British Rail Class 43 (HST)
British Rail Class 43 at Chesterfield
A Class 43 in BR livery at Chesterfield on the Midland Mainline

Years built



BREL Crewe

Number Produced



2+7 cars (Class 253), 2+8 cars (Class 254)

Years in Operation


Fleet Numbers




Type of Diesel Train


Number Operational


Number Preserved

1 preserved, 20 in storage

Number Scrapped

3 Wrecked

(l × w × h)


Prime mover(s)

Paxman 12VP185 MTU 16V4000 R41R Paxman Valenta 12RP200L


4 ft 8 1/2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

Maximum speed

200 km/h

V - E - T - D

The British Rail Class 43 (HST) is the TOPS classification for the InterCity 125 (Formerly Class 253 and Class 254) powercars, built by BREL (British Rail Engineering Limited) at their Crewe Works from 1975-1982. 197 powercar were produced in total. The Class 43 powercars and their MK 3 coaches (Together forming Intercity 125/HST sets) were introduced as a stop-gap measure until electrification of the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines was completed and the APT (Advanced Passenger Train) introduced. However, with the cancellation of the APT, due to an embarrassing failure of the tilting system with members of the British press onboard, the Class 43 powercars became the jewel in the British Rail crown, serving from Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland to Penzance in the far south west of England. The oldest powercar, number 43002 is now 43 years old (as of 2018), and still going strong, working for First Great Western (now known as the modern-day Great Western Railway) between London Paddington Station, Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff, Swansea, Plymouth, and Penzance. To this day the Class 43 along with their matching MK3 coaches are considered the greatest achievement in British Railway history. The Class 43 is officially the fastest diesel locomotive in the world. This record was set in 1987 when an Eastern Region Intercity 125 set with powercar 43159 leading set the record of 148.5mph while working the, Up (southbound), Tees-Tyne Pullman between Darlington and York, arriving in to York to huge fanfare complete with brass band, before continuing on to London Kings Cross. 43159 is still in operation, as of 2015, with First Great Western. There have been two unverified claims of faster speeds attained by a diesel locomotive. The Russian TEP80 claiming a speed of 168mph, and the Spanish Talgo XXI claiming, 158mph.

The Class 43 powercars are often called the HST (High Speed Train) due to their speed. Their nickname with drivers and rail enthusiasts is "Racehorse".


  • Power Type: Diesel-Electric.
  • Prime Mover: MTU#16V400R41 or Paxman#12VP185
  • Prime Mover, Factory, No Longer Fitted: Paxman#12RP200L
  • Prime Mover, Experimental, No Longer Fitted: Mirrlees&Blackstone#MB190 or Paxman#12VP185L
  • RatedPower: 2250bhp 1500rpm At Engine, 1770bhp At Rail
  • Trac Effort: 17980LbF\80kn Maximum, 10340LbF\46kn Continuous
  • Trac Motors: 4ea FrameMounted, GEC#G417AZ On Units 43124-43152), BrushTraction#TMH68-46 On Remaining Units
  • Transmission: DieselEngine~Alternator~Rectifier~DCTracMotors
  • Train Heat: 415vac3ph ElectricTrainHeat\ETH
  • Loco Brake Force: 349Kn
  • Brake Type: Air, Westinghouse
  • Multiple Working: Within Class Only
  • Wheel Arrangement: BO-BO.
  • Wheel Diameter: 3f333 1m016
  • Gauge: 4f708 \ 1m435 \ Standard
  • Bogie Type: BT10
  • Length Coupled: 58f33 17m78
  • Weight Gross: 70-73 metric tonnes
  • Axle Load: 17.5 metric tonnes
  • Route Availability: Class 5
  • Fuel Capacity: 990ImpGal \ 1190 USGal \ 4500Litre
  • Fuel: UltraLowSulphurDiesel \ ULSD
  • Operators: First Great Western, East Coast, Arriva Cross Country, East Midland Trains, Network Rail, Grand Central
  • Family Name: HST, (Along with Australia's XPT powercars), "StraightFace"

