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Author Topic: The last HSTs to leave Paddington in passenger service - 18 May 19  (Read 4123 times)
bignosemac
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« on: May 18, 2019, 11:09:27 am »

with bobm reporting from Paddington and bignosemac aboard the final train

The day has arrived. Full fat HSTs on the Greater Western network are out in scheduled passenger service for the last time today, 18th May 2019.

43 years of sterling service whisking folk from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gwent, Glamorgan, and Dyfed up to London and back.

Finn and I shall be travelling on the final timetabled service, the 1830 from London Paddington to Taunton. He could well be the last dog to ride a full fat HST to the west! If any other forum members are out and about at Paddington, or on the final train, do say hi.

Today's window labels on the four HST sets in service.




Probably doesn't need saying here, but do your spotting and photting in a safe and considerate manner, complying with byelaws and instruction from staff.

If you see any trespassing then do challenge, photograph and report it.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 09:20:31 pm by bobm » Logged

bobm
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2019, 09:22:36 pm »

Meanwhile at Paddington the excitement was building.  A large crowd of onlookers gathered on every platform, along with a possibly larger crowd of bemused passengers wondering what was going on.  Rumours of a member of Royalty or Flying Scotsman making an appearance circulated but it some became clear as, one by one, the final HSTs arrived to take their bow


Shortly all four were lined up prior to leaving for Plymouth, Cheltenham Spa, Hereford and Exeter St Davids


At 93 Sir Kenneth Grange was there to see the last of his iconic design leave Paddington


Paddington was very busy but I didnít see anyone endangering themselves or others, or ignoring requests from railway staff or the BTP.  All very good natured.


The honour of leading out the final service fell to 43198. Poignantly it carried the names of the two GWR drivers who lost their lives while at the controls of HSTs Ė Brian Cooper who died at Ladbroke Grove in 1999 and Stan Martin who was killed in the Ufton Nervet level crossing crash in 2004.


The train ran as the 18:30 to Exeter, with a relief train (which was rather empty) running two minutes behind it for those who just wanted to get home without the hullabaloo.  It overtook the last HST at Reading Ė allowing me to get its arrival at Swindon.

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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2019, 09:37:34 pm »

Some video here of the trains passing RAILCAM web cameras: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MILq_6mzaFE
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Charlie (in Gloucester)
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2019, 11:17:04 pm »

This day was long awaited yet seems to have came so quick, around this time last year I remember there was heavy rain and restrictions were lifted, and standing there in the rain at Didcot for a rammed HST to come. Itís not the same as a rammed voyager or a rammed 800.

Sadly, I didnít plan it out and my last HST was January time. I watched the GWR Facebook livestream from Paddington earlier.

Farewell Class 43.
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We should be aiming towards a country where no matter where you are you can get around all day with an easy to use, affordable and modern transport system.
bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2019, 10:12:39 am »

A truly wonderful send off for the venerable HST. Finn and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Great Western Railway excelled themselves organising a fitting finale for the HST. My personal thanks go to Dan Panes, Paul Gentleman and Matthew Golton of GWR for making my trip on the last scheduled GWR full length HST so memorable. It's on record here on the forum that I have been sometimes critical of GWR, but praise where praise is due for the effort put in by the above named organising and ensuring the final day went so well.

It was a pleasure to meet and chat with Sir Kenneth Grange. He was very giving of his time onboard the 1830 from Paddington to  Taunton and Exeter. For a gentleman of his age it would have been easy to just remain in 1st Class with other VIPs but he walked through the train twice, meeting and greeting the enthusiasts.

As far as I can tell, all four final HSTs ran pretty much to schedule and without incident. I've not seen reports of trespass or inappropriate behaviour from those onboard.

One thing missed by choosing to travel rather than spot from a station or lineside was hearing the liberal use of the two-tone horn. Plenty of videos across social media of that stirring sound though and I did manage to record the horns as the final service departed Taunton.

Farewell HST. After 43 years of front line express passenger service its time to enjoy your retirement. I'm a little sad to see you go, but I'm also mindful that trains, whilst they can generate an emotional response, are first and foremost about moving people from A to B. The IETs now take on that role for GWR. It was always going to be a hard act to follow the iconic HST, I'm sure though, that in the fullness of time, the IETs will do the job just as well as their predecessor. Their perceived faults, much recounted across forums and social media, will I hope be ironed out during their lifetime. The IET is here to stay so there's no choice but to embrace them. I'm always the optimist and I feel confident that in another 43 years time the IETs will have a similar veneration from the rail enthusiast community.

I'll be postingBe a selection of photos from my trip on final service later when I'm at the new flat and borrowing the neighbour's WiFi. There's also video of my brief chats with Sir Kenneth Grange and Mark Hopwood to come. Before then here's a link to the two-tone soundtrack of the final four HSTs departing Paddington.


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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2019, 10:21:02 am »

I watched the live stream and was somewhat disappointed at the coverage.  It was a bit chaotic, and also I was hoping the camera would be recording from the front of the station as they all departed, rather than the station end, but the first one slipped out without them even noticing.  And maybe a couple of detonators on the line as the last one left would have been a nice touch, but maybe that is not allowed any more?

