Will the swallow be a swansong?

THIS year has been a big one for the HST, one which has seen the iconic design notch up 40 years in front line service. It is a remarkable achievement unmatched in the modern traction era.paul-b

There are older diesels around, but none still doing the job they were first intended to do, day in and day out – while only three of the 197 production power cars built have been scrapped so far.

There have been a number of events to mark this significant anniversary, as reported in the pages of this magazine. The 125 Group has taken the NRM’s prototype power car on tour, plus there was the unprecedented line-up of power cars at the Great Western Railway open day in Bristol in May.

GWR also repainted the first production power car No. 43002 into original blue and yellow livery, and has now gone one better by releasing No. 43185 in InterCity Swallow livery (see page 9).

It is great to see the two retro liveries out and about, but this month has seen the first IEP reach Plymouth on test ahead

of entering service next summer, when HSTs will start to be withdrawn. Some will find further use in Scotland, but the future for the rest is uncertain – so the message is catch them now while you still can.

Well done GB Railfreight

The mammoth tour organised by GBRf to mark its 15th anniversary was a resounding success. With 19 locos taking part over four days, including one overnight, the charter crossed the country from south to north and east to west – raising an amazing £125,000 for charity in the process. The staff, organisers and everyone else involved did not have to give their time for free – but they did, and for that they deserve praise for a remarkable achievement.

Paul Bickerdyke

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