History and BackgroundEdit

In the early 1970's the British Railways Board (BRB), decided to replace its main line diesel traction. Finances were tight at the time a mass electrification was not an immediate option. Therefore, a new generation of high-speed diesel traction had to be developed. A the time British Railways was experiment with the electric and the gas turbine versions of the Advanced Passenger Train (APT). However the APT was ultimately a failure after the tilting mechanism got jammed at high speed, with members of the British Press onboard causing, nausea and vomiting for those onboard, leading to negative publicity and killing the APT project. When the APT project failed the HST became the flagship of British Rail.

Experience with the 100mph Class 55 "Deltic" locomotives on the East Coast Main Line showed that low axle weight and a high speed engine where essential to avoiding track damaged at sustained high speed, and to provide a high enough power to weight ratio. To power the HST the Class 43 powercars were fitted with a Paxman Valenta 12RP200L diesel engine developing 2,250bhp at 1,500rpm. A 70 metric tonne weight gave the powercars a 17.5 metric tonne axle load.

Development and DesignEdit

The prototype HST (Class 41 powercars and MK3 coaches) were designed and developed at the Railway Technical Centre at Derby by Terry Miller. The powercars been constructed at BREL's Crewe Works and the MK3 coaches at Derby Litchurch Lane Works. The engine used in the prototype powercars was the same Paxman Valenta 12RP200L used later in the production powercars. The electrical equipment used in the prototype powercars was produced by Brush Traction of Loughborough. The prototype powercar had a central drivers position at the aerodynamically designed front end, with an auxiliary/shunting position at the blunt/gangway end. The auxiliary position was dropped from the production powercars. The aerodynamically shaped front was also change for the production units.

The two prototype powercars emerged from Crewe works in July and August 1972 and were originally designated Class 41, numbered 41001 and 41002. But, after a short period, the whole set including the MK3 passenger trailer were designated Class 252 and been classified as a diesel multiple unit (DMU). The powercars were given the coaching stock numbers 43000 and 43001. After a proving period on the Eastern Region the High Speed Diesel Train (HSDT), was transferred to the Western Region were it was used on London Paddington to Bristol and Weston Super Mare services.

During the prototypes time on the Eastern Region, it set the world speed record for diesel traction of 143.8mph between York and Darlington. This record has only been surpassed by the production power number 43159 at 148.5mph. The driver noted that he believed that the prototype could well have reached 180mph with enough track as the powercars had plenty of power to spare.

The prototype HST proved very successful and led to an order for 197 production power cars for the Eastern, Western, Scottish, and London Midland Regions. The construction of the production powercars and the HST version of the MK3 passenger coaches began in 1975, with entry into service in 1976.

The production powercars feature improvements over the prototypes, including a redesigned front end without conventional Link&Hook\L&H couplers +buffers (an emergency drawbar hidden behind a cover on the frontend can be used to haul a failed HST), 415vac3Phase ElectricTrainHeat\ETH instead of the prototypes conventional 1000vdc ETH; production powercars also lost the auxiliary drivers position for shunting but gained a Secondmans position in a redesigned cab (due to union issues).

With the completion of the production HSTs in 1982, the prototype was withdrawn from service. The powercars passed to the Research Division in Derby. Of the ten prototype MK3 passenger trailers, two were converted for use in the Royal Train, five were modified to work with the production powercars, and three were transferred to departmental stock.

197 production powercars were produced, numbered 43002-43198. 43001 was applied to the second of the prototype units, while the first prototype powercar was numbered 43000. 43000 had recently been returned to working order by the 125 Group under the banner of Project Miller named after Terry Miller, the designer of the HST. 43001 was scrapped after withdrawal in 1990.

Intercity 125Edit

1024px-252001 at NRM York - DSC07812

Prototype HST powercar 41001 (later 43000) at the National Railway Museum in York.

