Events : HST@40 – your chance to get up close and personal

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Mike Humble

The legendary High Speed Train in the all new GWR livery. Its 40 years since its introduction in full passenger service first seen on the Great Western Mainline.
The legendary High Speed Train in the all-new GWR livery. It is 40 years since its introduction in full passenger service on the Great Western Mainline

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.

No longer a silent museum piece but now a running loco, the Project Miller Group will be bringing the prototype HST power car no: 41001 to the event
No longer a silent museum piece but now a running loco. The Project Miller Group will be bringing the freshly restored prototype HST power car no: 41001 complete with its ear-splitting Paxman Valenta 12RP-220L engine to the event – it’s really quite stunning

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!

Operator rivalry will be put aside for charity. For those with an allergy to the German MTU re-powered GWR HST sets, Stagecoach owned East Midland Trains will be proudly displaying one of their examples - the only operate a pure Paxman VP185 engined fleet.
Operator rivalry on the day will be put aside for charity. For those with an allergy to the German MTU re-powered GWR HST sets, Stagecoach-owned East Midlands Trains will be proudly displaying one of their examples – the only HST user to operate a Paxman engine fleet, albeit the later VP185 unit

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
Bristol's St Philips Marsh depot was completed in 1975. Designed and purpose built to accommodate the HST and undertake required maintenance.
Bristol’s St Philips Marsh Depot was completed in 1975 – it was designed and purpose built to accommodate the HST and undertake required maintenance. The Depot has recently undergone an upgrade and refit to the tune of a cool £7.8 million


Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications


  1. I remember when the HST was new in 1976 on the East Coast main line and how modern & futuristic it looked then – and it’s design has stood the test of time.

    Sounds like a good day out for a worthy cause too.

  2. I remember clearly when the HST first appeared at Reading station, being a train spotter in the early/mid 70s it was so futuristic at a time when all you could see was diesel locos such as Westerns,Brush4 and Hymecs usually in a filthy condition and hardened spotters frowned upon these then as character less and boring and no one will be interested in them in time to come,how times have changed.

  3. I know the HST’s were not popular with Deltic fans when they were displaced from the East Coast Main Line.

  4. Nice that the stylist Sir Kenneth Grange will be there. Shame that the Engineers who are responsible for the other 99.9% of the HST are completely forgotten.

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