Farewell to the ECML HST

On December 15 2019 the curtain came down on one of the most significant eras of the East Coast Main Line when the last HST was withdrawn from regular service on that route, marking the end of a 40-year period, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES describes.

Above: On December 15 2019, the last day of regular HST operation on the East Coast Main Line, 1E18 - the 2pm Edinburgh-London King’s Cross, pauses at Peterborough with 43318 at the rear. Leading the set was 43257. Mike Wild.

WHEN THE HST, or as it was known then, the Inter-City 125, first burst onto the East Coast railway scene it was April 1978. Anna Ford had just become the first female newscaster on ITN, a national firefighter’s strike had recently ended and the Yorkshire Ripper was in the middle of his terrible murder campaign in the cities of the North. Our railways were, at that time, very run down, services were poor and as if to underline this fact, all locomotives and coaches were painted in a drab blue colour, with rolling stock predominantly being presented in an unwashed and unloved condition.

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