43048 – Production HST Power Car

The history of 43048 is comparatively straight forward compared to many of its classmates. Initially ordered by BR on 22 January 1974 under lot 30876, it was outshopped from Crewe Works on 26 March 1977 as one of the last few power cars destined for the original Western Region order that transformed the Paddington to Bristol and South Wales route. Delivered to Old Oak Common depot in late April 1977, it was formed into set 253024 following a brief use as a spare power car.

43048 stands at Manchester Piccadilly in 2004

Changes within British Rail’s structure saw the new business sectors created and one of the new InterCity sector’s first decisions was to move HST sets from Great Western and Cross Country duties to the Midland Main Line as, despite the lack of 125mph running, this offered a better financial return. 43048 was one of the power cars involved, transferring to Neville Hill depot in October 1982, as the Midland service was to be resourced from an enlarged East Coast pool. 43048 would remain allocated to Neville Hill for almost 38 years.

During this period it could be used on any East Coast or Midland HST duty, but was allocated to the Midland IMLP pool when sub-sector allocations were brought in during the mid-1980s. Remaining in this pool, at privatisation it passed to the new Porterbrook leasing business in April 1994, leased to the Midland Mainline (MML) franchise, being repainted into their teal and tangerine livery in March 1998.

43048 T.C.B. Miller at Neville Hill

In the spring of 2002, it was chosen to receive a VP185 engine, making the trip to Devonport Dockyard, for DML to effect the modifications and re-wire the power car; release back to MML being on 13 September. During July 2003 43048 was taken to the Brush works in Loughborough as the prototype for the fitting of an upgraded electronics package that would eventually be fitted to most operators’ fleets. At the same time, it became the first power car to be fitted with the Arrowvale OTMR system. After release back to MML it was repainted into MML’s latest ocean blue livery in May 2004. Following a re-mapping of franchise boundaries, the new Stagecoach-operated East Midlands Trains operation commenced during November 2007, with 43048 transferring to the new operation, still working on the Midland route. It was chosen to debut the operator’s colour scheme in a high profile event at its home depot on 30 April 2008. During the event it received the name “T.C.B. Miller MBE”, after BR’s Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer who was instrumental in the development of the HST.

Transferred to the new East Midlands Railway franchise, it was taken off lease as part of the rundown of the VP185 fleet. Generously donated to 125 Group by Porterbrook, ownership was transferred to us on 1st October 2020.