InterCity Express Train vs High Speed Train: Could someone explain the differences?

Status
Not open for further replies.

spliff5050

Member
Joined
15 Apr 2021
Messages
6
Location
London
Sorry to ask what is probably an obvious question to most. I can’t find an answer anywhere

What is the difference between an Intercity Express Train like a Class 802 and a High Speed Train like a class 43 if they both have top speeds of 125mph?
To further confuse me the InterCity 125 is a HST not an IET although it is called InterCity!
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

221101 Voyager

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2019
Messages
1,410
Location
Milton Keynes
Sorry to ask what is probably an obvious question to most. I can’t find an answer anywhere

What is the difference between an Intercity Express Train like a Class 802 and a High Speed Train like a class 43 if they both have top speeds of 125mph?
To further confuse me the InterCity 125 is a HST not an IET although it is called InterCity!
A HST Class 43 is a diesel engined locomotive with one of these at each end, formed with up to 9 slam door MK3 coaches before PRM regualtions came in anyways. The MK3s also have a better ride and seating than an 802.

A class 802 is a Bi Mode Multiple Unit a fixed set of 5 coaches or 9 coaches. Two five car sets can form to make a 10 car. The ride and seats on an 802 are much worse than a MK3 though! However, 802s can run on electric and diesel from their engines whne away from the power lines.


The HSTs has a speed record of 148.5 mph!
The 802 has a speed record of 145 mph.

In service a HST can only do 125.
In service an 802 on electric power can do 140, if the signalling is modified to permit this.

However, on diesel 802s can only do 100mph.
 
Last edited:

Wolfie

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2010
Messages
3,969
A HST Class 43 is a diesel engined locomotive with one of these at each end, formed with up to 9 slam door MK3 coaches before PRM regualtions came in anyways. The MK3s also have a better ride and seating than an 802.

A class 802 is an EMU a fixed set of 5 coaches or 9 coaches. Two five car sets can form to make a 10 car. The ride and seats on an 802 are much worse than a MK3 though!


The HSTs has a speed record of 148.5 mph!
The 802 has a speed record of 145 mph.

In service a HST can only do 125.
In service an 802 on electric power can do 140, if the signalling is modified to permit this.
You could have added that the 802 is one of a family of broadly similar classes, of varying lengths, some of which are dual mode.

Your comments on seats and ride (the latter less so in my personal view) are subjective. Many of us, particularly those with back issues, hated the original MK3 seats with a passion. Don't even mention those bloody fixed arm rests....
 
Last edited:

Horizon22

Established Member
Associate Staff
Jobs & Careers
Joined
8 Sep 2019
Messages
3,186
Location
London
A HST Class 43 is a diesel engined locomotive with one of these at each end, formed with up to 9 slam door MK3 coaches before PRM regualtions came in anyways. The MK3s also have a better ride and seating than an 802.

A class 802 is an EMU a fixed set of 5 coaches or 9 coaches. Two five car sets can form to make a 10 car. The ride and seats on an 802 are much worse than a MK3 though!


The HSTs has a speed record of 148.5 mph!
The 802 has a speed record of 145 mph.

In service a HST can only do 125.
In service an 802 on electric power can do 140, if the signalling is modified to permit this.

Technically an 800/2 (The same fleet family and manufactured by Hitachi) is a bi-mode train as it can run on non-electrified lines but also has pantographs for AC electrification. 801 is purely AC. Also agreed that the seating and ride comment is subjective.

An HST is around 45 years old. IETs are at maximum 5 years old. @spliff5050 you can compare the details quite easily on somewhere like Wikipedia.
 

Horizon22

Established Member
Associate Staff
Jobs & Careers
Joined
8 Sep 2019
Messages
3,186
Location
London
Quite correct, edited it just after I posted!
 

de525ma

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2015
Messages
18
Location
Portsmouth
Compared to 2 hours on a 165/166, picking up the IET at Westbury is a dream in comparison. The only thing I dislike about them is that some seats don't align with the windows. But I believe they have more seats than the HSTs they replaced. In the summers pre covid, the GWR/FGW HSTs were packed and awful.
 

aliceh

Member
Joined
11 Oct 2019
Messages
90
Location
Bournemouth
My (probably incorrect) understanding: Class 43 sets are known as HSTs (High Speed Trains) in the same way that the Class 80x trains ordered as part of the Intercity Express Programme are known as IETs (Intercity Express Trains), but both are high speed trains that run intercity express routes. Generally (or at least in my experience), people always abbreviate to HST when talking about the Class 43s, but don't abbreviate when referring to other 'high speed trains' like the IETs. Confusing, right?
 

