 (Numbered 253 001 as a Diesel Multiple Unit) was unveiled in original Intercity 125 livery, and named Sir Kenneth Grange after the Class 43's bodyshell designer. On 2 October 2016, powercar 43185 had been unveiled in InterCity Swallow livery. Both were operated by Great Western Railway (First Great Western) and 43002 is now preserved.
There have also been four serious incidents involving Class 43s; these accidents resulted in three power cars being written off. A fourth sustained severe damage in 2020, but has not yet been officially written off.
- Southall rail crash: on 19 September 1997, 43173 leading a Swansea to London Paddington service which failed to stop at a red signal, which resulted in a high-speed collision with a freight train.
- Ladbroke Grove rail crash: on 5 October 1999, a British Rail Class 165 unit 165 115, passed a signal set at danger while leaving London Paddington on a Thames Trains service. This resulted in a serious collision with 43011, forming a London-bound HST service.
- Ufton Nervet rail crash: on 6 November 2004, 43019 leading a London to Plymouth service, collided with a car on the Ufton Nervet level crossing. The impact with the car resulted in a serious derailment which killed six people aboard the train, including the driver.
- Stonehaven derailment: on 12 August 2020, 43140 leading an Abellio ScotRail service struck a landslide near Stonehaven on the Dundee-Aberdeen line, derailing the train and killing three.
There have been minor incidents involving Class 43s, among which have been:
- On 28 August 1979, power car 43110 derailed south of Northallerton. The cause was attributed to low gearbox oil lubricant which caused the pinion to fail and lock the leading wheels on the train in place. With the rear power car pushing the train, this caused the locked wheels to skid, wearing a groove which developed false flanges on their outsides, one of which struck the points south of the station, which buckled the rail.
- On 16 March 1986, power car 43118 received collision damage after running through a buffer stop and derailing, while leaving Neville Hill TMD.
- On 20 August 2017, 43188 partly derailed on departure at Paddington while forming the rear power car of the 11:57 Great Western Railway service to Penzance. This was due to a track fault.
- On 31 December 2017, 43195 hit a tree near Hemerdon, Plymouth.
- On 17 April 2018, 43138 suffered damage due to an engine fire whilst at Penzance station.
- On 6 April 2019, 43045 caught fire at Leicester whilst working 1B53 1445 Nottingham-London St Pancras.
- On 13 June 2019, 43054 collided with aggregate that had been washed-out from a cutting slope near Corby, Northamptonshire.
- On 13 November 2019, 43300 collided with an LNER Class 800 Azuma at Neville Hill TMD, Leeds.
Powercar 43160 had two minor incidents, which happened at the South West England region.
- On 3 April 2016, the powercar was involved in what was described as a 'low impact' collision at Plymouth railway station. A local commuter service collided with a Plymouth to London Paddington train at low speed and the powercar received damage to its nose and valancing.
- On 14 September 2017, around 1 year and 5 months after the 'low impact' collision incident, the powercar was severely damaged by a fire in Exeter.
Built between 1975 and 1982, the fleet is now in its fifth decade, and replacements for the High Speed Train are currently being built. This project, the Intercity Express Programme is being spearheaded by the Department for Transport. A consortium headed by Hitachi has designed and is building the replacement Hitachi Super Express Train. Various formations are being built; both electric and bi-mode (electro-diesel) versions in 5 or 9 carriage lengths. The initial batches will replace HSTs on the Great Western Main Line and East Coast Main Lines.
On the Greater Western franchise, the last of the full length HSTs was withdrawn in June 2019. Between twelve and twenty HST sets were originally to be retained and refurbished to carry on providing services between London, Devon and Cornwall, where no electrification was planned, and where the Class 800's engines would not be capable of negotiating the steep gradients along the South Devon Banks, through to the mid-2020s. A report published in 2011 concluded that the Mark 3 coaches could remain in service as late as 2035 with some minor rewiring and enhancements required under disability legislation, however, it was announced in March 2015 that the HSTs would be replaced with the Class 802s, a more powerful derivative of the bi-mode Class 800s.
Initially, high-speed Bombardier Voyager and Alstom Class 180 (Adelante) replaced numerous HSTs, but all locomotives and sets have been brought back into service as a result of increasing demand. Some Great Western sets were cascaded to Abellio ScotRail to replace the Class 170 units while others were retained by GWR to operate local services.
Grand Central railway leased five more Class 180 units cascaded from Great Western Railway to replace their HST trains and increase their overall fleet size. This in turn allowed the HSTs to be cascaded to East Midlands Trains. The East Midlands Trains sets were passed to the new East Midlands Railway franchise which announced it would replace them with Class 810 bi-mode units in the early 2020s.
The National Railway Museum in York has preserved 43002. The Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board has nominated 43302 (43102) for preservation as holder of the record for being the fastest diesel locomotive on the planet.
Angel Trains has donated 43018 to Crewe Heritage Centre. Porterbrook has donated 43048 and 43089 to the 125 Group. Both will move to the group when their lease ends with East Midlands Railway. Locomotive Services Limited has saved three powercars, 43046, 43055 and 43083 along with a full set of Mark 3 coaches for use on excursion trains.
- InterCity 125 - Two Class 43 power cars sandwiching a rake of Mark 3 coaching stock.
- Mark 3 coaching stock - Coaching stock developed for the HST.
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- XPT (Express Passenger Train) - Australian high-speed train whose design was derived from the HST.
- Intercity Express Programme - New high-speed train intended to replace the InterCity 125.
- Passenger locomotives in use in the UK
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