28th May 2019: Anyone who has made a long distance journey by train in the UK in the last four decades has most likely travelled on an Inter-City 125. Now, as the extensive career of the train nears the end of the line, a new manual from Haynes, the Inter-City 125 Owners’ Workshop Manual, has been published.
British Rail first introduced the high speed fleet of 95 Inter-City 125 trains into public service in 1976. Equipped with two Class 43 power cars, the trains operate at speeds of up to 125mph during regular service. The ‘125’ still holds the record as being the fastest diesel powered train in history. The reliability of the 95-strong fleet has allowed the trains to remain on the front line, continuing to serve passengers across the country over 40 years on from their introduction.
Written by 125 Group, a group of enthusiasts dedicated to preserving the legacy of the ‘IC125’, the Inter-City 125 Owners’ Workshop Manual is the first book to study the power car internally and to provide an insight into its numerous systems and components. It is also the first book to study the major changes to the fleet which extended its life into a fifth decade.
The manual documents the introduction of the prototype HSDT and production trains and takes a look under the skin of the production power car in detail. An array of photographs and diagrams showing the many components, described in detail, are also included. The experiences of the engineers, drivers and enthusiasts who have worked with the Inter-City 125 during the trains’ long service careers also feature throughout the manual.
The book features nearly 200 pictures of internal and external parts of the Inter-City 125 power car. Technical details and variations are explained, along with a study and appraisal of both the original and the replacement equipment installed during the life-extension programme undertaken in the 2000s. The book also features driver-view photographs, behind-the-scenes images from depots, major works sites and the restoration by 125 Group of the prototype power car 41001. The manual is further brought to life with a wide selection of previously unpublished images of the fleet at work in a multitude of liveries since it first came into service.
Talking about the history of the Inter-City 125, a spokesperson for 125 Group explained: “The lightweight power cars and their ability to operate on existing tracks avoided the need to build pricey new railway lines. Indeed, on the routes from London to Bristol and South Wales, the demand for IC125 services had grown by a third after the first three years of its career. The train solved the need for high-speed passenger trains in the UK, allowing commuters from even rural Lincolnshire to reach London in about an hour.
“After four decades, this year the Inter-City 125 bowed out of Great Western services to London Paddington and is planned to finish East Coast Mainline operation to Kings Cross in the next 12 months. As such 125 Group hopes to take ownership of some production IC125 power cars to add to our fleet of carriages to preserve for future generations. This important milestone in our journey with this iconic power car coincides with our 25th anniversary as the only enthusiast group dedicated to the Inter-City 125.”
The manual documents key milestones from the Inter City 125’s production to its success and popularity over its long career, outlining how this model became the world’s most successful diesel train. Replacement of the IC125s on their prime routes began in 2017, and after over 40 years in front-line service, some will continue to operate on secondary routes, but many will be withdrawn from regular service and sent to the scrap yard.
Inter-City 125: Owners’ Workshop Manual is priced at £25.00 and available from haynes.com. The book number is H6266. The ISBN is 978 1 78521 266 6. It is published in June 2019.
About the author
125 Group was formed in 1994 by a small group of enthusiasts to provide a focus point for information and news regarding the Inter-City 125. It has grown into a preservation organisation, restoring and operating prototype HST power car 41001, owning and operating a small fleet of Mk 3 coaches. 125 Group still provides a high quality quarterly magazine for its over 600 members and is now a registered charity, with Hon President Sir Kenneth Grange, designer of the Inter-City 125.
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