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‘Backbone’ of high-speed rail in Britain donated to National Railway Museum

14 November 2019

By Rail Technology Magazine

‘Backbone’ of high-speed rail in Britain donated to National Railway Museum

Britain’s most influential modern locomotive, Class 43 High-speed train, also known as the InterCity 125 will join the stationary fleet of over 260 locomotives and rolling stock at the National Railway Museum in York.

The train, no.43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’, has given more than 40 years in service and has now been donated by Angel Trains and Great Western Railway.

First units of this locomotive were introduced in 1976, and quickly became the backbone of high-speed rail route and blazing a trail for British rail travel.

Clad in the original yellow and blue British Rail style, the train got the nickname ‘the Flying Banana’.

The train’s designer was Sir Kenneth Grange, who created the iconic wedge-shaped nose cone and eventually became the engine’s name in 2016.

This high-speed train was built in 1975, the same year as the National Railway Museum first opened, and was the fastest train in Europe, second only to the Japanese Bullet Train internationally.

It holds the world diesel speed record of 148mph, set on Nov 1 1987, but now will be on static display as the centrepiece of the Museum’s Great Hall, supported by a British Rail story exhibition.

Andrew McLean, assistant director and head curator at the National Railway Museum, said:

“This is one of our most significant acquisitions, and I am delighted to be able to display the HST power car, Sir Kenneth Grange here in York. It is fair to say that this train revolutionised rail travel and helped shape British society, bringing people and communities together.

“I would like to thank Angel Trains, Great Western Railway and Rail Operations Group for their generosity and hard work to bring this icon of British engineering into the national collection.”  

The iconic High-speed train was so well functioning that 44 years after original roll-out, they can still be found carrying passengers across the UK, but are being replaced with the latest Class 800 Intercity Express Trains manufactured in the UK by Hitachi.

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