Other than that, it does look like GWR put on a very good show for everyone, and they should be applauded for the effort they all put in and giving the HSTs a fitting send off.
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bobm
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2019, 10:24:14 am »

Indeed thanks to Dan Panes and Paul Gentleman.  Paul has been behind many of the GWR train namings and heritage liveries carried on Class 43 power cars.  Dan produces the on board magazine among other things and helped on the night we did the Meet the Manager event on the forum.

Here they are, somewhat reluctantly, thrust into the limelight



..and from limelight to droplight.. I think he is just within the profile of the coach and not endangering himself or others.

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bobm
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2019, 10:30:44 am »

I watched the live stream and was somewhat disappointed at the coverage.  It was a bit chaotic, and also I was hoping the camera would be recording from the front of the station as they all departed, rather than the station end, but the first one slipped out without them even noticing.  And maybe a couple of detonators on the line as the last one left would have been a nice touch, but maybe that is not allowed any more?

As with any live event it is hard to manage on the day.  There is also the question of cost - how much do you want to spend on it?  As far as I know the Facebook Live was done with one camera.  You'd need at least two to cover the trains departing. 

You could have stopped photographers getting on the intermediate platforms so you could have got a "clean" shot of the four HSTs lined up without people walking across the shot.  However if you had done that it would have put more pressure on platforms 1 and 4 if everyone was displaced there. 

It isn't really something you can rehearse beforehand.  With hindsight it is possible things may have been done differently but I suspect most people there on the day enjoyed it and, apart from any travel costs involved, it was a free event.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2019, 10:32:59 am »

Wink
..and from limelight to droplight.. I think he is just within the profile of the coach and not endangering himself or others.

Yes. I took heed of the numerous new warnings on HST droplights! Maybe just the nose and cap out of gauge. Thanks bobm for papping me on departure from Swindon!

Just realised. J for Justin. Tongue
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 11:32:58 pm by bignosemac » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2019, 01:40:48 pm »

And maybe a couple of detonators on the line as the last one left would have been a nice touch, but maybe that is not allowed any more?

How loud are these detonators? I think they could cause confusion and unnecessary panic. Most people at Paddington will only have been there to catch a train and a noise like that could make them think that a terrorist incident is occurring.
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broadgage
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2019, 04:09:59 pm »

Regretfully I agree.
In the past special railway occasions were often marked by the exploding of multiple detonators, out of date ones often.

These days however it seems unwise. The report is rather like gunfire, and the exploding of large numbers in quick succession sounds like automatic weapons being fired.
Most unwise these days, except PERHAPS at a ticket only event when everyone is aware of what to expect.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
bignosemac
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« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2019, 06:29:03 pm »

As promised, a selection of my pictures from Paddington and on my journey on the final GWR HST in scheduled passenger service.

(Do note if you are on a limited data plan that the images are original quality and resized by the forum after loading.)

The crowds admiring the best of British engineering


Finn and I took a little walk along the canal before the HSTs arrived.


Finn and I alongside 43002 (picture credit - bobm)


Sir Kenneth Grange with Sir Kenneth Grange.



Some images of the eight power cars used on the final day.





To add to bobm's picture upthread of the Brian Cooper name board attached to 43198, here's the other side.

This was a nice act of remembrance by GWR, putting the name boards of Drivers Brian Cooper and Stan Martin on the leading power car of the final service. The families of the two drivers who sadly lost their lives in the incidents at Ladbroke Grove and Ufton Nervet were among the invited guests on the final service.

Finn meeting Sir Kenneth Grange.


Matthew Golton, GWR's Commercial Development Director, mucking in and manning the 1st Class trolley.


The buffet team on the 1830 from Paddington to Taunton. They had probably their busiest shift ever. Plenty of additional supplies were loaded at Paddington. Mostly beers, wines and spirits!


The 1830 from Paddington was routed via the up line from Thingley Junction to Bath. Apparently this helped with regulating services at Bath, but I also heard it was done just because! Following that the 1830 was routed into platform 3 at Bristol Temple Meads instead of its booked platform 15. This allowed for the final HST to travel through the train shed.


Journey's end for Finn and I. Taunton. A bending of the rules here while waiting time. A few enthusiasts got the chance to go into the cab.


One final nerdy fact. The final train was powered by 43198 and 43002. Respectively the last and first production Class 43 power cars out of the factory.



Videos will follow tomorrow when my broadband in new flat is connected.






« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 07:16:18 pm by bignosemac » Logged

bradshaw
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2019, 06:43:36 pm »

I was following it on RTT and they put the 1841 Gloucester to Frome service into platform 1. There was a Brighton-Bristol waiting for p1 at the same time.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2019, 07:59:32 pm »

Geoff Marshall of 'All The Stations' fame travelled the last service as far as Swindon. Here's his video of the day.

(Sadly his 'interview' of Finn didn't make the cut)

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bobm
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2019, 08:32:17 pm »

Contractural issues apparently. Finn wanted repeat fees.  Grin
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