A new legacy for the first UK Very High Speed Train

Some may have noticed on social media yesterday (Tuesday 8 August) that a big green Power Car landed in Doncaster…

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This was the first of two former Eurostar class 373 power cars, built by Alstom, that have been saved from the scrapyard, cleaned up and wrapped and handed over to the new National College for High Speed Rail.  Next week, Birmingham will see its power car arrive but yesterday it was the turn of Doncaster.

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The weather may not have been hugely welcoming but the welcome from Doncaster was fantastic with the elected Mayor of Doncaster, Ros (on the right of the photo), and the Council Chief Executive, Jo (on the left), turning out to see the power car arrive at the superb new College site, along with Clair Mowbray, CEO of the new National College, and i thought i would photobomb proceedings……….

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Last September, at Innotrans in Berlin, Clair asked me whether it was possible for the College to get its hands on a high speed train and whether Alstom could help.  While a full TGV seemed a little optimistic we hatched this plot with the help of many others along the way including Colin Flack who offered up Long Marston, a number of great Eurostar people who went out of their way to make this happen, and a fair few of my Alstom colleagues including those from our Oxley depot who came over and worked on the power cars to get them back into condition.

So watching #Donnystar cross the threshold into her new home yesterday was a hugely satisfying achievement.

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And resting up in her new home where her legacy will now be help to inspire and educate the railway engineers of the future – that is a magnificent outcome for everyone involved in this project.

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And i’m not going to lie… there was a little tear in my eye seeing her arrive at her new home and prepared for a new role.  These trains were the original Eurostar fleet connecting London and the UK with France and Belgium initially and then the Alps and Avignon as well.  They were also the first trains to run at Very High Speed in the UK and hold the rail speed record in the UK of 208mph on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link through Kent between London and the Tunnel.

I’ll leave you with a #Donnystar selfie… and look out for the arrival of #Brumstar next week!!

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