BRITAIN’S most influential modern locomotive is set to join the National Railway Museum’s collection after more than 40 years in service.

The Class 43 no. 43002, Sir Kenneth Grange, High-Speed Train (HST), also known as the InterCity 125, has been donated by Angel Trains and Great Western Railway.

The HST has been a familiar sight on the UK rail network since they were introduced in 1976 and the train quickly became the backbone of high-speed rail routes, reversing the fortunes of British Rail and sparking a renaissance in rail travel.

The locomotive is the first production HST and carries the original yellow and blue British Rail livery which led to the train’s nickname – ‘the Flying Banana’.

The engine is officially named after the train’s designer Sir Kenneth Grange, who created the iconic wedge-shaped nose cone. As one of Britain’s finest industrial designers, Kenneth’s streamlined design helped make the train a success with the public and the engine was officially named after him in 2016.

Power car no. 43002 was built in the same year the National Railway Museum opened in York 1975. The HST was initially the fastest train in Europe and internationally, second only to the Japanese Bullet Train. The HST class still holds the world diesel speed record of 148mph which was set on November 1, 1987.

The HST power car is now on static public display at the centre of the National Railway Museum’s Great Hall, alongside an exhibition that tells the story of British Rail.

Andrew McLean, assistant director and head curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “This is one of our most significant acquisitions, and I am delighted to be able to display the HST power car, Sir Kenneth Grange here in York. It is fair to say that this train revolutionised rail travel and helped shape British society, bringing people and communities together.

“I would like to thank Angel Trains, Great Western Railway and Rail Operations Group for their generosity and hard work to bring this icon of British engineering into the national collection.”

Kevin Tribley, CEO at Angel Trains, said: “The InterCity 125 is a trailblazer of the British rail industry and we are delighted to support the National Railway Museum in preserving Sir Kenneth Grange’s iconic design for future generations to discover.

“Education is incredibly important to us at Angel Trains, as well as celebrating innovation and technology, so we are proud to donate this much-admired locomotive to the museum’s extensive collection.”

Mark Hopwood, managing director of Great Western Railway, said: “When introduced in 1976, these trains were a step change in InterCity travel across the country with new levels of comfort and faster journeys and the new Intercity Express Trains are building on the standards that these set.

“This particular locomotive has been a firm favourite since we returned it to its original livery in 2016 and we are really pleased to see this particular locomotive joining the National Railway Museum’s collection.

“Our team at Laira Depot in Plymouth have done a fantastic job in preparing it for display and as the last locomotive to leave Paddington in passenger service, its place in history is rightly deserved.”

The High-Speed Train has proved so popular, that more than 40 years after entering service, they can still be found hauling passenger services on routes across the UK.

Prior to entering preservation, power car Sir Kenneth Grange was owned by Angel Trains and operated by Great Western Railway (GWR) on the western route, terminating at London Paddington. On 18 May 2019, the power car was part of GWR’s very last regularly timetabled HST service from London Paddington to Taunton.

After more than 40 years’ in operation on the Great Western network, the HST is being replaced with the latest Class 800 Intercity Express Trains manufactured in Newton Aycliffe by Hitachi.