Travelling on an HST train
At a glance
- Regional train
The HST (often known as an Intercity 125) is a train type used on many main-line and cross-country routes within Britain. HST stands for “high-speed train”, which is pretty misleading. These diesel trains date back to the 1970s when notions of what constitutes high-speed were very different from today. The HST reaches speeds of 200 km/h (or 125 miles per hour).
Many of the original HSTs have been refurbished more than once, but their retro design is still distinctive. These services are more spacious than many modern trains, and as such the HST is among the most comfortable options for long journeys across Britain today. HSTs are used by a number of UK rail companies, most notably Great Western Railway, Virgin Trains East Coast, East Midland Trains and CrossCountry.
HSTs are found on services from London King’s Cross station to Aberdeen and Inverness in Scotland, on services from London Paddington to Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea and Penzance. They operate also on the line from London to Nottingham. There are good luggage facilities on these air-conditioned trains, especially in First Class. Power sockets are available at window seats in many, though not all HST trains. All HSTs offer seated accommodation in First and Standard Class. All trains have a bar serving drinks and light snacks. Seats can be reserved for free in both First and Standard Class.
In Standard Class, seating is arranged in airline-style unidirectional seats that come in pairs, arranged across a central aisle. The open-plan carriages are airy and offer good legroom. A small number of seats are arranged in seats of four around a table.
Food and drink
You’ll find a trolley service serving cold snacks, light refreshments and hot and cold drinks on some HST trains in First Class.