The diesel-powered High Speed Train (HST) known as the InterCity 125 was built by British Rail between 1975 and 1982. With its familiar sloping nose, it could run at speeds of up to 125 mph hence its name.
The train cut the journey time between London and Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line by an hour and holds the world record for the fastest diesel-powered train carrying passengers reaching a speed of 148 mph on 1 November 1987.
Each InterCity 125 train consisted of two Class 43 diesel-electric power cars, each powered originally by 2,250 bhp Paxman Valenta engines, and a set of six to nine coaches.
InterCity rail travel was heavily promoted with TV and print adverts in the 1980s – including the famous “This is the age of the train” adverts. The service proved an instant hit with the British public.
The InterCity 125 diesel locomotive was only intended as a stopgap before electrification but linked Britain’s cities for more than four decades. The last scheduled InterCity 125 journey took place on 19 May 2019.
The very first production Class 43 HST, built in 1975 and named after designer Sir Kenneth Grange – who also designed angle-poise lamps, the Kenwood Chef mixer and Britain’s first parking meter – is on display at the National Railway Museum in York.