A Holyhead service passes Point of Ayr colliery on the 10th of August 1996. By this date the colliery had closed and was awaiting demolition.
Introduced in September 1991, the Class 43 High Speed Trains were arguably the finest trains yet to run in North Wales. With comfortable mark 3 coaches and twin power cars with ample power, they brought new standards of reliability to inter city services. Their maximum speed west of Crewe was limited to 90 mph but south of there up to 110 mph was achieved daily. They ran until May 22nd 2004 when Virgin Trains were ordered by the Strategic Rail Authority to return them to the leasing company. The HST's were replaced by 5 car Virgin Voyager units and class 57 hauled Pendolinos, after an interim period when class 47's yet again filled the gap. Below follows a selection of photos portraying their reign.
Passing Mold Junction en route to Holyhead.
Passing the now demolished Connahs Quay power station in July 1991 during crew training are 43013 and 43084. The front power car has a full yellow end and conventional buffers.
A Euston train passes Bagillt, 3rd of May 1994.
Proudly displaying 'InterCity 125' a down service near Mostyn, 26th November 1991.
Failure of a power car at Holyhead resulted in this rare working during April 1992. The lack of buffers is apparent in this view.
No headlight on the front of the HST saw 37402 "Bont y Bermo" used as pilot from Crewe to Holyhead on the sunday morning train from Euston. Seen near Prestatyn on 30th January 1994 and taken in the days when most trains still had matching liveries. The slow line on the right was about to be removed.
This was the last set to be repainted in Inter City livery and is seen shortly after release into traffic in March 1997. The train is passing the marine lake at Rhyl (and doesn't it look smart?).
Early crew training used shortened sets such as this combination of 43033 and 43039 with three trailers. The set is seen near Abergele on 18th July 1991.
47773 assists an ailing HST near Abergele on 8th March 1994.
Only the second HST to visit Llandudno, 43060 and 076 pass Deganwy on May 2nd 1992.
During one nonsensical timetabling period, the morning service from Euston terminated at Bangor with a sprinter connection to the Irish ferry at Holyhead. The set was serviced in the bay platform, where it is seen here, before returning to London. 23rd August 1993.
During their final years service all sets were resplendent(?) in Virgin Trains livery. A Euston service passes Rhosneigr in August 2002.
Awaiting departure from Holyhead, 5th May 1993. The disused Freightliner terminal can be seen on the right.
There are various tales about how this power car acquired an alternative livery. The one I like best is that it was secretly painted in Holyhead one night to represent the front of an Irish Rail train. The power car is seen arriving at Crewe off the Chester line in July 1997. Needless to say, this variation was short lived.
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