Class 43 and Class 66 locomotive named at Kidderminster Station on the Severn Valley Railway

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As part of a special rail tour, the Severn Valley Railway this week hosted a CrossCountry HST for a special visit to the heritage line.

The event was organized by CrossCountry in collaboration with Modern Railways, who celebrated their 40 years of operation of the TGV and their 60th anniversary respectively.

CrossCountry’s HST Power Car Class 43 No. 43366 as named ‘HST 40’ while GB Railfreight’s Class 66 No. 66799 was named “Modern Railways – Diamond Jubilee”

CrossCountry MD Tom Joyner and President of the Passenger Transport Confederation Martin Dean unveil a new nameplate for HST 43366 in Kidderminster // Credit: John Titlow

The HST arrived in Kidderminster having traveled from Leeds via Wakefield, Doncaster, Sheffield, Derby and Birmingham New Street – while raising money for the Railway Benefit Fund.

60 passengers joined the train at Kidderminster for the only SVR leg of the tour, which made two round trips to Bridgnorth.

GB Railfreight MD John Smith and Modern Railways editor Philip Sherratt unveil the nameplate of 66799 in Kidderminster
GB Railfreight MD John Smith and Modern Railways editor Philip Sherratt unveil the nameplate of 66799 in Kidderminster // Credit: John Titlow

“An InterCity 125 traveling along our beautifully preserved line is not something you see every day,” said SVR Managing Director Helen Smith. “In fact, it’s been over 20 years since an HST carried a charter visit here. It was a pleasure to host this special festive rail tour and add our own touch of heritage magic to the day.

With a regular service speed of 125 mph and capable of running at 148.5 mph, the HST power cars are officially the fastest diesel locomotives in the world. Ironically, the Severn Valley Railway, as a heritage line, has a maximum speed limit of 25mph, a fact that CrossCountry Managing Director Tom Joyner was aware of: “It means you can enjoy the travel ; you have more time to spend on the train itself, so that’s not a bad thing. When we were thinking about the best way to celebrate 40 years of operation of TGV CrossCountry, we needed a place that represented a beautiful day and had real meaning from a rail point of view, and that’s it! Where else would you go?

“It was not only an opportunity to celebrate iconic and much-loved HSTs, but also to support our heritage lines that have struggled during the pandemic. They are working railways that are major tourist attractions and therefore provide valuable support to the local economies of the regions they serve.

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