Saturday 12 December saw the inaugural run of Locomotive Services Blue Pullman HST from London St Pancras International to Crewe.
The Blue Pullmans was a luxury train used by British Rail from 1960 to 1973 using Class 251 power cars with non-air-conditioned Mk1 coaches but later were replaced by air-conditioned Mk2 coaches.
The Blue Pullmans were used on the Western & London Midland regions with London Midland services running from London St Pancras & London Euston to places such as Manchester & Nottingham and services on the Western region running from London Paddington to places such as Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff & Swansea. The Midland Pullman services were brought to a halt in 1965 and all London Midland Blue Pullman trains were transferred over to the Western Region.
Due to reliability issues and being difficult to maintain the Blue Pullmans were all withdrawn from service in 1973 and were scrapped.
In 2006 the Blue Pullman was resurrected using Class 47 Locomotives and Mk2 coaches with FM Rail, however, with the ceasing of FM Rail this saw the end of Blue Pullman Class 47 charters one year later in 2007.
In 2020 Locomotive Services Ltd (LSL) resurrected the Blue Pullman using a HST set repainting and refurbishing ex EMR Class 43 VP185 engined HST power cars 43055 & 43046 and 9 ex EMR & GWR Mk3 coaches.
The Midland Pullman on 12th December would be the first LSL Blue Pullman HST charter running from London St Pancras International to Crewe via the Hope Valley and return via WCML & Melton Mowbray.
The Midland Pullman was originally meant to run on Saturday 14th November from London St Pancras to Manchester Piccadilly and return, however, due to the 2nd national lockdown and covid-19 restrictions in Greater Manchester, the tours destination was changed to Crewe.
The Midland Pullman would see the HST travel through places on the outward leg it’s such as St Albans City, Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Ilkeston, Langley Mill, Alfreton, Chesterfield, Grindleford, Hathersage, Hope, Chinley, Guide Bridge, Denton, Stockport, Wilmslow & Sandbach.
On the return leg the HST would travel through places such as Stafford, Rugeley Trent Valley, Lichfield Trent Valley, Tamworth, Nuneaton, Hinckley, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton, & St Albans City.
On the 12th December RailView captured The Midland Pullman at
- Tapton Bridge, Chesterfield, Derbyshire: Passing through at 11:26, 10 minutes late after departing Chesterfield.
- Hathersage foot crossing, east of Hathersage Station, Derbyshire: Passing through at 11:45, 4 minutes late.
Class 43 Locomotive info:
- Power type Diesel-electric
- Built by British Rail Engineering Limited at Crewe Works
- Built date, 1976-1982
- Total Produced, 197
- Wheel configuration, Bo-Bo
- Engine, Paxman Valenta, Paxman VP185 & MTU
- Power output ,2,250 HP
- Max Speed, 125MPH
- Nickname, HST
Here’s some photos of the HST at Tapton Bridge after departing Chesterfield.
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