Saturday 15th May saw the end of an era for the Midland Mainline, with East Midlands Railway running their final HST passenger services.
For 39 years, the Class 43 HSTs, like on many other mainlines, dominated the Midland Mainline running services over the years from London St Pancras to destinations such as Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield and Leeds, plus occasionally making trips to Lincoln Central, Skegness, York & Scarborough.
The HSTs from 1982 to 2021 travelled millions of miles, serving millions of people each year under operators such as British Rail from 1982 to 1996, Midland Mainline from 1996 to 2007, East Midlands Trains from 2007 to 2019 and East Midlands Railway from 2019 to 2021.
To celebrate the retirement of their HSTs, EMR painted two of their powercars in special liveries, 43102, the fastest diesel locomotive in the world, alongside 43159 being painted into InterCity swallow livery and being given the new name ‘The Journey Shrinker’ stating its speed record of 148.5mph underneath the name, and 43274 being reliveried into East Midlands Railway purple livery, making this the only powercar to run in this short-lived livery.
Throughout the life of the midland region HSTs, they have always used Paxman engines with the use of Valentas from 1982 to 2008, alongside VP185s from 1996s to 2020, when they were replaced by ex-London North Eastern Railway MTU powercars due to being more energy efficient and safer for the environment.
Also, from 2018 to 2020, EMT and EMR operated ex-Grand Central buffered MTU powercar HST sets from Angel Trains, these were replaced on 11th December 2020 alongside the VP185 sets.
For EMR’s upgrading plan, it was originally intended for the HSTs to be withdrawn in 2020 but due to the covid-19 pandemic this was postponed by a year. Their plans are to bring in the new Hitachi Class 810 Aurora to replace all of their InterCity stock by 2023, such as Class 43s, 180s – which are temporarily running with EMR – and 222s, and with the introduction of EMR Electrics services with the new timetable on 16th May, this now means all London St Pancras to Corby services will be operated by the Class 360s EMUs, freeing up services for the Class 222 & 180s to take over the former HST services to Nottingham & Leeds.
However, Leeds services will now no longer operating on weekends and will only see one a day from Monday to Friday operated by a Class 222 Meridian. The withdrawal of the HSTs also means that Neville Hill Depot will no longer see EMR stock being maintained there due to the new Leeds services seeing the Meridian operate a Leeds to Derby service where the train would return to Etches Park Depot.
What will happen to these HSTs now that they are withdrawn?
It is thought that these sets will now go into storage to await possible future usage at Ely, Cambridgeshire, whilst 43102 is destined to be preserved by the National Railway Museum and will be put on static display in York along with ex Great Western Railway powercar 43002 Sir Kenneth Grange, which has been on display in York since 2019.
The final EMR HST services included:
- 1B23 06:34 Leeds to London St Pancras International via Nottingham
- With 43309 & 43272, 43309 leading from Leeds to Nottingham and 43272 leading from Nottingham to London St Pancras International
- 1B28 07:40 Leeds to London St Pancras International via Nottingham
- With 43274 & 43102, 43274 leading from Leeds to Sheffield, 43102 leading from Sheffield to Nottingham after an unscheduled diversion around the Old Road sending it via Woodhouse and Darnall instead of Dore & Totley and Dronfield and 43274 leading from Nottingham to London St Pancras International.
- 1D63 18:34 London St Pancras International to Leeds via Nottingham
- With 43309 & 43272, 43309 leading from London St Pancras to Nottingham and 43272 leading from Nottingham to Leeds.
- 1F70 20:01 London St Pancras International to Leeds via Derby
- With 43102 & 43274, 43102 leading throughout the whole journey.
The Final EMR HST services would see both sets travel through places on it’s such as St Albans City, Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Derby, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Meadowhall, & Wakefield Westgate, reverse services heading to the capital would travel through Wakefield Westgate, Meadowhall, Sheffield, Woodhouse, Dronfield, Chesterfield, Alfreton, Nottingham, Beeston, Duffield, Derby, Long Eaton, East Midlands Parkway, Loughborough, Leicester, Market Harborough, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton & St Albans City.
15th May saw RailView capture the final day of EMR HST operations at locations such as:
- 43272 & 43309:
- Hagg Hill, Tupton, Derbyshire: Passing through at 07:57, 3 mins late
- Clay Cross, Derbyshire: Passing through at 07:58, 3 mins late
- East Midlands Parkway, Nottinghamshire, Arriving at 08:53, 1 min early and departing at 08:56, on time
- Tapton Bridge, Chesterfield, Derbyshire: Passing through at 21:09, on time
- Dronfield, Derbyshire: Passing through at 21:13, 1 min early
- 43102 & 43274:
- Cossington, Leicestershire: Passing through at 10:04, 1 min early
- Chesterfield, Derbyshire: Arriving at 21:59, 2 mins early and departing at 22:02 on time
- Dronfield, Derbyshire: Passing through at 22:07, 1 min early
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 more photos of RailView’s day:
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