British Rail InterCity 125

The InterCity 125 (brand name used by the former British Rail), or the HST, short for High Speed Train, is a light-weight push-pull diesel-electric trainset manufactured by the BREL (British Rail Engineering Ltd) from 1976 to 1982.  It consists of two 1,678 kW (2,250 hp), 70 tonne, Class 43 power cars at the ends of the train and 7 or 8 Mark 3 carriages.  The 7 carriage HST is desigated Class 253 and the 8 carriage HST is designated Class 254.  The HST is the first train allowed to operate at 125 mph (201 km/h) in regular services by British Rail.  Since the privatisation of British Rail at the end of the last century, fleets of the HST have been operated by most long-distance train operators in the Great Britain, and is still in service with First Great Western, East Coast, East Midlands Trains, Grand Central, CrossCountry, and Network Rail (used as track measurement train, the NMT).

Paxman Valenta HST in British Rail livery

A speed of 148 mph (238 km/h) reached on 1 November 1987 by the HST had set the world record of diesel-powered trains and it had not been officially broken since then.  In 2005, train companies operating the HST started a re-powering programme and all the Class 43 power cars had since been receiving new MTU (Germany) engines and Brush (Great Britain) traction motors.  Compared to the original Paxman (Great Britain) Valenta engines, the MTU engines are quieter and produce less smoke.

Re-engined First Great Western MTU HST

First Great Western HST dominated London Paddington Station

Below is a video compilation of footages of the HST I have filmed while visiting England in May of 2009.

If you'd like to see a video of the original Paxman Valenta HST (nicer sounding and nicknamed Screaming Valenta), I have embedded one below.

We can talk about the fastest conventional locomotive in the world next week.


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