40 Years Ago today, 4th October 1976 saw the launch of regular 125mph passenger running in the UK when the then new fleet of High Speed Trains was introduced on timetabled services between London Paddington, Bristol and South Wales. The streamlined Inter-City 125s transformed long distance rail travel, bringing new levels of comfort and shrinking journey times. Over the past 40 years the iconic HST has become a firm favourite with railway passengers, staff and enthusiasts and is still going strong!
To celebrate this important anniversary, with the support of the railway industry, 125 Group has sponsored the fitment of ‘40 YEARS’ plaques to power cars across the different fleets of HSTs which still operate front-line services countrywide today. A pair of the cast metal plaques has already been fitted to Grand Central’s power car number 43423, Cross Country’s 43321 and Network Rail’s 43013, soon to be joined by Virgin Trains East Coast and East Midlands Trains power cars.
Manufactured by Newton Replicas, the plaques are being fitted to power cars by depot staff at Heaton, Craigentinny and Neville Hill, with the support of Porterbrook Leasing and Angel Trains. At such time as they come to be removed, the plaques will return to 125 Group.
125 Group Chairman Gary Heelas said, “125 Group is pleased to join the railway industry in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the HST. We are grateful to all of the companies and staff involved who have enabled us to display our ‘40 YEARS’ plaques on their iconic trains, which will ultimately support our long term objective of preserving a production Inter-City 125 fitted with original Paxman Valenta engine.”
125 Group’s own preserved Mk3 catering vehicle RFM 10206 also carries an internally mounted ‘40 YEARS’ plaque. This former HST kitchen car TRUK 40507 now provides tasty hot food to travellers behind preserved prototype HST power car 41001 at Great Central Railway (Nottingham).
The ’40 YEARS’ plaque was first produced by graphic designer Paul Gentleman of Great Western Railway and is already mounted on pioneer production power car 43002 which was unveiled repainted in original Inter-City 125 livery at St.Philips Marsh depot open day in May this year. This power car was named ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ at the same event after the designer of the HST’s iconic nosecone and now 125 Group Honorary President, 125 Group also sponsored these nameplates. Special thanks to GWR for allowing 125 Group to use their design and for playing a leading role in supporting HST40 celebrations this year. #HST40
Buy your own ’40 YEARS’ enamel pin badge and official HST40 merchandise from our on-line shop HERE.