The Class 43 diesel-electric locomotive provides traction for the High Speed Train fleet used nationwide across the country.

Technical Information Edit

  • Built: 1976 - 1982
  • Builder: BREL
  • Max Speed: 125mph/200kph

History Edit

Following a successful prototype, 27 High Speed Trains formed of 2 Class 43 locomotives and 7 MK3 coaches where ordered and started service on the Great Western route from London Paddington to Bristol and South Wales in the 1970's. The trains were originally intended to operate as fixed formation DMU, and as such were originally given the Class 253 designation. The trains were based at Old Oak Common, London and St Phillips Marsh, Bristol.

The first scheduled 125mph passenger runs took place in October 1976. At the time, the more technologically advanced APT was still suffering teething issues, so the success of the conventional HST was seen as vindication for the continuation of BREL policy of tandem development of the two types. The introduction of the fleet slashed timings dramatically, significantly increasing ridership and revenue.

The success of the HST on Western metals caught the attention of the East Coast Intercity company, so the decision was made to order 32 HST sets (designated Class 254) to replace the Class 55 Deltics on express trains from London Kings Cross. HST facilities where built at Bounds Green (London), Neville Hill (Leeds), Heaton (Newcastle) and Craigentinny (Edinburgh), with a full timetable beginning in October 1981.

On the Great Western, an extra 14 sets where ordered to replace locomotives from Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance, with further units ordered for the East Coast (4 extra sets) and Midland (18 sets).

Proposed but never ordered or delivered where 10 for the Midland Mainline and 30 for other routes such as the expresses over the Manchester - Leeds transpennine line, Edinburgh - Glasgow QS trains and the Waterloo - Weymouth services.

1984 saw authorisation of electrification of the East Coast Main Line from London Kings Cross. To operate under the wires, 31 Intercity 225 trains hauled by 31 Class 91 locomotives were ordered. This allowed the cascade of 20 HSTs to other operators of the type.

In 2000, MEX complemented its HST's with a fleet of Class 222 Xplorer DEMU's. At the same time, Midlands fleet of HSTs underwent a comprehensive refurbishment and upgrade, including replacing the main Valenta power unit of each power car with a Paxman 12VP185 engine.

2004 saw GW begin replacing the engines of its Class 43 HST power cars with MTU-Chrysler engines made in Germany. Power cars 43004/009 where re-engined at Brush Loughborough. The trial was successful and production MTU began in 2006.

Operators Edit


GNEX use a total of 31 Class 43's in 16 sets on non electrified services from London Kings Cross to Aberdeen, Inverness and Hull. There are 2 First Class coaches, 1 Buffet / Restaurant coach and 6 Standard Class coaches.

GNEX Class 43 in Express livery: File:GNEXcl43.jpg

GNEX class 43 in 2012 Olympic livery File:GNEXcl432012.jpg

Deluxe Great WesternEdit

86 power cars are used by Deluxe Great Western hauling formations of 8.

The London - Bristol route was the first route worked by an HST, and is currently run by DGW. Following a successful introduction, services were extended outwards to Cardiff and Swansea. The London - Cardiff - Swansea route had a record cross-border time, resulting in an extension south of Bristol to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance.

In recent times, services have been introduced to Cheltenham and Hereford and the HSTs now operate all of DGWs named trains, such as the Cornish Riviera and Pilgrims Express.


The Midland power cars are used on the MEX network running from London to the East Midlands and Yorkshire along with the more long-distance CrossCountry trains connecting Scotland, the North of England and the Midlands with the South West and South Coast.

Info about individual members of this class can be found on ALTOPS.