Here, at AROnline, we adore the HST. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the introduction of full revenue service and rail travel at more than two miles a minute. To celebrate HST-40, the St Philips Marsh Depot, near Bristol Temple Meads, will be having an Open Day on 2 May, where you will be able to see these wonderful locomotives and other legendary preserved traction close up.
A special collection of traction including steam and classic diesel locomotives will also be on display and rumour has it that Sir Kenneth Grange will be attending the event to assist in some locomotive naming ceremonies. Sir Kenneth was responsible for the restyling of the cab of the power car and the InterCity livery scheme, the train and all-new 125 brand image pretty much turned British Rail’s fortunes around – almost overnight.
The iconic InterCity 125, as it was initially named, first plied its trade in 1976 along Brunel’s billiard table or as it’s better known, the Great Western Mainline. This is the line that connects London Paddington to Bristol, and into South Wales and Cornwall. Its introduction onto the Eastern Region followed soon after, where some incredible feats of speed were achieved. These included breaking its own world speed record for diesel traction – from 143 to 148mph in 1987 – a feat never bettered since anywhere else on the planet!
St Philips Marsh, the vast and recently upgraded, built-to-purpose depot, is one of a number that are strategically placed around the former BR InterCity network, designed solely for the accommodation of the High Speed Train. It was completed in late 1975 and other HST depots in the UK are: Bounds Green and Old Oak Common (London), Craigentinny (Lothian), Heaton (Tyneside), Laira (Plymouth) and Neville Hill in Leeds.
The event is being organised by GWR (formerly First Great Western), the depot is home to the company’s HST sets, and it undertakes routine maintenance and repairs. Proceeds from the tickets will be going to the Springboard Opportunity Group – a charity that supports and helps very young disabled children and their families. AROnline will be heading down there on the day, of course, and doors open at 10.30am. Free buses from Temple Meads station to and from the Depot will be operating every 15 minutes.
- Tickets are booked in advance with more details about the event and the varying pricing options obtained by clicking HERE