The High Speed Train (capitalised) was the first high speed train in Britain
: that is, the first train to go over 125mph. It is known by its official designation, Class 43
, its trade name of Intercity 125
or the more colloquial name of "Screamer", referring to the loud screaming noise that the accelerators in the train engine make.
It was introduced in the late 1970s by British Rail
, at a time when the generally accepted maximum speed of British trains was around 60mph, or 100mph if you were lucky. This, plus its fast acceleration
, made it ideal for passenger use and it slashed journey times around the country.
The train is widely used on long haul passenger
services even today and has been hailed by many as Britain's best train ever.
The original Intercity 125
livery was blue and yellow-yellow fronted with a long blue stripe down the side of the train. This led to the nickname "flying yellow banana
The next livery
was in less widespread use. It was black at the top and white at the bottom, with a red stripe at the bottom. This did not feature the British Rail name or logo, and carried a new Intercity
logo, with the name in serif type and an image of a bird. This is colloquial
ly known in rail circles as the "fag packet
" livery, due to its similarity to the look of a cigarette packet.
After privatisation, the individual train operating companies
attached their own looks to the HST, with (First) Great Western
changing its livery many times, finally to a Barbie-pink and white theme to match FirstGroup
's corporate colours.
The HST is usually made of 7 or 8 British Rail
Mk3 coaches, with a Class 43
engine on each end. The double engine arrangement removes the need for the engine to be decoupled, go to a turntable
and then to the other end of the train.
The HST is used by many national railway companies, including Virgin Trains
, First Great Western
and Midland Mainline
. It was also copied by the Australians for their XPT
(however the XPT is slower).
The HST is still in widespread use. First Great Western
are slowly replacing their HSTs with multiple unit Adelante
trains, which can travel at the same speed as the HST
s and offer virtually no further benefits to the customer. They also lack some of the comfort and style of the HSTs, and have noisy underfloor engines known to irritate passengers on the long journeys for which they are meant. The Adelantes are also thought by many to have a plasticky, "flimsy
" feel to them.
For those who may cry plagiarism, I also submitted this to Wikipedia.