Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

In celebration of an icon

Posted in Great Britain, High Speed, Other general stuff about railways, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 6 September 2011

I think we can all be agreed that the InterCity 125 is well described as a design icon of our modern age. Even though it is now coming up to 40 years old (for its production version; the prototype will have its 40th anniversary next year), it is still seen as “the train” for the intercity traveller. When people talk about a “high speed train”, I would imagine that for many, the image they see is of a 125. The world’s second true high speed train to me doesn’t have the obviousness in design of the 0 Series Shinkansen, which is where the Shinkansen network gets its “bullet train” nickname from; that (and subsequent Shinkansen trains) looks like it has been built to go fast. The Class 43 locomotive, while obviously intended to be sleek and “aerodynamic”, has more of a rounded, softer visage about it that makes it seem somewhat homelier. It is features like this that appeal to me, and which is why, when comparing the rolling stock used by the two main north-south intercity operators, I find the appearance of the Class 390 Pendolino (at least the external appearance) more appealing than the InterCity 225 Mallard. Indeed, it is noticable that many modern high speed train designs adopt similar ideas to the 125. So, if you are interested, there is an exhibition of the work of Kenneth Grange, the man who designed the InterCity 125 (amongst other things) going on at the Design Museum in London until 30th October.

“Kenneth Grange exhibition at the Design Museum”

The InterCity 125 is one of Britain's modern design icons

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