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Two of the three major HST operators entered 2006 having retained their existing franchises with new ten year deals. Both GNER and FGW announced their plans to re-engine their entire HST power car fleets with the new MTU4000V engines as trialled by FGW in 43004+009.
FGW commenced work on converting the 12 power cars purchased from Porterbrook by First Rail Holdings by sending six of these to Brush Works, Loughborough in January 2006 and started work to install ATP equipment in the others. During this process it was found that 43068/084/123 were unsuitable for ATP fitment due to the state of the TDM wiring, so these were exchanged with Porterbrook for 43154/158/194. In April 2006 FGW started the long process of converting its large serviceable fleet to the new engine type when 43175 was taken to Brush Works and became the first 'production' MTU power car into service during July 2006. In order to fully displace the Class 180 DMU fleet once the HST power car, 'repower' programme is complete FGW committed to take another ten power cars on lease from Porterbrook in May, so the remaining off-lease 'Project Rio' power cars 43069/078/086/159/193/197 joined the FGW fleet and were taken to Laira so that the engines could be extracted to keep the ailing fleet in service until the call to Loughborough. 43070+087 were sent to Laira in August 2006 after their spell with Cotswold Rail ended, and 43196 was taken to Laira in November 2006- all three of these yielded components to feed the repower programme before heading to Brush Works themselves. The final member of the FGW fleet became, when off-lease 43160 joined the FGW fleet after a period in the NMT operation.
GNER was also starting to progress plans to 'repower' its full fleet of HST power cars with MTU engines at Brush Works, and March 2006 saw 43090+100 taken on lease from Porterbrook and dispatched to Brush, whilst 43197 was taken off lease and joined 43078 in storage. As part of the conversion GNER decided to renumber their power cars by adding 200 to the original number, so 43090+100 became 43290+300 before emerging in December 2006. 43120 became the first GNER power to leave service for conversion at Brush Works during October. The surplus of HSTs at MML (brought about by the full introduction of Class 222 Meridians) meant that GNER was able to add two sets to its fleet from May 2007 in order to operate more trains along the London to Leeds route, and 43051/053/056/057/077 transferred across.
November 2006 saw plans by new open access operator Grand Central to commence HST operation between Sunderland and Kings Cross from late 2007 after many delays and legal challenges to their existence. Grand Central purchased six power cars outright from Porterbrook, so the remaining six buffer-fitted power cars 43065/067/068/080/084/123 were sent to DML Devonport to have the major refurbishments required to bring them back into frontline service.
In May 2007 a hybrid diesel/battery powered train was first trialled on the Great Central private railway using a specially modified 43089 and a TGS loaded with the Hitachi developed test equipment. 43160 was provided to assist with these trials before joining the FGW fleet, whilst 43089 joins the NMT fleet as their forth power car after the modifications are removed.
Franchise changes were announced during Summer 2007, the East Midlands franchise (including all the MML operations) was awarded to Stagecoach who announced plans to replace the last few remaining Valenta engines in their fleet with VP185s to gain a common fleet. The altered Cross Country franchise was awarded to Arriva who plan to return to a small scale HST operation to supplement the Voyager fleet that they inherit from Virgin, and this will see the remaining off lease power cars 43101/103/121/157 return to service. GNER was unable to continue with the East Coast franchise following problems with the parent company, so National Express group was awarded the new franchise although changes to the HST deployment are not expected under the new owner.