British Rail Class 43 HST.

I saw my first Class 43 in Bristol in 2015, and I have to admit I was not sure whether to be impressed or nonchalant about it. As far as I was concerned they were not visually very attractive, but I have to admit, their longevity has been quite amazing.  I have since done 2 trips on trains where they provided motive power, and I did enjoy the experience of hurtling along, although I think my Pendolino trip in 2008 was much more enjoyable.

The most sightings that I have done have been in Reading and in Bristol, and I am hoping one day to get decent pics of the new green liveried 43’s used by the Great Western Railways (formerly First Great Western). The only other odd livery I have seen so far have been Cross Country liveried engines.

This is my collection.

43194 (Bristol)

43194 (Bristol)

43156 (Chippenham)

43156 (Chippenham)

43131 (Reading)

43131 (Reading)

Unknown number (Chippenham)

Unknown number (Chippenham)

43197 (Reading)

43197 (Reading)

The front “office”

43384 (Bristol)

43384 (Bristol)

43301 (Birmingham)

43301 (Birmingham)

And what of the future?

43171 (back), 43187 (front) (Bristol)

43171 (back), 43187 (front) (Bristol)

In early October 2015 I saw my first rebranded FGW train which had returned to the original Great Western Railway brand and in the new green livery. It did lend a certain gravitas to these veteran engines.

43187 in GWR livery

43187 in GWR livery

In 2017, I spotted 43187 again en route to Paddington, and she had been rebranded as “The Welshman”

And on the 17th I saw another rebranding exercise.

43144 (Bristol)

43144 (Bristol)

Unfortunately the Class 43 may be counting the days, the electrification of the line between Reading and London and further will mean snazzy new electric traction, but somehow I suspect the 43’s will soldier on for awhile still, at any rate they are expected to be around at least till 2019.

4 x HST’s at London Paddington in April 2017

It is worth remembering that the prototype InterCity 125 (power cars 43000 and 43001) set the world record for diesel traction at 143 mph (230 km/h) on 12 June 1973, and an HST also holds the world speed record for a diesel train carrying passengers. 194 of the 197 locomotives built remain in service and that in itself has to be some sort of record.

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 19/10/2015. Added new image 25/03/2017, 09/04/2017

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