High Speed Controversy

The “InterCity 125”, or “High Speed Train”, or “HST” is a British high speed train consisting of a set of lightweight passenger coaches in between two Class 43 diesel power cars. The trains were introduced in the late 1970’s and are still the fastest diesel powered trains in the world.

Being raised near JFK International Airport and seeing the British Airways Concord jets blasting off at the speed of sound above my house, I was fascinated by fast British things from a young age, and combined with a general love of trains, I fell in love with the HST from when I first learned of them.

Having never left the US, I never got to see the trains in action until the advent of YouTube where trainspotters uploaded their videos of the HSTs at work. When I first saw the videos, I was impressed by the train’s engine sound which almost sounded like an airplane taking off.

However, as the trains are getting to be thirty years old now, some operators of the trains have decided to update the locomotives by removing the “hellfire” Paxman Valenta engines and installing quieter, more eco-friendly MTU engines.
While the locomotives themselves are still in service, the new engines lack the characteristic “thrash” many fans associated with the HSTs.

While I personally could hear the difference in sound in the videos that I watched, and preferred the more “exciting” sound of the Valenta engines, I was just thankful that the operators who chose to renovate their HSTs and keep them in service rather than retire them altogether as other companies have.

As the re-engined trains went into service, YouTube videos of them often got spammed with “OMG MTU SUXXX” complaints akin to the wining of fanboys on a video game message board.

So, in response, I made a video expressing my feelings on the issue, and posted it to YouTube.


I'm a high speed train enthusiast from America who is getting tired of seeing HST fans wining in the comment boxes of nearly every single HST related Youtube video about FGW's (First Great Western, a UK Railway) refurbished Power Cars with MTU engines.

Sure the Valentas are the original engines, and sure the roar they made was pretty boss, but lets face it, the trains are getting to be between 25 and 30 years old now.

As a fan in America who has never even gotten to see a HST in person before, I can say that I'm greatly thankful that FGW is willing to spend millions of Pounds to keep these fine trains up to date and in service while other companies like Virgin Trains are phasing them out.

If not for FGWs life extension program, I might never have a chance to save up money and visit the UK so I can see and experience these machines in person.

I have a joke I use about video game system fans, and I think its true for all fans in any category.

How many fans does it take to change a lightbulb? 1000. 1 to actually change the lightbulb, and 999 more to complain about the old one being better.

That is my 2 cents about the new MTU engined HSTs

I got a lot of positive responses from rail fans in the UK who shared my feelings and warmly invited me to visit their country and see the trains in person.

However, one user called SidneyElec didn’t take kindly to my input, and made a video of his own “striking back at me”.


Taking the piss out of some US kid who is ranting about UK HST fans!

Today we look at an HST fan from America. Yes, there is one. He posted a video on YouTube ranting about British HST fans. 

Firstly everyone is entitled to an opinion on things. Including their opinion that MTU engines are ***** and that Valentas are the greatest.

What the **** is that supposed to mean? For the purpose of UK fans he should say something like “hellfire” or “dreadful. Also your being a jest(?). Rant two over.

Oh dear god he can't be serious now can he? He hasn't seen a real HST or been in the UK and he is telling us we are in the wrong. 

Never mind. It’s probable that he believes in that whole “Americans are superior over everyone else” thing again. That’s why they are good at starting wars. And yes I know I have an American voice, this program has limits you know.

He also doesn’t mention that GNER (Great North Eastern Railway) is fitting MTU engines into their HSTs. Play on.

Stop. I have to agree, its good that FGW and GNER are keeping the HSTs in service, thats a good thing, but now he’s moaning about never seeing a real one.

Here’s an idea, rob a bank! Or maybe get a well paying job.

I knew that was going to be crap but that just takes the piss. Can’t you think of anything better?

For the rest of the video, SidneyElec complains about how the HST painting and model HST that are visible in my video are of the original 1970’s British Railways paint jobs rather than the present day private railway paint jobs, and then calls me a retard.

Firstly, despite the fact that SidneyElec’s behavior in the video characterizes him as an elitist jerk, I’m flattered by the fact that somebody actually cared enough about what I had to say to download my video and splice it together with his responses. In the process of making his response, he likely ended up watching my video more times than myself or any of the other people who liked it.

Furthermore, despite his own recommendation that I “rob a bank or find a well paying job”, SidneyElec was unable to afford a webcam to film his response with, or even a throw away microphone to record his voice. All his commentary consists of a terrible synthesized voice that made taking a transcript of his video a challenge.

I could have pulled a slithery maneuver and made a copyright claim to YouTube since SidneyElec used my video without my permission, but immediately decided against it, as I believe in free speech, no matter how stupid.

I filmed a response video which I planned to post in rebuttal to SidneyElec, but I then decided to remain “graceful” and not provoke a pathetic chicken fight/flame war over this. I transcribed the video I had filmed and sent it to SidneyElec’s YouTube account via private message.

This video didn’t take the piss out of me, but to you credit I nearly pissed my pants laughing at how ridiculous it is.

You really shot yourself in the foot once you turned this into a personal attack, and that alone will swiftly ruin any reasonable person’s ability to take you seriously.

On the subject of my nationality, it’s pretty gutsy of you to accuse me of being hubristic for being American when the UK is historically one of the most pugilistic, imperialistic, blood stained nations in humankind history.

If I’m a stuck up warmonger for being born American than I can draw up just as long a list of unflattering insults about your British heritage.

I honestly don’t have any problem with people who prefer Valentas (actually, I prefer them myself), I just find it annoying that some people feel compelled to repeatedly post nonsense such as “OMG MTU SUXX DIS IS SHITE FGW RUINED HST” on every HST video they come across, so I spoke out about it.

Also, you know I’m not a British trainspotter, so why would you expect me to talk like one? Would you have liked me to have worked on a fake accent as well? I’m not trying to pose as a native expert on HSTs, I’m just a foreign fan stating my opinion on the refurbishment program, and I never claimed to be anything more than that.

I also apologize that my collection of HST memorabilia is limited. The fact that many sellers wont even ship to the US and that with overseas shipping charges the stuff costs me almost twice what its worth doesn't help, and whether you are aware of it or not, being a college student in the US isn’t exactly cheap, and I have far more important things to spend my money on than toy trains.

I wasn't aware until after I posted my video that GNER was also fitting MTU engines into the HSTs, and when it comes to GNER, while I obviously never rode with them, I think their website was the most well designed and informative of any of the UK rail operator sites I’ve visited and I think its too bad that they are being dissolved.

To be honest, your little rant didn’t even begin to warrant a rebuttal with the level of thought and time I put into this response, but I couldn’t bear to let you suffer the delusion that you had “taken the piss out of me” with your immature, jaundiced spoutings.

When the repugnant thought of your presence there has fled my memory, I will once again dream fondly of visiting the UK to see HSTs and other hallmarks of British engineering in person.

Well, to this day, SydneyElec has yet to get back in contact with me or issue a response, so I’m taking the liberty of declaring my self victorious on this one. Since this incident, I've received only one other negative comment.

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