The Intercity 125 is a train set originally classified as a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) of Classes 253 (Western Region), and 254 (Eastern, Scottish and London Midland Regions), and consist of two Class 43 powercar sandwiching up to nine MK3 passenger trailers. The Intercity 125 is no longer classified as a DMU and is now considered to be a locomotive hauled train in top and tail configuration (one powercar at each end). On introduction the Class 43 was matched with seven MK3 trailers on the Western Region, and eight MK3 trailers on the Eastern, Scottish and London Midland Regions. Today Intercity 125 sets are operated in 2+6 configuration with Grand Central, 2+7 with Arriva Cross Country, 2+8 with First Great Western and East Midland Trains, and 2+9 by East Coast. Former Operator Virgin Cross Country operated 2+5 sets to match their Class 220 and 221 Voyager and Super Voyager sets for acceleration. 2+5 is the minimum allowed length for running at 125mph due to braking issues on shorter sets. 80% of the braking power on the Intercity 125 is provided by the passenger coaches.

Buffered PowercarsEdit

In 1987, with the electrification of the East Coast Main Line progressing quickly, British Rail realised that the MK4 coaches and DVT's (Driving Van Trailers) for the Class 89 and Class 91 electric locomotives would not be ready in time for the introduction of electric services on the East Coast Main Line. So, in late 1987, at total of eight Eastern Region powercars (numbers, 43013, 43014, 43065, 43067, 43068, 43080, 43084, 43123) were converted for use as surrogate DVT's for use with Class 89 and Class 91 electric locomotives.

This conversion included, removal of the lower aerodynamic valences, fitting of buffers, and fitting of TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) remote control equipment to control the electric locomotives. TDM at the time, use the cable for the lights to transmit control signals the length of the train, it now used a dedicated jumper cable for locomotive that use it.

The conversion of numbers 43013 and 43014 were conducted at the Derby Engineering Development Unit, with the conversion of numbers 43065, 43067, 43068, 43080, 43084, and 43123 taking place at Stratford Diesel Repair Shop in London. After conversion these powercars entered service as surrogate DVT's, working with Class 89 and Class 91 locomotives on London Kings Cross to Leeds services providing Electric Train Heating for the MK3 coaches. At first the powercars were left idling and only provided Electric Train Heating. However the prolonged idling cause excess oil to build up in the exhaust system, and after several powercar fires, the powercar were allowed to provide extra traction power to the train creating the most powerful train in the UK at the time at over 8,000bhp.

After the MK4 coaches and DVT's arrived in 1991, the converted powercars were no longer needed on DVT duties and had the TDM system removed but retain there buffers to this day. After privatization of British Rail, these powercars worked for Virgin Cross Country and Virgin West Coast, where they displaced older loco- hauled stock. Virgin gave up their HST sets when new Class 220 and 221, Voyager and Super Voyager Sets were introduced, with the last Virgin HST service operating in late 2003. Nearly all of these powercars were then stored at MOD Long Marston. After several years of storage, several of these powercars were leased by Midland Main Line for their "Project Rio", special services from London St Pancras to Manchester Piccadilly, while major engineering works were undertaken on the West Coat Main Line. The powercars where kept in de-branded Virgin Trains livery throughout their time with Midland Main Line and were returned to storage after Project Rio ended in 2006.

In 2003 infrastructure owner Network Rail bought powercars 43013, and 43014 for use of there track recording train called The New Measurement Train (NMT). Both of these powercars were refitted in 2010 with MTU 16V400R41 prime movers to increase reliability, reduce fuel consumption, and reduce emissions.

43067 and 43080 were leased the GNER (Great North Eastern Railway) as spare powercars, that could be quickly called upon in the event of a failed powercar. These powercars where repainted into GNER livery and were based at Craigentinny Depot in Edinburgh. The lease of these locomotives ended in 2006 and they returned to storage at Long Marston.