Horizon22

Established Member
Associate Staff
Jobs & Careers
Joined
8 Sep 2019
Messages
3,186
Location
London
Yes and any TOCs that operate 80x in their fleets have their "brands" like Nova and Azuma now.
 

swt_passenger

Veteran Member
Joined
7 Apr 2010
Messages
26,445
High speed train is really a function or role. 390, 22x and 180 could also easily be considered “high speed trains”.
I wonder where we’d be now if 390s had just been marketed as eHSTs o_O when new...

InterCity is really a grouping of various longer distance service types, a marketing strategy, an onboard accommodation standard...
 

de525ma

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2015
Messages
18
Location
Portsmouth
IET is only a phrase really used on the Great Western for an 80x series train.
Indeed... They are all Hitachi AT300s however.

800: IET or Azuma
801: Azuma
802: IET. Nova 1 or Paragon
803/805/807 have no names yet
810: Aurora
(395: Javelin)

They are all so similar (barring perhaps the 395) that it is pretty confusing that they have so many different classes!
 

Aictos

On Moderation
Joined
28 Apr 2009
Messages
10,397
A HST Class 43 is a diesel engined locomotive with one of these at each end, formed with up to 9 slam door MK3 coaches before PRM regualtions came in anyways. The MK3s also have a better ride and seating than an 802.

A class 802 is an Bi Mode Multiple Unit a fixed set of 5 coaches or 9 coaches. Two five car sets can form to make a 10 car. The ride and seats on an 802 are much worse than a MK3 though! However, 802s can run on electric and diesel from their engines whne away from the power lines.


The HSTs has a speed record of 148.5 mph!
The 802 has a speed record of 145 mph.

In service a HST can only do 125.
In service an 802 on electric power can do 140, if the signalling is modified to permit this.

However, on diesel 802s can only do 100mph.
That is purely subjective and as such is your own view and not one that reflects the average passenger.

The Class 800s when introduced on the Great Western were and still are a step up in passenger facilities for example; automatic doors, seating system that is easier to see if it's in use or available using at seat displays, onboard CCTV, better WiFi, power sockets at every seat, improved journey times etc....

End of the day the fleet has delivered the same step up in passenger facilities as what happened when the HSTs were first introduced and replacing loco hauled services.
 

Devonian

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2019
Messages
92
Location
Totnes
In terms of mechanical differences, the InterCity 125/175/225 were all based on locomotives moving a train of unpowered and shuntable carriages; the IEP/IET trains are multiple units with a mix of powered and unpowered carriages in fixed formation.

To answer the naming question: it's all in the capitals, and all so simple...

  • The Inter-City: a named train of British Railways introduced in 1950 from Paddington to Wolverhampton via Birmingham;
  • Inter-City, later InterCity: British Rail's brand for high quality, long-distance trains, and later the name for the sector which ran those trains;
  • intercity or inter-city (no capitals): a generic term for high quality long-distance trains, derived from British Rail's brand but now used widely around the world, including branding in Germany (IC) and France (Intercités), though it has no formal definition or common standard;
  • Inter-City 125/InterCity 125: British Rail's enduring public brand name for two Class 43 locomotives sandwiching 7 to 9 mk3 carriages; similar branding used for the InterCity 225 and (briefly) Intercity 175;
  • High Speed Train/HST (with capitals): the generic, non-branded, classification given to the InterCity 125;
  • high speed train (no capitals, not 'HST'): any train that travels at high speed;
  • Intercity Express Programme (IEP): the project to develop a new fleet of high speed trains, leading to the development of the Class 800 and 801 trains from the Hitachi AT300 family, originally proposed as the Hitachi Super Express Train;
  • Intercity Express Train (IET): though it sounds generic, only officially used as Great Western Railway's brand name for the Classes 800/0, 800/3 from the IEP and for the almost identical 802/0 and 802/1 trains ordered separately, which are all 'bi-mode' trains capable of running on diesel or electric;
  • Azuma: exclusively LNER's brand name for bi-mode trains in Classes 800/1 and 800/2, and electric-only trains in Classes 801/1 and 801/2, all ordered under the IEP.
So all IEP-derived trains are high speed trains (no capitals), but none are High Speed Trains (with capitals); both the IET and InterCity 125 are high speed, intercity (no capitals) trains, but only the latter is a High Speed Train; whilst only the High Speed Train and GWR's 801s and 803s are InterCity/Intercity (with capitals).

