East Midlands Railway Retires Its InterCity 125 Fleet

East Midlands Railway (EMT) is retiring its fleet of HSTs after 39 years of service on the Midland Main Line.

EMR and the rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook, which owns the vehicles, are commemorating the retirement of the InterCity 125 by painting the power car 43302 in Intercity Swallow livery and reinstating its original number – 43102. The power car will go to the National Railway Museum in York. The museum is already in possession of power car 43002, named ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’.

Power car 43102 that broke the intercity world speed record, painted in its original Intercity Swallow livery
Power car 43102 that broke the intercity world speed record, painted in its original Intercity Swallow livery

The High Speed Train (HST) is also known as an InterCity 125 (because of its top operating speed of 125mph) and comprises two Class 43 power cars and a set of Mark 3 carriages. They were built between 1975 and 1982 and designed by TCB Miller and his design team at BR Railway Technical Centre in Derby.

This particular power car broke the intercity world speed record in November 1987, reaching 148.5mph between Northallerton and York on a test run. It bore the Intercity Swallow livery and number 43102 when it broke this record. The trailing power car during the speed record run was 43159.

EMR is retiring its HST fleet in order to introduce new rolling stock for the May 2021 timetable change.

Neil Bamford, Fleet Director, EMR, said:

“The team at our Neville Hill depot in Leeds have been working hard behind the scenes to strip unit 43302 of its current livery, repaint it in its legacy colours and reinstate its original number in homage to the ‘end of the HST’ era.

“What an incredible way to pay tribute to the HSTs and the magnificent efforts from all our staff, who have operated and maintained the fleet over the years.

“I personally remember as a 19-year-old, way back in 1980, going on HST commissioning runs from Derby to Darlington, putting the trains through their paces and doing various tests before they entered into service, such happy memories.

“This is a fitting way to recognise the end for this iconic machine; a massive slice of railway heritage and history.”

Power car 43102 will continue to serve EMR passengers in its original livery until it goes on its final journey to the National Railway Museum.

Power car 43102 from the front
Power car 43102 from the front

There are still some Intercity 125 trains on the British railway network. Other operators running these trains include GWR and CrossCountry.

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