In 2007, Open Access Operator, Grand Central, voiced interest in acquiring the stored powercars for the planned services from London Kings Cross to Sunderland. In total 43067, 43068, 43080, 43084, and 43084 were bought by the company and now run high speed services between London Kings Cross and Sunderland. Numbers 43084 and 43123 where the last powercars still operating with their original Paxman Valenta 12RP200L engine. After several special enthusiast runs in honour of the Valenta Engine, they where re-engineered at Brush Traction in Loughborough in 2010, been fitted with a new MTU 16V4000R41 engines. During re-engineering, all Grand Central powercars were repainted into Grand Central's new black with orange stripe livery and were re-numbered in to the 434xx series.


When introduced and for much of their lives the Class 43 HST had been fitted with the, Paxman Valenta 12RP200L high speed diesel engine rated at 2,250bhp. However the Valenta had downsides such as, been at noisy engine (popular with enthusiasts because the turbocharger screams), unreliability, susceptibility to overheating, high fuel consumption, high lube oil burning rate, and excessive smoke production. Before cooler group upgrade the engines on the Western Region powercars were temporarily downrated to 2,000bhp during the summer months.

In 1987 British Rail experimentally fitted Western Region powercars 43167-43170 with Mirrlees and Blackstone MB-190 engine in the hope of solving some of the issues. However this trial was ultimately unsuccessful and the powercars regained there original Valenta engines.

Also in 1987, Paxman Ltd began development of the successor to the Paxman Valenta series, the Paxman VP185 series. British Rail decided to participate in a trial. The first powercars were fitted with Paxman 12VP185 engines in 1993. A qualifying requirement for the trial was that the engine should be able to go through 3,000 cycles of each of ten minutes duration. Four minutes at the maximum power of 3,500bhp and six minutes at idle. This test was carries out from December 1993 to February 1994 by British Rail and pushed the engines far harder than they ever would in service, as in service they would be rated at 2,250bhp. The success of these test cleared the way for 43170 to be fitted with a VP185 for in depot trials and the powercar entered main line service with its new engine on 22nd September 1994, and named "Edward Paxman".

During the late 1990s twenty-five HST power cars were re-engined with Paxman 12VP185L engines in order to improve fuel consumption and reduce emissions, but these engines have proved less reliable in service than hoped. However, the 12VP185L was introduced fleet-wide within the Australian XPT powercars.

In 2004, First Great Western and leasing company Angel Trains, decided to seak a replacement for the Paxman Valenta and the VP185. The main reason been to rectify chronic reliability problems plaguing their powercars, but also to life extend the units and to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. In 2004 German engine manufacturer MTU were selected to supply the new engines designated, MTU 16V4000R41. After a year long trial period First Great Western decide to roll out the MTU 4000 fleet wide and by 2009 all of their powercars had been fitted with them at Brush Traction in Loughborough. A the same time First Great Western had the MK3 passenger trailers refurbished at Brush Barclay Works in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

In 2005, GNER after seeing the success of the MTU 4000 with First Great Western decide to replace the engines in their powercars with them. However GNER didn't get to see the full fleet re-engined as in 2007, GNER's parent company Sea Containers, filed for bankruptcy protection and lost the Intercity East Coast Franchise. In November 2007 the Intercity East Coast Franchise passed to National Express East Coast who continued the re-engineering program at Brush Traction. Like First Great Western, National Express East Coat decided to have its MK3 passenger trailers refurbished - this time by Wabtec Rail at their Doncaster Works, in conjunction with Bombardier Transportation. In 2009, National Express, in response to falling passenger numbers and falling profits, refused to continue funding the Intercity East Coast franchise and was stripped of the franchise by the Department for Transport. The Department for transport set up the publically own company "Directly Operated Railways" who have run the Intercity East Coast from November 2009, and will do so until March 2015 when the franchise will be reprivatized and handed over to Virgin Trains East Coast, a consortium of Virgin Group and Stagecoach. The last of the East Coast Powercars had been re-engined by the end of 2009.

