InterCity 225

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InterCity 225
Virgin Trains East Coast class 91 91117.jpg
An InterCity 225 on the East Coast Main Line
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
BuilderBREL, GEC-Alsthom, Metro Cammell
Build date1988—1991 [1]
Total produced31 nine-carriage units [2]
 • UICBo′Bo′+2′2′+...+2′2′+2′2′
Performance figures
Maximum speed140 mph (225 km/h) (Design)
125 mph (201 km/h) (Service)
161.7 mph (260.2 km/h) (Record)
Power output6,300 horsepower (4.7 MW)
British Rail
National Express East Coast
East Coast
Virgin Trains East Coast
London North Eastern Railway
DispositionIn service
Project Mallard refurbished First Class carriage

The InterCity 225 is an electric high speed train in the United Kingdom, comprising a Class 91 electric locomotive, nine Mark 4 coaches and a Driving Van Trailer (DVT). The Class 91 locomotives were built by British Rail Engineering Limited's Crewe Works as a spin-off from the Advanced Passenger Train project,[3][4] which was abandoned during the 1980s, whilst the coaches and DVT were constructed by Metro Cammell in Birmingham and Breda (under sub-contract) in Italy, again borrowing heavily from the Advanced Passenger Train. The trains were designed to operate at up to 140 mph (225 km/h) in regular service, but are limited to 125 mph (200 km/h) principally due to a lack of cab signalling and the limitations of the current overhead line equipment. They are used on services from London King's Cross to Newark North Gate, Doncaster, Leeds, Bradford Forster Square, Skipton, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central.


The InterCity 225 entered service with InterCity on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) in 1989.[5]

They have also operated on the West Coast Main Line (WCML). In April 1992, one set a record of two hours, eight minutes between Manchester and London Euston, shaving 11 minutes off the 1966 record.[6] In 1993 trials were operated to Liverpool and Manchester in connection with the InterCity 250 project.[7]

In 1996, as part of the privatisation of British Rail, all InterCity 225s were sold to Eversholt Rail Group. Since then, the trains have been leased to all operators of the InterCity East Coast franchise, which is presently operated by London North Eastern Railway.

The InterCity 225 has a top service speed of 140 mph (225 km/h); during a test run in 1989 on Stoke Bank between Peterborough and Grantham an InterCity 225 reached 162 mph (260.7 km/h).[5] However, except on High Speed 1, which is equipped with cab signalling, British signalling does not allow trains to exceed 125 mph (201 km/h) in regular service, due to the impracticality of correctly observing lineside signals at high speed.

Between 2003 and 2005, with support from GNER, Bombardier Transportation, Alstom and others, HSBC Rail funded a complete rebuilding and refurbishment programme for both the Class 91 and Mark 4 coaches, called Project Mallard.


In June 2018, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) inherited all 31 InterCity 225 sets from previous operator, Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), as part of the franchise. At this point, LNER had intentions to begin replacing their sets with Class 800 bi-mode and Class 801 electric trains from the Hitachi A-train family, which are branded as Azuma's. The first Azuma entered service with LNER on 15 May 2019, allowing for the first withdrawal of an InterCity 225 set.[8][9] The withdrawals have gradually continued as more of the new Azuma trains have entered service and at the beginning of 2020, it was said that the final InterCity 225 sets will leave LNER's fleet by June 2020.[10] However, LNER confirmed via their Twitter on 29 January 2020 that a number of sets will remain in service with them to benefit their December 2021 timetable change.[11]

With LNER losing the majority of their InterCity 225 sets, it has been announced that other companies will be obtaining some of the sets. From May 2020, Grand Central will begin using InterCity 225s on their new London Euston to Blackpool North services with Class 90 locomotives hauling six-carriage sets.[12] Transport For Wales will lease twelve Mark 4 carriages to replace the current Mark 3 coaches in use on their Premier Service.[13] Prospective operator, Grand Union, are also proposing to operate InterCity 225s on London Paddington to Cardiff Central services from December 2020 and London Euston to Stirling services from May 2021.[14][15]

During their operation with VTEC in 2016, there were plans to retain six to eight sets with shorter rakes for a new London to Edinburgh service, even with the Azuma takeover.[16] However, having succeeded VTEC, LNER went ahead to introduce the new Azuma trains with no more plans in retaining any of the InterCity 225 sets due to high maintenance costs on the fleet.[17] In January 2020, LNER announced that a number of sets were to be retained anyway.[18]

