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The HST (or High Speed Train) is a fixed formation diesel-powered train consisting of two Class 43 'locomotives', generally known as Power Cars, one at either end of a rake of British Rail Mark 3 coaches. They were designed by a team of "hands on" BREL engineers at Crewe, rather than the highly-paid aircraft engineers tasked with designing the (ill-fated) Advanced Passenger Train or APT, and were initially only meant as a temporary measure whilst development of the latter continued. Each Class 43 Power Car housed a Paxman Valenta 12RP 200L V12 diesel engine producing 2,250hp, and an associated cooler group containing radiators for coolant and engine oil, driven by a cardan shaft from the engine. The initial batch of 27 sets, now branded as "Intercity 125", and numbered '253 xxx' were delivered to the Western Region during 1976/1977 and consisted of seven coaches and two Power Cars each, running from London Paddington to South Wales. A further 32 eight coach sets numbered '254 xxx' entered service on the East Coast Mainline in 1978 running from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh and on to Aberdeen, displacing the much-loved Class 55 'Deltic' diesel locomotive that had provided regular 100mph services for the past twenty years. The Western Region gained 14 more sets to enable running to Penzance in Cornwall, the East Coast 4 more, and a final 18 sets were ordered for the Cross Country route between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Penzance bringing the total build to 95 sets.

Following cancellation of the APT project the HST became the mainstay of Inter City operations and remains so to this day, with currently no firm date for replacement. The Power Cars have seen many overhauls and upgrades over the years, the most major of which has been the re-engining schemes as the Valenta units became less reliable and emissions requirements have increasingly been tightened. Under privatisation all but one TOC chose to replace the Paxman units with MTU4000V engines, much to the dismay of many HST fans. Midland Mainline however, responsible for services from London St. Pancras to Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, chose to stay with Paxman power upgrading to the 12VP185L engine which although not having the same charismatic turbocharger 'wail' as the Valenta so loved by HST enthusiasts is still not quite as utilitarian-sounding as the German MTU units.

Apart from a handful of Power Cars that have been written off in accidents and a selection of MK3 coaches in storage the HST fleet continues to provide regular 125mph services from London to Scotland, Wales, Northeast England, the West Country and The Midlands and could possibly do so until 2035 if its replacement is still not forthcoming before then. The only other exception is the three Power Cars leased by Network Rail for their New Measurement Train which travels the intercity network on a daily basis at upto 125mph recording track geometry and condition using a selection of specially adapted MK3 coaches fitted with measuring equipment and high-speed cameras. Information can be relayed back to NR headquarters in realtime so quick assessment and planning can be made for track upgrade and replacement. Due to its bright yellow NR livery this train has been nicknamed "The Flying Banana"!

The HST still holds the World Record for a diesel train having attained a top speed of 148mph on 1st November 1987 whilst on a bogie-testing run.


N Gauge Models

The following N gauge models are currently available (2013) - they are 6-pin DCC ready and have working lights

The following models have been batch-released but are currently not in production, awaiting further runs - they are also 6-pin DCC ready and have working lights

  • Dapol Class 43 HST BR Blue/Yellow
  • Dapol Class 43 HST Intercity Executive
  • Dapol Class 43 HST Intercity Swallow
  • Dapol Class 43 HST Virgin Trains

Graham Farish also produced the HST, firstly in the following Poole-built models

  • Class 43 HST BR Blue/Yellow
  • Class 43 HST Intercity Executive
  • Class 43 HST Intercity Swallow
  • Class 43 HST Great Western (Merlin)
  • Class 43 HST Virgin

and then supplemented by the following Bachmann China models

  • Class 43 HST Cross Country
  • Class 43 HST First Great Western (Barbie)
  • Class 43 HST GNER
  • Class 43 HST Midland Mainline (Teal/Tangerine)
  • Class 43 HST Midland Mainline (Blue/Grey)

Images of HSTs taken by NGF Members

Class Comments Taken by Image
Class 43 in FGW 'Dynamic lines' livery At Clapham Junction, diverted because of Reading station upgrade Pengi

Images of N gauge HSTs taken by NGF members

Class Manufacturer Comments Taken by Image
HST in Crosscountry livery Dapol Taken at St Clements layout Pengi
Dapol XC HST


--Pengi (talk) 22:56, 13 May 2013 (PDT)