When the Cross Country franchise passed from Virgin Cross Country to Arriva Cross Country in 2007, Arriva decide to re-introduce HST's to it's fleet in response to passenger feedback and over-crowding. Virgin Cross Country had dropped the HST's in 2003 in favor of Class 220 and 221 Voyager and Super Voyager DMU's, a move that proved highly unpopular with passengers who found the new trains, noisy, rough riding, cramped and uncomfortable compared to the HST's they replaced. The new trains also had far fewer seats than the HST's they replace leading to chronic over-crowding on core routes.

In 2008 Arriva re-introduced five HST sets into service having had the powercars overhauled and fitted with MTU 4000 engines. To facilitate this a number of non HST MK3 coaches had their electrical systems and couplers modified to work with the HST powercars. The coaches also had their buffers removed.

In 2008, Network Rail fitted its two powercars used on the New Measurement Train with MTU 4000 engines.

In 2009, Open Access Operator, Grand Central announced that it would be replacing the Paxman Valenta engines in its powercars with the MTU 4000 engine. The last powercars to retain the Valenta engines, numbers 43084 and 43123 ran several special trains for enthusiasts in 2010 before heading to Brush Traction for reengineering.

There are now no production powercars that retain there original Valenta Engines as East Midland Trains elected to replace theirs with the VP185 in 2009. The prototype powercar 43001, is currently undergoing overhaul to return it to main line operation on railtours and has been fitted with an Paxman Valenta engine taken form a First Great Western powercar during the re-engineering programme.

World Speed Record for Diesel TractionEdit

On Sunday the 1st November 1987, British Rail decided to push the HST as far as they could. As specially selected HST set was prepared at Craigentinny Depot in Edinburgh. The set was shorted to 2+5 formation and consisted of, 43159 (leading), five Mk3 coaches, and 43104 (trailing). The Mk3 Coaches had been fitted with a new type of bogie, the Swiss built SIG BT41. These bogies would later be used under the MK4 coaches hauled by Class 91 electric locomotives. The train departed Craigentinny and headed to Newcastle as an empty coaching stock move. After boarding VIP passengers at Newcastle, the train headed south on a service to London Kings Cross with the named train, "The Tees-Tyne Pullman". After a stop at Darlington, the train accelerated quickly, however was checked to 80mph on a sharp curve about five miles south of Darlington. Afterward, the train again accelerated hard, passing Northallerton at 140mph. Acceleration slowed, but just south of Thirsk, the train was timed over a measured mile at having attained or exceeded 148mph, later verified to have attained 148.5mph. The train proceeded south to York and on to London Kings Cross limited for this part of the journey to 125mph. After this record run it was noted by the driver that the train seemed to have plenty of power to spare and thought that, with enough track he could have attained 180mph. In the passenger coached it has noted that the new SIG- BT41 bogies were giving a particularly rough ride. It was later found that deficiencies in the primary suspension and in the yaw dampers was causing the coach bodies to impact the bogie frames at high speed on anything but dead straight, continuously welded rail. The two record breaking Class 43's are still in service today. Number 43159 is operating with First Great Western and operated services from London Paddington to Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Exeter, Plymouth, and Penzance, while number 43104 has been remumbered as 43304, and operates with East Coast between, London Kings Cross, Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness, and passed the site of the record run almost everyday.

Hybrid TrialEdit

In 2007, Brush Traction and Hitachi equipped Paxman Valenta powered 43089 and a semi-permanently coupled MK3 coach with a diesel hybrid electric power system. The powercar was named Hayabusa (Japanese for Peregrine Falcon), and operated the Network Rail, New Measurement Train. The powercar has since been refitted with a VP185 engine and returned to normal service with East Midland Trains.

Project MillerEdit

In May 2011 the National Railway Museum (NRM) announced that the remaining HST prototype power car 41001 would undergo full restoration work. A long-term loan was agreed between the NRM and the 125 Group of volunteers for the locomotive and a Paxman Valenta RP200L engine. The replacement engine (no. S508) was required as the original Valenta engine (no. S183) had been sectioned for display purposes. The S508 engine was lifted into the locomotive at Neville Hill depot on 29 June 2012.

In order to facilitate a main line move, Class 41 prototype HST power car 41001 was re-registered as a Class 43/9 locomotive, with the number 43000. It is the only locomotive in this sub-class.

