By Phil Marsh

High Speed Train 40th anniversary celebration on May 2 at St. Phillips Marsh depot Bristol

Published: 29th April 2016

Huge rail gathering in prospect organised by Great Western Railway at their Bristol depot.

The 40th anniversary of the 125mph High Speed Train (HST) is being celebrated at St Phillip’s Marsh depot in Bristol between 1030hrs and 1630hrs with last admissions at 1500hrs on May 2.

At the moment, the Great Western Main Line (GWML) is being electrified and although running late and over budget, the change in operation from 2018 will be similar to the step change in 1976 when the Inter City 125 trains, the HSTs were introduced taking over from diesel hauled trains.

St Phillips Marsh depot is home to many of the GWR HST sets and it is a very rare chance to see behind the scenes at a location such as this. To mark the anniversary, FGW has booked many exhibits from across the UK with steam and diesels represented. Rolling stock from the GWR fleet will also feature including it is hoped several of the green liveried trains now in use following the rebranding of First Treat Western to Great Western Railway.


The event is obviously outdoors and sensible footwear is suggested and if it’s a wet forecast, dress accordingly. Many of the areas will be step free but not everywhere will be by the nature of the location limiting wheelchair access to some areas. Mobile toilets will be available, including accessible and baby-changing facilities.

And don’t forget that alcohol is strictly forbidden and any person found to be under the influence of alcohol or with any in their possession will be asked to leave and escorted off the premises. Please note that smoking is only permitted in designated smoking areas.

Travelling to the event

The depot is a mile or so from Bristol Temple Meads station but a free bus shuttle service will be operating to the event every 15 minutes signposted from the station. There will also be local buses operating to a Bank Holiday timetable from Bristol Bus Station and Bristol City Centre, services 1, 2, 39 and 376.

Note! There is NO vehicle parking (including disabled) on the event site

Helping to change the lives of children

The GWR Depot Team is delighted to be able to announce that all of the proceeds of the event will be donated to a local charity, Springboard Opportunity Group which supports children under 5 with additional needs and disabilities and their families in North Somerset

Trade stands

There will be many trade stands and these include: Rail Image Collection; Platform 5 Publishing; TPA Books; Milz Publications; Brunel Model Railways; West Somerset Railway; Pathfinder Tours; The Growler Group; Stewart Blencowe Books; Cheltenham Model Centre; TDC Diecast; Coastal Shipping; Diesel Traction Group; Gloucestershire, Warwickshire Railway Trust; Paperchase; 125 Group; Network Rail; British Transport Police; GWR; Bee Bristol; MTU; Strawberry Line Miniature Railway; Mainline and Maritime. There will also be some food stalls at the event.

What rail exhibits will be present?

Given it’s the 40th anniversary of the HST, the prototype powercar will be on display. Along with other examples from other train companies.

There will be a couple of steam locomotives, GWR ‘Castle’ No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgecombe and LMS ‘Royal Scot’. No. 6100 Royal Scot.

Representatives of the GWR fleet such as Green liveried Turbo Class 165, DMU Class 150, GWR Springboard Livery Class 158 No. 158798 and a BR Green Class 57 plus depot shunters BR class 08 08822 in Intercity Livery and No. 08663 in BR Blue Livery and what will be the star of the show will be a former BR Class 37 Europhoenix livery No. 37884 but of similar vintage, Class 31 No. 31162 will also attract interest.

A range of preserved locomotives are attending this event.

These are:

BR Class 35 Hymek - D7017, BR Class 40 - 40013 Andania, BR Class 46 - 46045 and BR Class 50s, 50035 Ark Royal, 50050 and 50017. Half a century old, but still operating on the national network are BR Class 47 Nos. 47773 and from Colas, No. 47749 will be at the depot.

Other HSTs present will be from the Virgin Trains East Coast, Grand Central and the yellow Network Rail examples.

The great reveal

A commemorative livery on an HST power car will be unveiled at about 1130am with a special guest, likely to be the designer of the HST himself.

It should be quite a day and travel by rail to Bristol Temple Meads for the event using Red Spotted Hanky to buy your rail ticket.

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