I think.

Clear?
 
Last edited:

Wolfie

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2010
Messages
3,969
In terms of mechanical differences, the InterCity 125/175/225 were all based on locomotives moving a train of unpowered and shuntable carriages; the IEP/IET trains are multiple units with a mix of powered and unpowered carriages in fixed formation.

To answer the naming question: it's all in the capitals, and all so simple...

  • The Inter-City: a named train of British Railways introduced in 1950 from Paddington to Wolverhampton via Birmingham;
  • Inter-City, later InterCity: British Rail's brand for high quality, long-distance trains, and later the name for the sector which ran those trains;
  • intercity or inter-city (no capitals): a generic term for high quality long-distance trains, derived from British Rail's brand but now used widely around the world, including branding in Germany (IC) and France (Intercités), though it has no formal definition or common standard;
  • Inter-City 125/InterCity 125: British Rail's enduring public brand name for two Class 47 locomotives sandwiching 7 to 9 mk3 carriages; similar branding used for the InterCity 225 and (briefly) Intercity 175;
  • High Speed Train/HST (with capitals): the generic, non-branded, classification given to the InterCity 125;
  • high speed train (no capitals, not 'HST'): any train that travels at high speed;
  • Intercity Express Programme (IEP): the project to develop a new fleet of high speed trains, leading to the development of the Class 800 and 801 trains from the Hitachi AT300 family, originally proposed as the Hitachi Super Express Train;
  • Intercity Express Train (IET): though it sounds generic, only officially used as Great Western Railway's brand name for the Classes 800/0, 800/3 from the IEP and for the almost identical 802/0 and 802/1 trains ordered separately, which are all 'bi-mode' trains capable of running on diesel or electric;
  • Azuma: exclusively LNER's brand name for bi-mode trains in Classes 800/1 and 800/2, and electric-only trains in Classes 801/1 and 801/2, all ordered under the IEP.
So all IEP-derived trains are high speed trains (no capitals), but none are High Speed Trains (with capitals); both the IET and InterCity 125 are high speed, intercity (no capitals) trains, but only the latter is a High Speed Train; whilst only the High Speed Train and GWR's 801s and 803s are InterCity/Intercity (with capitals).

I think.

Clear?
An excellent explanation (l admire your dedication in typing that lot!) except l think that you mean class 43 rather than class 47 in the InterCity 125 entry.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
16,230
Location
Mold, Clwyd
Neither 80x or HST are proper high speed trains, nor are the other 125mph trains we have in the UK (IC225, 390, 180, 22x, 397).
High speed is usually defined at being over 200km/h or 125mph, often over 250km/h, and essentially using cab signalling on high speed lines.
Class 373/374/395 are therefore proper high speed trains in this context, reaching 140 to 186mph (300km/h) on HS1.
390 and 80x trains might get there if/when cab signalling on classic lines is available, having been originally designed for 140mph.
HS2 stock will of course be high speed.
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
12,030
Location
Glasgow
Neither 80x or HST are proper high speed trains, nor are the other 125mph trains we have in the UK (IC225, 390, 180, 22x, 397).
High speed is usually defined at being over 200km/h or 125mph, often over 250km/h, and essentially using cab signalling on high speed lines.
Class 373/374/395 are therefore proper high speed trains in this context, reaching 140 to 186mph (300km/h) on HS1.
390 and 80x trains might get there if/when cab signalling on classic lines is available, having been originally designed for 140mph.
HS2 stock will of course be high speed.
Except for existing infrastructure where 125mph/200km/h is defined as high-speed. It's just new installations where the figure becomes 250km/h (155mph).
 

coppercapped

Established Member
Joined
13 Sep 2015
Messages
2,733
Location
Reading
Sorry to ask what is probably an obvious question to most. I can’t find an answer anywhere

What is the difference between an Intercity Express Train like a Class 802 and a High Speed Train like a class 43 if they both have top speeds of 125mph?
To further confuse me the InterCity 125 is a HST not an IET although it is called InterCity!
It's all a question of history...

