Colne Valley launches first HST service on a heritage line
ON November 1, 1987, a Class 125 High Speed train set a new word record of 148mph for the fastest diesel-powered train, while descending Stoke Bank on the East Coast Main Line in Lincolnshire on a test run.
Now a new landmark for the class will be established on April 16, when a set becomes the first to carry passengers a on a heritage line – the Colne Valley Railway, which has a maximum line speed of 25mph.
As previously reported, volunteers who formed 125 Heritage purchased three power cars and three former LNER trailers in 2021, all of which now reside at the line. The set comprises ex-East Midlands Railway Nos. 43073 and 43082, which are powered by VP185 engines, and former Great Western Railway
No. 43071, which boasts an MTU engine. Trailers include Trailer First Buffet No. 40706, Trailer Guard’s Standard No. 44058 and Trailer First Class Open No. 41088.
Meet the team
The set will be officially launched at a special Intercity 125 open day, when unlimited train rides in air-conditioned coaches will be on offer. The HST buffet will be open, selling light refreshments, and there will also be the opportunity to meet with the volunteers behind the group.
Pre-booking is strongly advised and tickets can be bought online at bit.ly/3GWxdoB
In the longer term, the HST vehicles will be used for dining and special running days.
The railway reopens on April 2/3, when it will be running diesel railways, with steam in operation on April 6, 10, and 13.
Meanwhile, the Gwili Railway has taken delivery of a HST power car for static display. Class 43 No. 43056, previously named The Royal British Legion, was a donated to the Welsh Railway Trust by Porterbrook. What is the first HST power car to be preserved in Wales was delivered by road to Bronwydd Arms on February 16.
After being shunted by Class 03 D2178, No. 43056 was hauled to Llwyfan Cerrig by GWR 0-6-0PT No. 1369, on loan from the South Devon Railway.
Subject to a satisfactory Covid-19 risk assessment, it is hoped to open the vehicle to the public on selected days over Easter. In due course, No. 43056 is expected to form a cornerstone in the trust’s ambition to create a museum telling the stories of Welsh railways from early 1874 to 2019.
Introduced in 1976, HSTs formed the backbone of Intercity services on the South Wales Main Line until May 2019, when they were finally withdrawn and replaced by Hitachi IET 800s.