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CrossCountry names iconic High Speed Train (HST) as part of 40th anniversary celebrations

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CrossCountry names iconic High Speed Train (HST) as part of 40th anniversary celebrations of the introduction of HSTs on their North East to South West route.

• CrossCountry partners with Modern Railways and Severn Valley Railway to mark the occasion
• A special train with an HST will run on Tuesday 27 September from Leeds to Kidderminster, and along the Severn Valley Railway as part of the celebrations
• All proceeds will support charity, the Railway Benefit Fund

On Tuesday 27 September, CrossCountry will mark the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the iconic inter-city 125 HSTs on their North East to South West route by running a special train with an HST followed by a train naming ceremony.

The train will run from Leeds to Kidderminster followed by the unusual prospect of two trips along the Severn Valley Railway to Bridgnorth and back, before returning to Leeds. It will also call at Wakefield, Doncaster, Sheffield, Derby and Birmingham New Street en route.

The event is in partnership with Modern Railways, who this year celebrate their 60th anniversary. It is also being supported by heritage line, Severn Valley Railway, and will provide a rare and exciting opportunity to travel on an HST on the scenic preserved line.

A special commemorative nameplate will then be unveiled. It is the first CrossCountry power car to be named under Arriva.

CrossCountry’s Managing Director, Tom Joyner said: “We're really excited about what promises to be a fantastic collaborative fundraising event and are grateful to our hosts at the Severn Valley Railway for supporting this initiative so enthusiastically. Not only is it an opportunity to celebrate the iconic and much-loved HSTs but also to support our heritage lines who have struggled during the pandemic. They are working railways which are major tourist attractions and therefore provide valuable support for the local economies of the regions they serve.”

To mark Modern Railways’ anniversary year, the train will carry a commemorative headboard, which will be presented to Modern Railways Editor Philip Sherratt by CrossCountry Managing Director Tom Joyner. One of GB Railfreight’s Class 66 locomotives will also be named to mark the anniversary.

Modern Railways’ Editor Philip Sherratt added: “The HST is an iconic train and has played a pivotal role in our reporting at Modern Railways over the last 60 years. We’re enormously grateful to CrossCountry, the Severn Valley Railway and all our partners who have worked so hard to make this celebratory event possible – it has been a tremendous collaborative effort. We hope that as well as raising thousands of pounds for charity everyone who has joined us on the trip will have a fantastic day out.”

Helen Smith, Managing Director at Severn Valley Railway added: “The HST was introduced by British Rail in 1976, and it’s now largely been replaced on the main line. It really was a ‘quantum leap’ from previous trains in terms of both comfort and speed. It revolutionised rail travel and made Inter City rail travel a serious competitor to the motorway network. The opportunity to join the railtour at Kidderminster really is a rarity. An InterCity 125 travelling along the 16 miles of our beautifully preserved line isn’t something you see every day. In fact, it’s probably 20 years or more since an HST has hauled a charter visit here.”

As well as being a celebration, the trip will raise vital funds for the Railway Benefit Fund, a charity close to those who work in the rail industry.