Back in the late 1960s the British Railways Technical Centre started development of a train capable of running at 155mph on conventional tracks. It was called the Advanced Passenger Train (APT) and first ran in 1972 but never made it into general service. The power in the prototype was supplied by gas turbines.

At the same time as a lower cost and lower risk alternative the Chief Mechanical Engineer (Terry Miller) developed a High Speed Diesel Train (HSDT) capable of running at 125mph. It did, however, use some of the basic understanding of vehicle dynamics developed by the Technical Centre in its design. This HSDT name was intended to show that it was a different beast to the gas turbine powered APT but over time was shortened to HST. When the train went into service BR's marketing department christened it 'InterCity 125' for publicity purposes to emphasise its top speed — until then nothing ran faster than 100mph so it was a huge advance. At a technical level the production power cars were Class 43 and the coaches were BR's Mark III design.

Now fast forward 40 years and the new Hitachi trains needed a new name. The Department for Transport took over the work that fGW had been doing on a successor for the now-venerable HST under the moniker 'Intercity Express Programme'. When the trains went into service GWR called theirs 'IET' (Intercity Express Train) and Virgin, later LNER, called theirs 'Azuma'. Technically they are all Class 800 and variants.

Simple. (PS: Does nobody study history any longer? ;):s:( )
 

Cheshire Scot

Member
Joined
24 Jul 2020
Messages
456
Location
North East Cheshire
It's all a question of history...

At a technical level the production power cars were Class 43 and the coaches were BR's Mark III design.

Simple. (PS: Does nobody study history any longer? ;):s:( )
This is the first post to acknowledge that when introduced the HSTs had Power Cars (which were not regarded as locomotives).
Also the naming as High Speed Trains was very apt reflecting at that time they were at the top end of the spectrum of speed - and indeed the fastest diesel trains in the world. Whilst Germany and France already had trains running at 125mph/200kph (and we were still hoping to improve on that with for APT) other than Japan with it's Bullet Trains 125 seemed to be the ceiling around the world at that time - and not at all widespread.
Since the introduction of HSTs and 125mph running on the East Coast and Great Western mainlines (now well over 40 years ago) there seems to have been a reluctance to go beyond 100mph anywhere in this country other than the increase to 110 on WCML (and subsequently 125 with tilt) and a few increase elsewhere such as Midland Main Line.
In the meantime many countries have pressed ahead with new lines for much higher speeds and with some further upgrades on conventional lines too whilst the UK has got left behind in the speed stakes with only HS1 (25 plus years ago) and now HS2 (realistically how many years away?) as 'credits' on the speed chart.
Of course running at much higher speeds impacts on costs too, both in terms of provision and maintenance of both infrastructure and trains and despite our lack of progress on the speed front passenger numbers boomed (pre covid).

However, on diesel 802s can only do 100mph.
Class 802s were cleared for 125mph on both electric and diesel although I believe all of the 125 routes are electrified so in normal circumstances it should not be required. It would just take longer to reach - or even work towards - speeds above 100mph.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
16,230
Location
Mold, Clwyd
Class 802s were cleared for 125mph on both electric and diesel although I believe all of the 125 routes are electrified so in normal circumstances it should not be required. It would just take longer to reach - or even work towards - speeds above 100mph.

The EMR versions (class 810) for the MML will be doing 125mph on diesel.

The fastest diesel train in the world, like the world speed record for steam, are old hat when electric traction and cab signalling is the future for high speed.
 

Railperf

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2017
Messages
2,470
Sorry to ask what is probably an obvious question to most. I can’t find an answer anywhere

What is the difference between an Intercity Express Train like a Class 802 and a High Speed Train like a class 43 if they both have top speeds of 125mph?
To further confuse me the InterCity 125 is a HST not an IET although it is called InterCity!
I think someone is having us on lol. Is this a delayed Aprils fool question? (Hand on forehead.)
 

