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InterCity 125: Sir Kenneth Grange

Named after its legendary designer, this 'flying banana' is a beautifully preserved example of the High Speed Train which blazed a trail in 1976 and remains the world's fastest diesel locomotive.

A feat of British engineering

Sir Kenneth Grange is the very first production Class 43 High Speed Train (HST). More commonly known as the InterCity 125, this locomotive was built in 1975, the same year the National Railway Museum opened.

Considered Britain's most influential modern loco, these powerful engines—which achieved a world-record 148mph top speed—quickly formed the backbone of Britain's high-speed rail routes and revived interest in rail travel after years in the doldrums.

Curator with a Camera

Anthony Coulls, Senior Curator of Rail Transport and Technology, takes you on an in-depth tour of the interior and exterior of our Class 43 High Speed Train power car and tells the story of this impactful locomotive.

About the designer

Class 43 no. 43002 was named after its designer Sir Kenneth Grange in 2016, when it also returned to its original blue and yellow livery.

Sir Kenneth created the loco's iconic, aerodynamic wedge-shaped nose cone. His design feats don't end there, though—he was also involved in the design of the Kenwood food mixer, Kodak Instamatic camera and Royal Mail post boxes, to name just a few.

How it came to us

As well as being the first InterCity 125 produced, Sir Kenneth Grange was the last 125 to operate a passenger service before this type of locomotive was retired from the railways.

Angel Trains and Great Western Railway generously donated the power car to the museum after its working life was concluded in 2019.

Gallery

Part of the Science Museum Group