10206 was built as HST Mark 3 Trailer Restaurant Unclassified Kitchen (TRUK) 40507 at Derby Litchurch Lane works under lot number 30884 in 1976 and originally allocated to Western Region services as part of HST set 253007. It was transferred to the Eastern Region, initially into set 254007, when the Western Region reduced their sets to convey only one catering vehicle and became redundant when BR decided that the majority of HST services required only one catering vehicle per set.
In 1984 40507 was one of twelve redundant TRUKs that were selected for conversion to locomotive hauled RFM vehicles under the ‘Cuisine 2000’ project that saw West Coast Main Line catering converted to the ‘modular’ system whereby all stock was pre-loaded to modules that could be quickly wheeled on to the train at principal stations. Renumbered to 10206 in 1987, conversion involved removal of the HST three phase train supply electrical wiring and fitting of standard 850V DC wiring with motor-alternators, fitting of conventional buffers and drop head buckeye coupling and major modifications to the kitchen and serving area.
10206 operated with InterCity West Coast – with a short spell as part of the Class 91 test programme – and then Virgin West Coast until locomotive hauled services were replaced by Pendolinos, 10206 being taken off lease in June 2005, before it found its way to Norwich Crown Point for a possible return to service on Anglia services. This never occurred and 10206 became a training vehicle and spares donor. A move to Ilford Works followed and eventually 10206 was stored at Long Marston.
Purchased from Porterbrook Leasing on 1st January 2015, 10206 was moved from Long Marston to Ruddington on the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) on 28th March 2015 and following repairs, safety checks and a heavy clean re-entered service on 24th May 2015 and therefore has become the first production HST vehicle in preservation.
Following a short period of use in the faded and scruffy colours of previous operator Virgin Trains, 10206 left Ruddington on 11th December 2015 for repainting at Wabtec’s Kilmarnock workshops. The livery this vehicle now carries is as close to the original prototype Mark 3 livery as modern railway group standards allow.