SEVERAL Yorkshire railway stations were busier than usual late last night as train enthusiasts turned out in force to watch a moment of railway history - and were even treated to an unexpected strain of On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at.

For what is expected to be the last time ever, a revenue-earning passenger service operated by a legendary High Speed Train (HST) arrived in Yorkshire long after darkness descended on Monday.

CrossCountry - the last train operator to run HSTs in and out of Yorkshire - has pulled the plug on its fleet of HSTs, powered by the iconic streamlined Class 43 locomotives.

Over 100 enthusiasts were on Sheffield Station just after 10.30pm when 43007, recently repainted into original HST livery complete with Inter-City 125 logos, rounded the corner into the station, with the driver hooting to greet the waiting photographers.

At one point, the tones from the leading 43's horn seemed to be replicating the chorus of traditional Yorkshire song On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at - much to the delight of onlookers.

There was more hooting as the train made a spectacular departure, with Intercity Swallow-liveried 43008 bringing up the rear. 

From the train's station of origin - Plymouth - right through to its final destination - Leeds - the station platforms and railway footbridges had been bustling with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for mainline steam train railtours.

The end of an era for HSTs in Yorkshire, previewed in the Telegraph & Argus yesterday, was underlined by the presence of a commemorative headboard on the train carrying the wording 'CrossCountry High Speed Train Farewell'.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A large number of enthusiasts watch the HST at Sheffield Station

At one point, the train had been 15 minutes late as it passed Birmingham New Street, but made up time on the remainder of the journey, arriving at Leeds at 11.35pm - just a minute behind schedule.

The end of 2023 will also bring the curtain down on another type of locomotive on passenger services in West Yorkshire, with Transpennine set to withdraw its Class 68-hauled Nova 3 fleet.

The withdrawal of the CrossCountry HST fleet leaves ScotRail and Great Western as the only remaining companies operating everyday passenger services using Class 43s, although the class is also on borrowed time in the south-west, where they are being phased out.

Unions continue to apply pressure for the sets to be withdrawn amid safety concerns that were heightened by a fatal crash in Scotland.

In their prime, the HSTs were credited with transforming intercity train services in Britain, offering a comfortable and quick service between far-flung destinations.

They were a familiar sight in Yorkshire, including Bradford, but recent years have seen operators such as LNER and Grand Central phase out their remaining HSTs.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The trailing powercar at Sheffield station - Intercity Swallow liveried 43008

But the remarkable story isn't quite at an end. Recent reports suggest that a number of HSTs are being shipped to Mexico for use on an under-construction line. 

Others are likely to prove popular with heritage railways as preservation experts seek to get their hands on these iconic trains.