HST @40 : Bristol depot open day

Mike Humble / GWR:

Its been 40 years since the HST was introduced on the Great Western Mainline. And to celebrate, GWR invite the public to a rare depot open day to celebrate four decades of rail travel at two miles a minute!


This year marks the 40th anniversary since the introduction of full revenue service of rail travel at 125mph. GWR are offering a rare opportunity to really get up close and personal with the HST along with classic steam and diesel traction as the St Philips Marsh depot in Bristol opens its doors to the public.

The Inter-City 125, as it was initially named, was first plying its trade in 1976 along Brunel’s billiard table or as its better known – the Great Western Mainline that connects London Paddington to Bristol and way beyond into South Wales and Cornwall. Subsequent introduction onto the Eastern region followed soon after where some incredible feats of speed that included the breaking of its own world speed record for diesel traction from 143 to 148mph in 1987 – a feat never bettered since anywhere else on the planet.

St Philips Marsh depot – just down the tracks from the impressive Bristol Temple meads station, is opening its doors to the general public this coming May bank holiday (the 2nd) as part of the HST-40 celebrations. Organised by GWR (formerly First Great Western) the depot is home to the companies HST sets and undertakes routine maintenance and repairs. The vast and recently upgraded built to purpose depot is one of a few that are strategically placed around the Inter-City network, designed solely for the accommodation of the High Speed, St Philips was completed in late 1975.

Bristol's St Philips Marsh depot was completed in 1975. Designed and purpose built to accommodate the HST and undertake required maintenance.

A special collection of traction including steam and classic diesel locomotives will be on display and rumour has it that Sir Kenneth Grange will be attending the event to assist in some locomotive naming ceremonies. Mr Grange was responsible for the restyling of the cab of the power car and the Inter-City livery scheme, the train and all new brand image pretty much turned British Rails fortunes around – almost overnight.

Proceeds from the tickets will be going to the Springboard Opportunity Group – a charity that supports and helps very young disabled children and their families. Doors open at 10.30am. Free buses from Temple Meads station to and from the depot will be operating every 15 minutes.

Tickets are booked in advance with more details about the event and the varying pricing options obtained by clicking HERE

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