The Chief


Teignmouth, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Still on a bit of an InterCity 125 trend, we have here an Executive liveried HST arriving with the Highland Chieftain, one of the longest passenger trains in the United Kingdom that travels from Inverness to London King’s Cross via the Highland Mainline and the East Coast Mainline.

The Cheiftain came into existence in 1984 to replace the original Clansman, and was done to exploit the introduction of the much faster HST sets as opposed to the previous Class 47’s and stock. The Clansman’s loco-hauled operation made it slower to accelarate, and also required a changing of locomotives in Mossend Freight Yard from Class 47 to Class 85 or 86. This journey usually took between 8 and 9 hours to accomplish, and wasn’t exactly the fastest way to the north.

The Highland Chieftain on the other hand had much better accelaration, and certainly had the legs when it reached the East Coast Mainline at Edinburgh, cruising all the way to London with only stops at Newcastle, Darlington and York to slow it. Today this 581 mile journey is carried out in 7 hours and 55 minutes southbound, and 8 hours and 8 minutes northbound, this service longer due to constraints on the single-track sections north of Perth.

Today the service is the only named daytime train to reach Inverness (the only other named train being the Royal Highland Sleeper from London Euston), and is the 3rd longest single train trip in the UK behind the Sleeper and a 705 mile Cross Country service between Penzance and Aberdeen. This service still uses the trusty HST, and is operated by Virgin Trains East Coast as one of only four named trains, the Hull Executive, the Northern Lights, and the legendary Flying Scotsman.

Artwork Comments

  • Larry Davis
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