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Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Intercity 225: Fastest in the fleet
The Intercity 225
Intercity 225: Decade of service in the UK
The Intercity 225 which operates on the East Coast Mainline is the fastest domestic passenger train in the UK.

The train is the workhorse of the British railway, carrying up to 600 passengers on the 400-mile-long east coast line between London and Scotland.

Principal cities served by the train which first entered service in 1989 include Peterborough, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Failed project

The Intercity 225 came out of British Rail's failed attempts in the 1980s to launch the sophisticated Advanced Passenger Train.

Intercity 225
Class 91 engine
6090 horsepower
Top speed: 140mph
Record: 162mph
That project was shelved after a string of embarrassing failures, though its supporters blamed lack of rigorous testing and poor weather.

Following the scrapping of the APT, the General Electric Metro-Cammell Intercity 225, capable of a maximum speed of 140mph, emerged as the successor to the Intercity 125.

It became the primary train in use on the London-Edinburgh route as the East Coast Mainline was electrified to allow it to take over from older trains including the Intercity 125.

At privatisation, Great North Eastern Railways took over the running of 31 complete trains.

The Intercity 225 comprises a class 91 engine which pulls up to nine Intercity coaches and a "Driving Van Trailer" (DVT) at the rear.

Unlike its controversial aborted predecessor, the train is not designed to tilt to allow it to take corners at the highest speeds.

Its planned successor, the Intercity 250, will tilt however, and is expected to knock around 30 minutes off a journey between London and Edinburgh.

The class 91 engine is capable of generating more than 6,000 horsepower, meaning that it does not need a second engine at the rear, unlike many other high speed trains.

The return journey

Intercity 225 uses a standard innovation in train design which dealt with an age-old problem that slowed train travel before the advent of the intercity model of transport.

Engines used to be uncoupled from carriages, turned around elsewhere, brought to the back of the carriages and recoupled for the return leg.

This would be an unacceptable delay in modern public transport. Intercity-style trains around the world use a second cab built into the "back" of the train - meaning the driver only has to walk down the platform to begin the return leg.

Previous accident

In June 1998, GNER pulled all of its electric Intercity 225 trains out of service after a derailment not far from Hatfield at Sandy in Bedfordshire.

Nobody was seriously hurt in the incident but engineeers found that a crack in a carriage wheel caused the derailment.

Click here to read the story from our archive.

Hertfordshire train crash


The investigation

Background

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See also:

17 Oct 00 | UK
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