Current OperationsEdit

As of 2015, the Class 43 is still in use with Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railway, Abellio ScotRail, Arriva CrossCountry, and East Midlands Railway.

With Great Western Railway the Class 43 its the backbone of the fleet operating express passenger services form London Paddington to destinations such as, Oxford, Hereford, Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, Swansea, Plymouth and Penzance.

With London North Eastern Railway, the Class 43 currently operates to destination that are not on the electrifies network such as Aberdeen. However they are used to supplement to Class 91 electric locomotive on the full electrified sections of the East Coast Main Line to destination such as, Peterborough, Newark Northgate, Leeds, Skipton, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and occasionally Glasgow. East Coast operate 14 HST sets.

ScotRail will opperate 27 HST sets on internal Scottish InterCity routes. The services operate under the brand Inter7City. These sets have undergone extensive refurbishment, with power doors and toilet retention tanks being fitted.

CrossCountry, has ten HST power cars in five HST sets and operates then on the busier services from Glasgow and Aberdeen to Plymouth.

East Midlands Railway operate their HST sets in Semi-Fast services from London St Pancras to Nottingham and Leeds. In the summer season they also operate to Skegness on the East Coast.

The New Measurement TrainEdit

Network Rail's New Measurement Train is a specially converted InterCity 125. It can check the condition of railway lines over a 13 week cycle. On the West Coast Main Line, care is taken so tilting trains can safely run. It measures contact between wheels, rails and overhead power lines and is equipped with lasers, video cameras and other instruments. It was launched in 2003, but the vehicles used for it are older. Its yellow livery has earned it the nickname "The Flying Banana".


Built between 1975 and 1982, the fleet is now in its fourth decade, and a replacement for the High Speed Train is being sought. This project, the Intercity Express Programme (originally known as the HST2), is being spearheaded by the Department for Transport. A consortium headed by Hitachi will design and build the replacement Hitachi Super Express Train. Various formations are to be built, an electric version and a bi-mode diesel-electric in 5 or 9 carriage lengths. The initial batches will replace HSTs on the Great Western Main Line and East Coast Main Line Main Lines.

On the Greater Western franchise, the current fleet of HSTs is expected to remain in service until 2017, the scheduled date for introduction of the Intercity Express. Between 12 and 20 HST sets will then be retained and refurbished to carry on providing services between London and Devon and Cornwall, where no electrification is planned, through to the mid-2020s. A 2011 report concluded that the Mark 3 coaches could remain in service as late as 2035 with some minor rewiring and enhancements required under disability legislation.

On the East Coast Main Line HST's will remain in service until 2018 before being replaced by the Hitachi Super Express.

To a lesser extent, high-speed DMUs from the Bombardier Voyager family as well as Alstom's Class 180 (Adelante) have replaced numerous HSTs, but all locomotives and sets have been brought back into service as a result of increasing demand.

In late 2014, Scotrail franchise winner Abellio, a subsidiary of the Dutch State Railway, announced that they would be leasing up to 40 Class 43 powercars released from First Great Western during the Intercity Express Programme and introducing them in 20, 2+5 sets on express passenger service from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness. Abellio is due to take over the Scotrail franchise from First Group in early 2015, with the HST sets been introduced in 2017.


In 1982, having seen the success of the Class 43 in the UK, Australia's New South Wales Trainlink ordered a batch of 19 powercars built to a similar design as the Class 43.

The Class 43 design was modified with a lower top speed of 100mph and a de-rated Paxman Valenta engine of 2,000bhp. The XPT powercars also feature revised horn and headlight clusters, and air intake filter to handle the dry dusty environment in which they operate. The XPT operates on services form Sydney to Dubbo, Grafton, Casino, Melbourne and Brisbane.
County link xpt

Countylink XPT

Accidents and IncidentEdit

Southall Rail Crash

Southall rail crash

The remains of coach G of the HST.