Sean Emmett

Member
Joined
9 Mar 2015
Messages
397
This is the first post to acknowledge that when introduced the HSTs had Power Cars (which were not regarded as locomotives).
Also the naming as High Speed Trains was very apt reflecting at that time they were at the top end of the spectrum of speed - and indeed the fastest diesel trains in the world. Whilst Germany and France already had trains running at 125mph/200kph (and we were still hoping to improve on that with for APT) other than Japan with it's Bullet Trains 125 seemed to be the ceiling around the world at that time - and not at all widespread.
Since the introduction of HSTs and 125mph running on the East Coast and Great Western mainlines (now well over 40 years ago) there seems to have been a reluctance to go beyond 100mph anywhere in this country other than the increase to 110 on WCML (and subsequently 125 with tilt) and a few increase elsewhere such as Midland Main Line.
In the meantime many countries have pressed ahead with new lines for much higher speeds and with some further upgrades on conventional lines too whilst the UK has got left behind in the speed stakes with only HS1 (25 plus years ago) and now HS2 (realistically how many years away?) as 'credits' on the speed chart.
Of course running at much higher speeds impacts on costs too, both in terms of provision and maintenance of both infrastructure and trains and despite our lack of progress on the speed front passenger numbers boomed (pre covid).


Class 802s were cleared for 125mph on both electric and diesel although I believe all of the 125 routes are electrified so in normal circumstances it should not be required. It would just take longer to reach - or even work towards - speeds above 100mph.
I recorded GWR IETs running at 125 mph on diesel in the early days, before electrification extended West beyond Maidenhead.

Usually at the historic favoured locations of Dauntsey on the down and Little Somerford on the up. Even one eastbound through Didcot on the slight downgrade.

Weather conditions played a part, it was certainly more difficult to achieve into a stiff head/cross wind.
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
12,030
Location
Glasgow
This is the first post to acknowledge that when introduced the HSTs had Power Cars (which were not regarded as locomotives).
Strictly speaking they were loco-hauled when first introduced to passenger traffic (à la prototype set), then that became reclassified as DMU stock then later to seperate Class 43 locomotives and Mk3 trailers. The switch can be followed in the diagram books - the Class 41 appears first in the diesel locomotives book for instance
 

FGW_DID

Established Member
Joined
23 Jun 2011
Messages
2,203
Location
Oxfordshire
In terms of mechanical differences, the InterCity 125/175/225 were all based on locomotives moving a train of unpowered and shuntable carriages; the IEP/IET trains are multiple units with a mix of powered and unpowered carriages in fixed formation.

To answer the naming question: it's all in the capitals, and all so simple...

  • The Inter-City: a named train of British Railways introduced in 1950 from Paddington to Wolverhampton via Birmingham;
  • Inter-City, later InterCity: British Rail's brand for high quality, long-distance trains, and later the name for the sector which ran those trains;
  • intercity or inter-city (no capitals): a generic term for high quality long-distance trains, derived from British Rail's brand but now used widely around the world, including branding in Germany (IC) and France (Intercités), though it has no formal definition or common standard;
  • Inter-City 125/InterCity 125: British Rail's enduring public brand name for two Class 43 locomotives sandwiching 7 to 9 mk3 carriages; similar branding used for the InterCity 225 and (briefly) Intercity 175;
  • High Speed Train/HST (with capitals): the generic, non-branded, classification given to the InterCity 125;
  • high speed train (no capitals, not 'HST'): any train that travels at high speed;
  • Intercity Express Programme (IEP): the project to develop a new fleet of high speed trains, leading to the development of the Class 800 and 801 trains from the Hitachi AT300 family, originally proposed as the Hitachi Super Express Train;
  • Intercity Express Train (IET): though it sounds generic, only officially used as Great Western Railway's brand name for the Classes 800/0, 800/3 from the IEP and for the almost identical 802/0 and 802/1 trains ordered separately, which are all 'bi-mode' trains capable of running on diesel or electric;
  • Azuma: exclusively LNER's brand name for bi-mode trains in Classes 800/1 and 800/2, and electric-only trains in Classes 801/1 and 801/2, all ordered under the IEP.
So all IEP-derived trains are high speed trains (no capitals), but none are High Speed Trains (with capitals); both the IET and InterCity 125 are high speed, intercity (no capitals) trains, but only the latter is a High Speed Train; whilst only the High Speed Train and GWR's 801s and 803s are InterCity/Intercity (with capitals).

I think.

Clear?
@spliff5050, just to add to that well explained answer and just in case you were wondering why the LNER 800s brand name is Azuma, it’s the Japanese word for East. (Name was chosen when Virgin East Coast had the Franchise.)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top