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HSTs operate in passenger service in Scotland for ScotRail and Midland Pullman railtours. One HST set is used for Network Rail Infrastructure Monitoring operated by Colas, with other power cars also used for PLPR trains. HST were retired from East Coast Main line services in December 2019, and Cross Country services in September 2023.

Abellio ScotRail

ScotRail HST at Carnoustie » Pictured at Carnoustie, ScotRail HST 43033 leads the 0907 from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. The start of regular service on 15th October 2018. Photo by dmallan

Abellio ScotRail was to receive nine 4-carriage and 17 five-carriage trainsets from 2018 from Great Western Railway for use on longer-distance services between Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The first set, which included power cars 43021 and 43132, was delivered to ScotRail on 1st September 2017. The set was transferred to Aberdeen Clayhills on 10th September for the start of driver training.

The power cars were refurbished at Brush Loughborough, with the coaches being refurbished at Wabtec Doncaster. The first refurbished set was due in February 2018, with a full fleet in service by December 2018.

On the 15th October 2018 after months of crew training, the first revenue earning and fully branded 'InterCity' diagram begun and ran with power cars 43033 & 43183 along with refurbished MK3 Set (HA26) on the Edinburgh - Aberdeen route, as well as on to Dyce;

1B18 09:07 Aberdeen - Edinburgh
5B18 11:52 Edinburgh - Haymarket Depot
5A65 12:52 Haymarket Depot - Edinburgh
1A65 13:30 Edinburgh - Aberdeen/2A64 16:19 Aberdeen - Dyce
1B43 16:39 Dyce - Edinburgh
5B43 19:53 Edinburgh - Haymarket Depot
5A97 21:11 Haymarket Depot - Edinburgh
1A97 21:43 Edinburgh - Aberdeen

Sunday 9th December 2018 saw the launch of the new timetable, and a wider introduction of the fleet's HSTs, now including unrefurbished (branded by Scotrail as 'Classic') ex-First Great Western Mk3 slam-door sets.

Scotrail's HST Fleet now operate on the following routes:

  • Edinburgh - Aberdeen
  • Aberdeen - Inverness
  • Glasgow Queen Street - Aberdeen
  • Inverness - Edinburgh / Glasgow Queen Street


LNER operated a fleet of HSTs along the ECML from London to Edinburgh and Aberdeen or Inverness until December 2019.

Virgin Trains East Coast red livery with white stripe & LNER branding (VT)

43296 @ Gleneagles - 07 July 2018 » The LNER vinyl gradually being introduced, over the former Virgin logo, on the Inverness to London Kings Cross service Photo by Gleneagles

LNER had 15 HST sets, and thirty-two Class 43 HST Power Cars. They were based at Edinburgh Craigentinny depot for maintenance.

Between December 2006 and March 2009, the thirty power cars operated by GNER and later NXEC were fitted with MTU engines and renumbered in to 432xx and 433xx series. A further two powercars (from East Midlands Trains) were added to the East Coast fleet in May 2011 and soon re-engined and renumbered.

LNER also hired-in powercars from East Midlands Trains. Usually these were only used on services between Yorkshire and London, but sometime found their way to Scotland.

EMT Power Car » 43054 on the rear of 1S03 07.10 Leeds to Aberdeen arriving at plat 1 Waverley on 24/08/2016 Photo by PIERSHILL2001

Arriva CrossCountry

Arriva CrossCountry had five HST sets to provide additional capacity to support their fleet of Voyager and Super Voyager DMUs.
43285 sits in full sun during the stop at Edinburgh whilst working 9S53 0640 Plymouth to Aberdeen on the 8th of September 2008 Photo by brucekitchener

  • The CrossCountry HST sets were taken out of service in September 2023.
    • Owing to a train failure at Neville Hill depot, the final runs to and from Scotland were a day earlier than anticipated. They were operated by 43321 + 43378 (and set XC05)
    • on Thursday 14th September as 1S51 12:27 Plymouth to Glasgow Central (then 5S51 22:23 ECS to Craigentinny)
    • on Friday 15th September 2023 as 1V50 06:06 Edinburgh to Plymouth.

Arriva Crosscountry HST Power car fleet

XC fleet MTU Renumbering
Original No.
New No.
In Service
Crosscountry Two tone Silver / Plum
13th August 2008
10th December 2008
10th December 2008
Crosscountry Two tone silver / Plum
14th November 2007
13th August 2008
15th August 2008
Crosscountry Two Tone silver / Plum
16th July 2008
16th July 2008
Crosscountry Two tone silver / Plum
9th July 2007
30th July 2008
31st July 2008
Crosscountry Two Tone silver / Plum
September 2008
12th December 2008
12th December 2008
Crosscountry Two tone silver / Plum
25th January 2008
10th September 2008
14th September 2008
Crosscountry Two tone silver / Plum
February 2008
26th September 2008
27th September 2008
Crosscountry Two Tone silver / Plum
September 2008
23rd January 2009
23rd January 2009
Crosscountry Two tone silver / Plum
30th July 2008
26th November 2008
26th November 2008
Crosscountry Two tone silver / Plum
16th July 2008
7th November 2008
7th November 2008

