Recognition and Equipment information
CLASS 43 HST - Page 1




Following the success of the trials undertaken with the prototype High Speed Diesel Train, a production order was placed in 1973-77 for a total of 196 power cars and a suitable number of passenger cars. The power car design differing slightly from the prototype style. The number range allocated was 43002-198.
BREL Crewe Works was awarded the build contract, where work commenced in late 1974, the first finished product emerging in late 1975 and entering capital stock in February 1976. Production at Crewe continued with around twelve vehicles usually under construction at the same time until the last car, No. 43198 was completed in August 1982. Simultaneous with power car construction the intermediate coaching vehicles were assembled at BREL Derby Litchurch Lane.
The external appearance of the power cars differed slightly from the prototype, the most noticeable change was the omission of external buffers, and the inner end driving position was dispensed with. The prime mover installed was a Paxman 12RP200L, but the output was set at 2,250hp.
Production HST sets classified 253 emerged in early 1976 were allocated to the Western Region, where from the October timetable 125mph operations commenced on the Paddington-Bristol route, their operating range was progressively increased as more sets came on stream. After the WR had taken delivery of 27 sets the Eastern and Scottish Regions began receiving an allocation for ECML services. Whilst these power cars were identical to earlier built WR members their classification was 254. As time progressed and more power cars were delivered, virtually the entire WR InterCity network was transferred to their operation, as did the East Coast route and later the Midland line from St Pancras to Sheffield and Nottingham. From 1982 sufficient sets were available for the North East-South West services to be introduced to the IC125 network.
After 121 production cars had been delivered the Brush traction electrical equipment was replaced by similar equipment supplied by GEC. This continued for just 30 vehicles where after the installation of Brush equipment resumed. Over the subsequent years the GEC equipment has been operationally inferior to the Brush, and the cause of many problems.
During the course of the build it was decided to move the guard's compartment out of the power car, therefore after the building of vehicle No. 43152 minor alterations were made in the power car including the removal of the former guard's window.
When new the first power car was painted black and yellow, but the livery was soon changed to the standard blue and yellow, a scheme in which the entire fleet entered service. Following the introduction of various InterCity liveries these have been progressively applied to power cars and trailer stock.
In 1986 it was agreed to re-engine four power cars (Nos. 43167-170) with Mirrlees MB190 engines. Further re-engining took place in the 1990s with several PCs fitted with state-of-the-art Paxman VP185 engines.
To provide 'surrogate' driving vehicles for early East Coast Main Line Mk4 push-pull trains, a batch of eight power cars was modified by the Engineering Development Unit at Derby and Stratford Works for this use. Modified vehicles were fitted with conventional draw gear on their nose end and a TDM remote control feature. Once their use on the East Coast had ceased the cars were transferred to InterCity CrossCountry use and today operate as part of the Virgin Trains fleet.
With the privatisation of the UK railways the IC125 fleet is now operated on First Great Western Midland Mainline, Virgin Trains and the Great North Eastern Railway; each operator has repainted its fleet in a distinctive livery, and interiors have generally been redesigned to be more 'user-friendly'. It seems likely that the class will continue to operate for many years.



An early Western Region set, led by power car No. 43005 passes Lower Basildon between Didcot and Reading on September 28. 1975 with the 10.15 Bristol-Paddington. The train is formed of 2 FOs, a buffet car and four second class TSOs, all painted in the then standard blue/grey livery. CJM.



Left: The first livery change came in the mid-1980s when trains emerged in InterCity 'executive' colours. Power cars saw the new IC colours applied at the inner end and the blue upper panel painted in graphite grey with the InterCity 125 branding.
Right: InterCity 'Swallow' livery was applied from the 1990s as shown here on No. 43197, this saw the base of the body repainted light grey with the Intercity name and swallow logo on the upper panel. Both: CJM.



The eight buffer fitted power cars, modified by the EDU at Derby and Stratford works allowed conventional couplings to be fitted at the driving end. TDM remote control equipment was also installed allowing remote control from a suitable TDM fitted electric loco of Classes 89, 90 or 91. After their limited use on the East Coast was over the power cars retained buffing gear but had their TDM control system removed. All eight were transferred to the CrossCountry pool and are now operated by Virgin Trains . No. 43123 is illustrated at Glasgow Central. CJM.



After privatisation, all the HST operators started to apply their own liveries. The most striking is Virgin Trains red, seen here applied to No. 43097. The change from red to graphite grey is achieved via an angled line in the radiator area. CJM.



Great Western Trains were awarded the franchise of the former Western Region InterCity services and this company adopted a white and green livery, with a Merlin branding on power car and passenger stock body sides. This colour scheme was well accepted by the public who could see some of the past traditions of the Great Western in the style. However after a couple of years, the management owned company sold out to First Group, forming First Great Western, this led to a major revision of the livery as shown above right, the green upper body panel was retained, but the lower sections were banded with a deep gold stripe. Both: CJM.