Class 43 High-Speed Train, also known as the InterCity 125, is unveiled at National Railway Museum in York.
Britain's most influential modern locomotive, Class 43 no. 43002 Sir Kenneth Grange, is set to join the National Railway Museum’s collection after more than 40 years in service.
The Class 43 High-Speed Train (HST), also known as the InterCity 125, has been donated by Angel Trains and Great Western Railway.
The HST has been a familiar sight on the UK rail network since the first units were introduced in 1976 and the train quickly became the backbone of high-speed rail routes, reversing the fortunes of British Rail and sparking a renaissance in rail travel.
The locomotive is the first production HST and carries the original yellow and blue British Rail livery which led to the train’s nickname ‘the Flying Banana’.
The engine is officially named after the train’s designer Sir Kenneth Grange, who created the iconic wedge-shaped nose cone. As one of Britain's finest industrial designers, Kenneth’s streamlined design helped make the train a success with the public and the engine was officially named after him in 2016.
Built in the same year the National Railway Museum first opened in 1975, the HST was initially the fastest train in Europe and internationally, second only to the Japanese Bullet Train. The HST class still holds the world diesel speed record of 148mph which was set on 1 November 1987.
The HST power car is now on static public display at the centre of the National Railway Museum’s Great Hall, alongside an exhibition that tells the story of British Rail.
Andrew McLean, Assistant Director and Head Curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “This is one of our most significant acquisitions, and I am delighted to be able to display the HST power car, Sir Kenneth Grange here in York. It is fair to say that this train revolutionised rail travel and helped shape British society, bringing people and communities together.
“I would like to thank Angel Trains, Great Western Railway and Rail Operations Group for their generosity and hard work to bring this icon of British engineering into the national collection.”
Kevin Tribley, CEO at Angel Trains, said: “The InterCity 125 is a trailblazer of the British rail industry and we are delighted to support the National Railway Museum in preserving Sir Kenneth Grange’s iconic design for future generations to discover. Education is incredibly important to us at Angel Trains, as well as celebrating innovation and technology, so we are proud to donate this much-admired locomotive to the museum’s extensive collection.”
Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of Great Western Railway, said: “When introduced in 1976, these trains were a step change in InterCity travel across the country with new levels of comfort and faster journeys and the new Intercity Express Trains are building on the standards that these set.
“This particular locomotive has been a firm favourite since we returned it to its original livery in 2016 and we are really pleased to see this particular locomotive joining the National Railway Museum’s collection. Our team at Laira Depot in Plymouth have done a fantastic job in preparing it for display and as the last locomotive to leave Paddington in passenger service, its place in history is rightly deserved.”
The High-Speed Train has proved so popular, that more than 40 years after entering service, they can still be found hauling passenger services on routes across the UK.
Prior to entering preservation, power car Sir Kenneth Grange was owned by Angel Trains and operated by Great Western Railway (GWR) on the western route, terminating at London Paddington. On 18 May 2019, the power car was part of GWR’s very last regularly timetabled HST service from London Paddington to Taunton.
After more than 40 years’ in operation on the Great Western network, the High- Speed Train is being replaced with the latest Class 800 Intercity Express Trains manufactured in the UK by Hitachi.
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Notes to Editors
About the National Railway Museum
- The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts more than 780,000 visitors per year
- The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals as well as railway uniform, equipment, documents, records, artwork and photographs
- The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion in Shildon
- Admission to the National Railway Museum is free, for more information visit: www.railwaymuseum.org.uk
About Angel Trains
- Angel Trains is one of Britain’s leading train leasing companies and has been an owner and lessor of rolling stock since 1994. The company leases to 18 franchised operators and two open access operators in the UK.
- Angel Trains is passionate about financing and delivering high quality, modern assets to its customers and is committed to working with the Government, the Rail Delivery Group ("RDG") and other stakeholders to provide innovative funding solutions to modernise and improve the UK's train fleet.
- Angel Trains has invested £5.0 billion in new rolling stock and refurbishment programmes since 1994 and is one of the largest private investors in the industry.
- Website: www.angeltrains.co.uk
HST/InterCity 125 facts
- The first HST was introduced into service by British Rail in 1976
- Prior to entering service, it would take 3hr 35min to travel from London King’s Cross to Newcastle. With the HST, this journey was reduced to 2hr 54min
- The HST was made by British Rail Engineering at Crewe Works in Cheshire
- The InterCity 125, got its name from the train’s operational speed of 125mph
- The HST holds the world speed record of 148mph for a diesel-powered locomotive. This was set on 1 November 1987 by a train led by power car no. 43102
- The concept of HST was to provide a decent service on existing railways, without the need or expense of rebuilding or electrification
- Three HSTs have been written off in serious crashes and three are in service with Network Rail, carrying the distinctive all-yellow livery of the New Measurement Train
- The last HST power car was constructed in 1982, after 197 had been built
- The iconic design of the HST power car was created by Sir Kenneth Grange, who also designed cameras, typewriters, the Kenwood Mixer and parking meters
- HSTs have operated on the British main line railway network for 44 years