The HST125 must be one of the railway design greats. But their 40 year reign as an iconic sight on British tracks is coming to an end. The BBC reports:
A new Japanese train is arriving on British shores today to replace the much loved InterCity 125. Will people take it to their hearts in the way they did its veteran predecessor?
Pendolino probably, perhaps a Javelin, possibly even a Voyager. Not many modern trains are household names in the manner of a Rocket or a Mallard.
A new train is arriving from Japan with big shoes to fill. An early prototype Hitachi Class 800 Super Express will be unloaded at Southampton docks as a first step to replacing the familiar InterCity 125.
Over the next 30 years, 122 of these high tech trains will be assembled at a new plant in County Durham. All will be electric and almost half will be able to switch between running on overhead wires or – where a line has not been electrified – as diesels.
The first trains will run on the Great Western main line from 2017 and the East Coast main line from 2018.
Rail writer Christian Wolmar says the new Hitachi will become the standard UK train over the coming decades. “It is due to become the 747 of the railways.”
Read the full article on the BBC here.
(I suggest the first one should be named, ‘Jeremy Clarkson’, perhaps followed by, ‘The Stig’.)
And more from the BBC on Chinese ideas for hyper-speed trains. There really must be a rail fan on the editorial staff somewhere!
UPDATE. Thanks to Glenn for pointing out that XPT’s (or HST’s in disguise) are still running in New South Wales. Looking at Wikipedia, these units are a little different from their UK cousins:
The High Speed Train design was significantly modified with the power cars being 50 cm (19.7 in) shorter, the Paxman Valenta engine down rated from 2,250 to 2,000 bhp (1,680 to 1,490 kW), gearing lowered for a top operating speed of 160 km/h (99 mph), suspension modified to operate on inferior track and air filters and the cooling system modified to cater for hotter and dustier Australian conditions. A different light cluster was fitted along with three high beam spotlights mounted to the roof. The passenger trailers cars were based on a Budd design, rather than the British Rail Mark 3 trailers, which were considered unsuitable.
And a little PS for Paul. Bet you don’t get these on the greens in Selsdon? Working in Florida may have the occasional downside! Brings new meaning to ‘lost balls’?