  • Two former LNER power-cars were added to the fleet in December 2020:
    • 43208 in service 09/12/20 in XC livery
    • 43239 in service 15/12/20 in XC livery
  • 43366 named "HST 40 - Celebrating 40 years of High Speed Train services on the Cross Country network" (on 28/09/2022)
  • 43384 repainted into 1980s 'InterCity 125' executive livery, carrying numbers 43184 and 253051. (from July 2022).
  • 43207 repainted into original 'InterCity 125' blue & yellow livery, carrying number 43007. (from August 2023).
  • 43208 repainted into 1990s INTERCITY 'swallow' livery livery, carrying number 43008. (from August 2023).

Arriva Crosscountry HST operated services (in 2010)

Northbound HST operated services
1S511223PlymouthGlasgow Central2235Mon to Fri
1S551323PlymouthEdinburgh2222Monday only
Southbound HST operated services
1V500608EdinburghPlymouth1452Mon to Fri
1V540632DundeePlymouth1652Friday only

Arriva Crosscountry HST Formations

XC0141193 45001 42368 42369 42367 4236644021
XC0241194 45002 42372 42373 42375 42371 44072
XC0341195 45003 42290 42378 42377 42376 44052
XC0441026 45004 42038 42037 42036 42380 44012
XC0541035 45005 42051 42053 42052 42379 44017
42370 ex XC01 42374 ex XC02 42234 ex XC03 42342 ex XC04 42097 ex XC05

  • Sets in Blue are under refurbishment at Wabtec Doncaster
  • Sets in Green are formed of Ex Midland Mainline coaches

Network Rail

43062 on the rear of the NMT at Carlisle Photo by Bruce Kitchener

Network Rail have a modified HST set called the New Measurement Train (NMT), which was introduced in June 2003. It was initially operated on their behalf by Serco, then later Colas, and runs on the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines.

If the NMT was unavailable, a substitute test train powered by top and tail DRS Class 37s or Colas Class 67s had been known to run in its place.

Network Rail NMT Power Cars

43013MTUNetwork Rail Yellow 'Mark Carne CBE' Buffer fitted, Nose Cameras. New light clusters from July 2007
43014MTUNetwork Rail Yellow'The Railway Observer'Buffer fitted, Nose Cameras. New light clusters from October 2007
43062MTUNetwork Rail Yellow'John Armitt'Nose Cameras

  • 43013/014/062 were the original members of this fleet in 2003. Other Yellow NMT power cars have been:
    • 43067 (buffer-fitted) April 2005 - December 2005;
    • 43154 February 2004 - November 2005
    • 43196 November 2005 - December 2006
    • 43089 September 2007 - September 2008 (See Project Hayabusa below)
  • Two former LNER/EMT power-cars joined the fleet in 2021, still in VTEC red livery, while the other Network Rail power-cars underwent modifications:
    • 43290 May 2021 - (VTEC red livery with Network Rail branding)
    • 43299 March 2021 - (VTEC red livery with Network Rail branding)
  • From 2022 Colas leased power-cars have also been used.
    • 43251 (VTEC red livery with Colas branding)
    • 43257 (VTEC red livery with Colas branding)
    • 43272 (VTEC red livery with Colas branding)
    • 43274 (EMR purple livery with Colas branding)
    • 43277 (Colas Orange & Yellow livery) Named "Safety Task Force"

Network Rail NMT Coaching stock

Old BR no.New NR no.UseFormer UsesNotes
11000975814NMT High Speed Track Recording coachTest Car 10
40000975984NMT Generator CoachLab 15 "Argus"
40501977984NMT Generator Coach
44053977993NMT High Speed Recording Coach with Pantograph replaces 999550
44087977994NMT High Speed Recording Coach replaces 977974
40619977995NMT High Speed Track Recording Generator Coach
44062977996NMT Train Battery car (now out of use)

Project Hayabusa

Project Hayabusa which is Japanese for Project Falcon, is a partnership between Hitachi and Network Rail to test a battery powered HST power car to see if it could help HST emissions. It would be known as a Battery assisted diesel locomotive after conversion. The power car chosen for this refurb was 43089. The Power car was originally meant to be fitted with an MTU engine but due to demand has kept it's Paxman Valenta. To cut down on weight the rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries were put in the TGS coach 977996.

After testing on the preserved Great Central Railway in the Summer of 2007, 43089 began use on the NMT, and was first noted in Scotland on 13 November 2007.

Project Hayabusa was abandoned in September 2008, the lpower-car 43089 was returned to Porterbrook, was refurbished for use with East Midlands Trains.

How it worked
The 48 Lithium ion rechargeable batteries supply the power for moving the train off the mark once a decent speed has been achieved the train diesel engine in this case the Paxman Valenta kicks in to get the train up to line speed or testing speed. The batteries are then recharged as the train brakes for a station stop or signal check meaning the batteries will always have sufficient power for starting the train away from a station or signal check. The diesel engine can still work if the batteries have been drained of power and have insufficient power to move the train.

