British Rail Class 43

Ranked #69 on the list Best Locomotive class of All Time

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Based on 5 votes

About British Rail Class 43

  • Locomotives of this class:
  • Parent class:
  • Built by: BREL

The British Rail Class 43 (HST) is the TOPS classification used for the InterCity 125 High Speed Train power cars, built by BREL from 1975 to 1982. The class is the fastest diesel locomotive in the world, with an absolute maximum speed of 148 mph (238 km/h), and a regular service speed of 125 mph (201 km/h). There are claims that this diesel rail speed record has been broken twice unofficially: by the TEP80 Russian train in 1993 achieving 271 km/h (168 mph), and the Talgo XXI Spanish train reporting 158 mph (254 km/h) in 2002. In the early 1970s the British Railways Board (BRB) decided to replace its main-line express diesel traction. Financial limitations were tight, so mass electrification was not possible. As a result, a new generation of high-speed diesel trains had to be developed. Experience with the high-speed Class 55 Deltic locomotives had shown that a low axle weight was essential to avoid damage to the track at sustained high speed, and that high-speed engines were the only way to provide a good enough power/weight ratio for diesels. To power the HST at up to 125 mph (201 km/h), each power car had a new diesel engine, the 12-cylinder Paxman Valenta, running at 1,500 rpm

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