VTEC’s HSTs: life begins again at 40

“The intention was for it to be a light refresh, but the scale of the work we have undertaken is more than you might expect. The sets look very different, contemporary and modern. We learned some lessons from the first set back in traffic , which we didn’t quite get right, but overall it’s looking pretty good. 

“In terms of design, this is something tailored to the route. For instance, on the Great Western route there is a high proportion of customers on short-distance routes such as Oxford to London. The type of customer environment you need for that will be very different to the environment you need from London to Inverness, where you perhaps pay more attention to toilets, so our refresh is tailored to a longer-distance route and with what our customers would like.

“There’s new seating in First and Standard Class, lots of new finishes, and we’ve brightened up the toilet areas with new pictures. We’ve also done some modifications to the universal access toilet doors, after much publicised occasions when the door opened because people didn’t know how to lock them. There’s new carpet throughout, which is a significant amount of work considering the amount of money we’re spending (£4.5m). 

“We want to have all the HSTs done by the autumn, and the Class 91 plan finishes in early 2017. We have to be careful after May, with withdrawing units from traffic during the new timetable and delivering our refresh at the same time.” 



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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 02/05/2016 21:34

    Some of the MK3 carriages could be used for AGA's Intercity fleet as there wont be any new trains (except Vivarail Class 230 DEMU's) to be built for AGA and also the Class 230 for Great Western Railway and London Midland and Great Western Railway, Virgin Trains East Coast, Hull Trains and Transpennine Express are ordering the new Hitachi to build the IEP Class 800, Class 801 and Class 802 trains and other new trains such as Class 700 for Govia Thameslink Railway Thameslink Great Northern, Class 707 for South West Trains, Class 707 for London Overground, Class 345 for MTR Crossrail, Class 387/2 for GTR Gatwick Express, Class 387/3 for GWR and c2c and Class 385 for Abellio ScotRail.

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  • Rob Lewis - 23/03/2017 08:11

    Surely the best use for displaced HSTs would be to use them on long distance Cross Country services, so that the dreadful Voyagers could be cascaded to secondary routes.

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  • cobol qanon - 31/05/2021 22:38

    Don't be under an illusion that 50 years of HST working that the frames, roofs and floors of the coaches and power cars are seriously corroded, I worked for a time on the upgrades to the coaches and they were showing there age and needed extensive welding. However on a brighter note? the current crop of new trains seems as their "lightweight" alloy frames are already cracking at the lift points so I would guess that they will never reach 50 or even possibly 10, if you look at the original Eurostar trains - these have already been built and scrapped in the lifetime of the HST. Some times a design is just right and the idea is to repeat and improve not replace with "new design" which has new problems that turn out to be fatal flaws....

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