Unusual Visits

43062 on the rear of the NMT going to Oban, departs Crianlarich on 30th May 2014. (43013 was leading). Photo by big55012

Plain Line Pattern Recognition Train

  • Colas made used of Class 43 power-cars on the monthly PLPR Scottish circuit for the first time in February 2022, with ex-VTEC red 43251 & 43257 making visits to Lanark, North Berwick, Tweedbank, Milngavie, Wemyss Bay, Gourock, Ardrossan Harbour, Largs, Helensburgh Central, Balloch and Grangemouth. The Highland section was cancelled.
    • The next time 43s were used (instead of 37s) was in May 2022, which did the Highland Mainline and Inverness - Aberdeen.
    • On 4th September 2022, 43272 ex-VTEC red and 43274 ex-EMR purple worked the 1Q78 PLPR train from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and return.
    • 30th October 2022 saw Class 43s reach Wick and Thurso for the first time with 43257 & 43272 working the 1Q78 from Inverness and back.
  • 43251 & 43257 were unusual traction for the Ultrasonic Test Unit (UTU) in October 2022, seen heading for Inverness as 3Z12 on 11th October, and ran from Slateford to Falkland Yard via Barrhill as 3Q62 on 16th October 2022.
  • The West Highland lines were visited by the PLPR train in Autumn 2023 with 43257 & 43272 as traction. On the afternoon of 29th September the train ran from Mossend to Oban as 1Q76, and the following day ran to Fort William as 1Q08. On Sunday 1st October 2023 it ran to Mallaig and back as 1Q09 <Photo>, and returned south to Mossend on the Monday <Photo>.
  • Ex-CrossCountry power car 43285 was used on the November 2023 PLPR.

  • Ex-CrossCountry power cars, 43285+43321 now with Colas, were used coupled back to back on route learning trips in January 2024. On 5th January, they ran as 0Z22 from Slateford to Aberdeen and back, then from 9th - 12th January they ran as 0Z30 visiting the newly commissioned Levenmouth branch. <Photo>.


  • The first production HST to visit Edinburgh was a <Charter train> for the Lea Valley Railway Club, from London Kings Cross on 23rd July 1977. This used Western Region set 253026 with power-cars 43053 & 43052. <Photo at Kings Cross>, <Photo at Edinburgh>
  • In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hertfordshire Railtours operated a series of excursions using InterCity 125 trains. Some of these took the HSTs to unusual destinations and notable tours to Scotland were:
  • A short lived charter train operator, Heartland Rail, had a former Midland Mainline HST set with power cars painted in unusual liveries. 43070 (in silver Cotswold Rail livery) and 43087 (in Red Hornby livery) provided the power for an excursion from Bristol to Edinburgh on Saturday 5th August 2006 <Photo on Flickr>
  • The Branch Line Society ran a 'Bound for Craigy' railtour from London Kings Cross on 18th March 2017, which ran into the Craigentinny Depot complex, and was hauled a short way by 08472. A Virgin Trains East Coast set was used, with power cars 43300 'Craigentinny' (VTEC) and 43082 'Railway Children' (EMT). <Photo>
  • To mark the end of HST operation on the East Coast Main Line route in December 2019, operator LNER had a set repainted into original BR blue & grey livery to work a special four-day tour around the LNER network. The two power cars, repainted at Craigentinny also reverted to their pre-MTU numbers with original set numbers added to the front ends W43006 (253003) & E43112 (254029).

Blue Pullman liveried HST set headed by powercar 43055 crawls slowly through Motherwell station working 5Z42 Crewe - Dundee ECS in preparation for the Settle, Carlisle & Jorvik Pullman tour from Perth the following day. (13/08/2021) Photo by TractorThroth

  • From December 2020, Locomotive Services Ltd have operated excursion trains under the 'Midland Pullman' brand using an HST set painted in Nanking blue and white livery.
    • The first appearance in Scotland was for an Ayr to York and return day trip on 26th June 2021 with power cars 43046 & 43055.
    • The next visit was in August for a Perth to York excursion.
    • On 23rd October 2021, the 'West Highland Pullman' from Reading became the first HST to reach Fort William, with Mallaig visited the following day.
    • On 30th October 2021, Day 1 of the 'Royal Highland Pullman' ran from London St Pancras to Inverness via Edinburgh and Stirling.
    • On 31st October 2021, Day 2 of the 'Royal Highland Pullman', visited Kyle of Lochalsh, another first for an HST, with power cars 43046 & 43055 used, as on all the Scottish runs that year.
    • Day 3 of the 'Royal Highland Pullman', returned south from Inverness via Aberdeen an Forth Bridge on 1st November 2021.
    • On 2nd May 2022 a 'West Highland Pullman' day excursion from Lancaster visited Oban (first HST in passenger service). Power cars were Nankin blue 43046, plus InterCity 'Swallow' livery 43049 which was used several times during 2022.

See Also

External Links