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  • In the February issue of Best of British
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Best of British is the UK’s premier nostalgia magazine covering every aspect of life from the 1930s to today.

Each issue encourages you to:

  • Explore readers’ own recollections and memories in our Yesterday Remembered section
  • Discover more about days gone past with stories on everything from vintage transport to great Britons and from Christmas traditions to great days out
  • Enjoy regular reader favourites such as Treasures in the Attic, 1940s Post, Postcard from… and of course our Puzzle Page and Crossword

We hope you like reading our magazine as much as we love compiling it. In the meantime here is this month’s letter from our Editor, Simon Stabler

That Was the Age of the Train
Several things that were introduced in Britain as a temporary measure remain with us to this day. And while it’s unlikely that that the government will abolish income tax or remove the speed limit, I am sorry to report that the High Speed Train – our old friend, the InterCity 125 – has run its last public service on the East Coast Main Line.

For a temporary stopgap introduced by British Rail due to delays with the ultimately cancelled Advanced Passenger Train project, it had a good run; and while you can still find examples on lines around the country, I feel a sense of loss. They were the first train I caught to London at a time when these trips were only possible by HST. Although the route, following electrification of the ECML, was supplemented by the InterCity 225 (named for its top speed in kilometres per hour; 140mph in old money), I always felt elated when one of these diesel dreams pulled in at Peterborough or was waiting for me at King’s Cross.

It wasn’t just the high-pitched whine of the engines – the “Valenta Scream” – or the cab’s futuristic styling, courtesy of designer Sir Kenneth Grange, that won my loyalty; it was the knowledge that even if there had been an overhead wire collapse along the route, or a blockage at Welwyn Garden City, as long as there was an HST on the platform at King’s Cross, I would be getting home that night.

In the mornings, you could work comfortably from your seat, and in the evenings, enjoy a drink in the buffet car. Down the years I met people from countless professions at that bar on wheels. We’d talk about everything under the sun, sometimes inspiring an article for this magazine, or revealing a bit of tempting trivia.

So here’s a nugget for you; the HST inspired the New South Wales XPT service. As an advocate for the HST, that’s no surprise, but I do wonder why more countries never adopted this 20th century wonder.