The Southall Rail crash occurred on the Great Western Main Line at Southall, West London, on 19th October 1997. Seven people were killed and 139 injured. Great Western Trains where fined £1.5million for breaches of Health and Safety law.

The crash occurred after the 10:32 Great Western Trains passenger train from Swansea to London Paddington, worked by power cars 43173 + 43163 and operating with a defective Automatic Warning System (AWS), passed a red (danger) signal (SPAD), preceded by two cautionary signals.

As the tracks straightened ahead of him, Driver Harrison observes a Class 59 locomotive a mile in distance, moving "at a funny angle" and realised to his horror that it was crossing the Up Main. The EWS-operated freight train was coming from London on the Down Relief line, hauling twenty empty bogie hopper wagons, and permitted to cross Southall East Junction on its way into Southall Yard, south of the main lines. A collision was now inevitable. The HST was travelling at about 125mph, could not stop in time under full braking.

Alan Bricker, the driver of the freight locomotive No. 59101, observed the approaching HST expecting it to stop, was alarmed instead at its speed and apparent brake application. In desperation, he tried to accelerate his train out of the path of the HST, but to no avail. At 13:20 local time, the Power car impacted. The engine severs the brake pipe. Causing the stranded hopper wagons to come to a halt.

The Power car, its right side destroyed, came to rest upright next to the remaining wagons. Coaches H, G and F uncoupled and derailed. Coach G and a wagon collide very heavily in an almost full frontal collision. The freight wagons were driven back and jackknife, colliding and jamming up against the nearby OLE stanchions. The result is the pinned Coach G, propelled by the vehicles behind, is severely distorted.

Six people were killed, and a seventh passenger died in hospital.

If the AWS equipment on the High Speed Train (HST) passenger train had been working, the chance of the accident occurring would have been highly unlikely, though not completely eliminated, since the AWS is only an advisory system. The driver's attention had been distracted (though no proof was ever discovered) and he did not observe the preceding signals visually, but AWS would have given him a clear audible warning, which would have required him to acknowledge the warning. Failure to acknowledge the warning would have caused the train's brakes to be applied. Automatic Train Protection (ATP) equipment would have almost certainly prevented the accident. The train was fitted with ATP but this was switched off. At the time of the accident, the ATP equipment was not required to be switched on, as it had proved troublesome in service. In addition, not all drivers had been trained on it.

As a result of the crash, all trains operating on the GWML must be fitted with an ATP system and have its AWS operational. Any train found to have defective systems are immediately taken out of service.

Leading Class 43 powercar 43173 was written off after the crash and cut up as Pig's Bay.

Ladbroke Grove Rail Crash


Powercar 43173 after the Crash.

The Ladbroke Grove rail crash (also known as the Paddington train crash) was a rail accident which occurred on 5 October 1999 at Ladbroke Grove, London, England. With 31 people being killed and more than 520 injured, this remains the worst rail accident on the Great Western Main Line. This was the second major accident on the Great Western Main Line in just over two years, the first being the Southall rail crash of September 1997, a few miles west in England. Both crashes would have been prevented by an operational Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, but wider fitting of this had been rejected on cost grounds. This severely damaged public confidence in the management and regulation of safety of Britain's privatized railway system.

A public inquiry into the crash by Lord Cullen was held in 2000. Since both the Paddington and Southall crashes had reopened public debate on ATP a separate joint inquiry considering the issue in the light of both crashes was also held in 2000; it confirmed the rejection of ATP and the mandatory adoption of a cheaper and less effective system, but noted a mismatch between public opinion and cost-benefit analysis. The Cullen inquiry was carried out in 2 blocks of sittings, sandwiching the 'joint inquiry'; the first block dealt with the accident itself, the second block dealt with the management and regulation of UK railway safety; this had always been part of the inquiry terms of reference, but was given additional urgency by a further train crash at Hatfield in October 2000. Major changes in the formal responsibilities for management and regulation of safety of UK rail transport ensued.