Capacity and formation[edit]

The formation of the InterCity 225 sets is below:- [19]

  • Class 91 Electric Locomotive (North End)
  • Coach B - Standard Class - 76 Seats - WC
  • Coach C - Standard Class - 76 Seats - WC
  • Coach D - Standard Class - 76 Seats - WC
  • Coach E - Standard Class - 76 Seats - WC
  • Coach F - Standard Class - 72 Seats - Accessible Toilet
  • Coach H - Standard Class/Kitchen - 30 Seats - WC
  • Coach K - First Class - 43 Seats - WC + 2 Crew Areas
  • Coach L - First Class - 40 Seats - Accessible Toilet
  • Coach M - First Class - 46 Seats - WC
  • Driving Van Trailer (London End)

The total numbers of seats are 406 Standard and 129 First, giving the train an overall capacity of 535 seats.

Scale models[edit]

One of the first models of the IC225 in the UK was by Hornby Railways, after previously releasing an OO Gauge BR Class 91 locomotive in 1988.[20] In 1990 Hornby Railways launched its first OO Gauge models of BR MK4 rolling coach stock, consisting of a BR Mk4 Driving Van Trailer (DVT), three BR MK4 coaches, a Tourist Open Coach (TSO), a First Open Coach (FO), and a Catering Service Car (RFM). [21] Hornby Railways launched its first full model version containing a BR Class 91 locomotive, a BR MK4 Driving Van Trailer (DVT), and two MK4 Tourist Open Coaches as a complete train set in 1991.[22]



  1. ^, rolling stock: class 91, Retrieved on 04-07-2007
  2. ^ Oliver Keating, The Inter-city 225, Retrieved on 04-07-2007
  3. ^ "The Design and Development of the Class 91 Locomotive", P J Donnison and G R West, Main Line Railway Electrification Conference 1989 - Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, 1989.
  4. ^ "The design, manufacture and assembly of the British Rail Class 91, 25 kV 225 km/h locomotive", M L Broom and G W Smart, Proceedings of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers Vol. 205, 1990.
  5. ^ a b "Back to the future as history made with east coast rail icons". National Railway Museum. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  6. ^ New Record for West Coast Route The Railway Magazine issue 1094 June 1992 page 4
  7. ^ IC225 in West Coast Tests The Railway Magazine issue 1109 September 1993 page 8
  8. ^ "Hitachi Azuma Enters Service for LNER". Railway-News. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  9. ^ First LNER Mk4s taken to Worksop for storage Rail issue 880 5 June 2019 page 29
  10. ^ "FROM THE ARCHIVES: Traction transition: HST to Azuma". Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  11. ^ Railway, London North Eastern (29 January 2020). "If you're a fan of our IC225 trains, you can continue to enjoy them for a bit longer. We are retaining a number of them in order to deliver all of the benefits of our Dec 2021 timetable plans. Here is our favourite, For the Fallen, at York". @LNER. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  12. ^ 2020-02-20T16:48:00+00:00. "Grand Central prepares to launch London – Blackpool services". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  13. ^ Service Improvements Government of Wales
  14. ^ "Cardiff – London open access plan - Railway Gazette". 22 June 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Grand Union London to Stirling application" (PDF).
  16. ^ VTEC and FirstGroup granted East Coast Main Line paths Railway Gazette International 12 May 2016
  17. ^ "More new trains on LNER wish list". Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  18. ^ London North Eastern Railway [@LNER] (29 January 2020). "If you're a fan of our IC225 trains, you can continue to enjoy them for a bit longer. We are retaining a number of them in order to deliver all of the benefits of our Dec 2021 timetable plans. Here is our favourite, For the Fallen, at York Station" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Class 91 Bo-Bo Electric Locomotive". Hornby Railways Collector Guide. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Hornby 1990 Passenger Rolling Stock". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  22. ^ "1991 - InterCity 225 Express Train Set". Hornby Railways Collector Guide. Retrieved 31 January 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to British Rail Class 91 at Wikimedia Commons
Media related to British Rail Mk4 coaches at Wikimedia Commons
Media related to British Rail Mk4 DVT at Wikimedia Commons