40 Years of East Coast HSTs!

Brand new Inter-City 125 sets 254014 and 254012 stabled at Newcastle Heaton Depot, 13th May 1978. © 53A Models of Hull Collection (the late D R Vickers)

40 Years Ago today, 8th May 1978 saw the launch of regular 125mph passenger running on the East Coast Mainline when the new fleet of High Speed Trains was introduced on timetabled services between London Kings Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh. The streamlined Inter-City 125s transformed long distance rail travel, bringing new levels of comfort and a step-change in journey times, the striking new trains were dubbed ‘The Journey Shrinker’.

With more HSTs delivered over the following months, Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Aberdeen were added to the 125 network. ‘The Nosecone Effect’ boosted passenger numbers at the same time as bringing social and economic benefits through improved connectivity, which still gives towns and cities on the route an advantage today. Over the past 40 years the iconic HST has become a firm favourite with railway passengers, staff and enthusiasts and is still going strong on the ECML under the charge of Virgin Trains East Coast, however replacement is planned soon in the form of new class 800 series ‘Azuma’ trains.

125 Group is working hard raising funds to achieve our goal of preserving a production HST powered by the original Valenta type engine. Established in 1994 we are now a registered charity with a proven track record, having restored prototype 41001 from static museum exhibit to working order, Sir Kenneth Grange is our Hon President. If you are interested in 125s then please support our cause by joining us, members receive our exclusive quarterly magazine with detailed behind the scenes information on our preservation activities plus informed articles on the changing HST scene. Membership is £17 for 12 months or sign up to our direct-debit scheme for as little as £5 per month, this really helps our preservation efforts and includes free membership. JOIN HERE!

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