At about 08:06 BST on 5 October 1999 a Thames Trains service to Bedwyn railway station in Wiltshire left Paddington Station. From Paddington to Ladbroke Grove Junction (about 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west), the lines were bi-directional (signaled to allow trains to travel in either direction, in and out of the platforms of Paddington Station); beyond Ladbroke Grove the main line from London to South Wales and the West of England switched to the more conventional layout of two lines in each direction ('Up' for travel to London, 'Down' for travel away from London) carrying fast and slow trains. As an out-bound train, the train (a 3-car turbo class 165 'Turbo' diesel unit) would have been routed onto the Down Main line at Ladbroke Grove. It should have been held at a red signal at Ladbroke Grove until this could be done safely. Instead, it ran past the signal; the points settings beyond this brought it in under 600 metres onto the Up Main Line; at about 8:09 as it was entering this it collided nearly head-on and at a combined speed of about 130 miles per hour (210 km/h) with the 06:03 First Great Western train from Cheltenham to Paddington.

The latter train was a High Speed Train, driven by 52-year-old Brian Cooper, who was killed in the accident. It comprised eight Mark 3 coaches with a Class 43 diesel power car at each end. It was of much more substantial construction than the Turbo train, the leading car of which was totally destroyed. The diesel fuel carried by this train was dispersed by the collision and ignited in a fireball, causing a series of separate fires in the wreckage, particularly in coach H at the front of the HST, which was completely burnt out. Thirty-one people, including the drivers of both trains involved, were killed (24 on the Turbo train, six on the HST as a result of the impact, with one further fatality as a result of the fire), and 227 people were admitted to hospital. A further 296 people were treated at the site of the crash for minor injuries.

Class 43 powercar 43011 was written off after the crash suffering from crash and explosion damage.

Ufton Nervet Rail Crash

The Ufton Nervet rail crash was a collision between a train and car near Ufton Nervet, Berkshire, England in 2004. Seven people, including the drivers of the train and the car, were killed.

On 6 November 2004 at 18:12 GMT, the First Great Western 17:35 service from London Paddington to Plymouth, an InterCity 125 (HST) led by a Class 43 power car (43019) collided with a stationary car at an automatic level crossing close to the rural West Berkshire village of Ufton Nervet. The inquest concluded that the crash was caused by Brian Drysdale, a chef at the nearby Wokefield Park Hotel, committing suicide by parking his car on the crossing.

More than 20 ambulances from 5 counties and 14 fire engines attended the crash. Injured passengers were first helped at the Winning Hand pub. Survivors reported using safety hammers to break the train windows after the collision to escape. Light sticks and mobile phones were used by passengers to provide some light. 61 injured people were taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and others to the North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke. Other passengers were treated at the scene and the Winning Hand pub for minor injuries.

The rear of the 220m (720ft) long InterCity 125 train came to rest about 100 m (110yd) beyond the crossing with all eight coaches derailed. Seven people were killed in the crash: the car's driver, the driver of the train, and five of its passengers. About 200 people were on board at the time of the incident (official estimates are around 180–200). About half of these were injured, 12 of them seriously. Eleven people were cut free from the wreckage. The high structural integrity of the Mark 3 coaches prevented a much higher death toll, plus the fact that the more lightly loaded first-class coaches were at the leading end of the train.

The crash, investigation and necessary repairs blocked the main railway route between London and the West Country until the morning of 16 November, subsequently operating under temporary speed restrictions to allow the bedding in of ballast. In the meantime InterCity trains operated via Swindon and Westbury and local services were replaced by rail and bus shuttles. Power car 43019 was written off after the crash.

Neville Hill Edit

In 2019, Power car 43300 was damaged after a collision with 800109 just outside the Neville Hill TMD in Leeds. Three coaches in 800109 derailed as a result and was taken to Doncaster for repairs. 43300 is believed to be awaiting scrap.



A FGW class 43
Class 43 and class 143
Class 43 and class 143 main latter
Class 43 converted dVT
Class 43 leaving
Class 43 cc profile
Class 43 cc front
43058 at Selby BR Blue
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