Sir Kenneth Grange, Industrial Designer, was born in London on 17th July 1929 and spent the early years of his career under acclaimed architect Jack Howe who styled the 1950’s Blue Pullman train.
A founder of design consultancy Pentagram, in the early 1970s Grange was tasked by British Rail with producing a livery for their new Prototype High Speed Train. Unhappy with the existing specified shape, as well as coming up with a colour scheme, he took it upon himself to redesign the external styling of the power car, which found favour with BR. Requirement for two drivers in the cab forced a further redesign and Grange took the opportunity to eliminate the buffers, improving the aerodynamic qualities of what became the Production HST, marketed as Inter-City 125, which entered fleet passenger service in 1976.
Grange’s prolific work over half a century has included Kenwood food mixers, Kodak cameras, Anglepoise Lamps, Parker pens and the TX1 London taxi cab, however the design which has given him most pleasure is the Inter-City 125. This instantly recognisable design has endured for over 40 years, its iconic nosecone becoming the defining image of an express train both in the UK and around the world in countries which have never seen a 125.
Knighted in 2013 for services to design, 125 Group was delighted in May 2014 when Sir Kenneth became our Honorary President, actively supporting us appearing as VIP guest at fundraising events and railtours, enjoying speaking to enthusiasts and signing autographs. First such occasions was the November 2014 launch train for Prototype HST Power Car 41001, following restoration from static exhibit to full working order, funded and carried out by 125 Group volunteers with the help of the railway industry.
Sir Kenneth Grange named first built production power car 43002 after himself at GWR Bristol St.Philips Marsh Depot on 2nd May 2016, during a special public open day celebrating 40 years of the High Speed Train. For the event 43002 was presented in the original Inter-City 125 blue and yellow livery which it carried until being withdrawn from passenger service on 18th May 2019. The power car has been retired after 43 years service and is now exhibited at York NRM. Sir Kenneth Grange himself is now in his tenth decade.