LNER has withdrawn its HSTs from passenger service, with a farewell tour from 18 to 21 December to mark their withdrawal using a 2+7 HST painted into the original British Rail Inter-City livery.
The operator’s new Hitachi-built Azumas have taken over new routes in recent weeks including services to Aberdeen, Inverness and Harrogate. The final regular passenger working for an LNER HST was on 15 December, with the 17.05 Harrogate to King’s Cross the last southbound service and the 19.35 King’s Cross to Leeds the final northbound departure.
The railtour marks the end of over 40 years of HST operation on the East Coast main line. Power car Nos 43206 and 43312 were repainted at Craigentinny depot in Edinburgh, with seven Mk 3s repainted by Wabtec Rail in Doncaster. After trips from Edinburgh to Inverness via Aberdeen and return to Edinburgh on the first two days, the reliveried set heads south to Leeds via Newcastle and York before the finale on 21 December when the HST is due to travel from Leeds to London King’s Cross, calling at all regular LNER stations en-route.
Money raised from the tour will be donated towards LNER’s partner charity, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which works to prevent male suicide. Donated delay repay compensation from LNER passengers to the charity has already amounted to more than £100,000.