“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
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.
locomotives themselves are still in service, the new engines lack the
characteristic “thrash” many fans associated with
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
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
Taking the piss out of some US kid who is ranting about UK
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
Oh dear god he can't be serious now can he? He hasn't seen a real HST
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
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
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
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
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,
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.