GWR Charity HST to Minehead

125 Group is very pleased to help support this special High Speed Train charity railtour:

West Somerset Railway Explorer – Saturday 13th May 2017

Great Western Railway with Visit Somerset, West Somerset Railway and Buses of Somerset, a special HST (hoped to be celebrity power cars 43002 & 43185 with green livery set) will work the charity railtour, raising funds for Weston-super-Mare Hospice to celebrate the life and work of Bob Smart, the former chairman of Visit Somerset who sadly passed away last year.

‘Explorer Option’:  Paddington depart 08.36/ arrive 18.57, Ealing Broadway 08.44/18.46, Reading 09.14/18.19, Didcot 09.34/18.57 via Frome and onto the WSR and through to Minehead (13.00/14.50) returning via Taunton Platform 2 and crossover at Taunton East JnWeston-super-Mare and booked Bristol TM Down Through Line in the Up direction.

There is the option of leaving the train at Frome at 10.33 for a luxury coach or open top bus on a mystery land cruise re-joining at Weston 17.00. Part Fare ‘Round Robin’ joining the train at Frome are available on the 08.36 train from Swindon via Melksham, leaving at Weston for service train connections to the 18.32 Westbury to Swindon and 18.40 Westbury to Frome. Coach connections are also available to connect at Frome/Weston. GWR buffet car and souvenirs available, 125 Group Sales Stand on-board.

No pay on the day, online bookings only (with various options for group and staff fares etc) with full details available here: http://wsr_explorer.eventbrite.co.uk/?s=73482104

SPECIAL OFFER: For 125 Group members plus one accompanying person, early bird £25.50 discount – adult standard class only and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, VALID for the HST all day option ONLY, enter promotional code:  HST_Group_41
Current 125 Group membership card must be presented on-board to validate this special offer.

HST Charity Railtour – Book Now!

*** UPDATE 23/01/2017 – 1st Class has already SOLD OUT! however Standard Class Seats are still available. ***
*** There will be a full buffet and catering trolley service on board the railtour. BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment! ***

The Branch Line Society in conjunction with Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), 125 Group and PLEG is delighted to announce ‘Bound for Craigy’, an exciting HST special celebrating 40 years of the iconic train, raising money for Railway Children.  Travelling from Kings Cross to Edinburgh and return on Saturday 18th March, the nine coach set will be taking an unusual route visiting Bounds Green and Craigentinny depots along the way, covering the Hertford loop and the Blyth and Tyne route for good measure.  To add a little more interest, we pay two visits to Millerhill Yard and cover the Edinburgh Suburban line too, plus many unusual loops along the East Coast Mainline!

This VTEC HST will be powered by one regular Virgin MTU power car and one Paxman VP185 power car, courtesy of East Midlands Trains. Looking for a little more fun?  OK then let’s throw in the use of FOUR Class 08 shunting locomotives to haul our train – two on each depot.  Free Wi-Fi throughout the train?  Of course!  Ok so what about food then – ‘cos it’s going to be a long day!  Well, for Standard Class we will have trolley service throughout the train of drinks and light refreshments or stretch your legs and pop down to the Café Bar for some hot stuff.  First Class?  Well, strap yourself in for a full English breakfast on the way out, a lovely two course light lunch and an amazing three course dinner on the way home with complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks.  Real ale?  You bet!!

Tickets are available NOW! We hope you can join us on this very special charity railtour, discounted fares are available for 125 Group members and our roving sales stand will also be on-board. All bookings for this train are being handled by the Branch Line Society. Please note tickets are not available from Virgin Trains East Coast or 125 Group. For full details and to buy tickets, download the Branch Line Society booking form HERE.

Sir Kenneth on a Desert Island

Power Car 43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ leads GWR service 1A83 1000 Penzance-Paddington along the sea wall at Teignmouth, 21st December 2016. © D.Langham

125 Group Honorary President Sir Kenneth Grange is the guest on BBC Radio 4 ‘Desert Island Discs’ programme, at 11:15am on New Years Day. Sir Kenneth is of course eminent industrial designer of many things including the nosecones of both Prototype and Production High Speed Trains. The show will also be repeated during the week and should be available on the BBC iPlayer here www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b086l4zd

2016 has been a fantastic year for the HST and 125 Group, with many great events celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Inter-City 125, including St.Philips Marsh depot open day in May and HSTs@40 at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) in November, plus 41001’s many visits around the UK. Thanks to all of the railway industry folk and preservation volunteers who have toiled to organise the events and to everyone who has attended, raising funds for some excellent causes.

2017 promises to be an interesting year for the High Speed Train, with the first new replacement Hitachi units scheduled for introduction. If you are interested in HSTs and want to support our preservation cause then why not join 125 Group? Members receive our quarterly magazine ‘One Two Five’, packed with information and informed comment on mainline fleet developments plus the latest exciting news on our Prototype power car 41001. Join here: www.125group.org.uk/group-membership

Happy New Year from all at 125 Group!

Festive HST Action – Weds 28th December

41001 and 125 Group’s matching Mk3 coaches at Ruddington GCR(N) ©125 Group

Wednesday 28th December sees Prototype HST Power Car 41001 and 125 Group’s matching Mk3 coaches working a full day of passenger services at home base Great Central Railway (Nottingham). Come along for a ride and experience living railway history, the original iconic High Speed Train in action – the perfect antidote to turkey sandwiches and sales overload!

Services run from GCR(N)’s main station at Ruddington with car parking available, postcode NG11 6JS. The ‘Yellow Timetable’ will be in operation with departures at 1030, 1215, 1400 and 1545. Prototype Power Car 41001 is currently on the north end of the coaches, Class 25 locomotive D7629 is planned to be on the south end of the set, the first time it has worked passenger trains with the HST.

Why not bring the whole family? Our comfortable train is fully heated and air-conditioned, the bright Mk3 coaches have large picture windows and seats mostly arranged around tables. The journey from Ruddington takes us through the scenic Nottinghamshire countryside almost 10 miles south on the former Great Central mainline. Feeling a little peckish? ‘Buffet 125’ will be open all day on the train, serving hot bacon/sausage baps, burgers, hot dogs, hot and cold drinks plus alcoholic beverages including wine and bottled ale.

The 125 Group Sales Stand will also be open on-board, a great place to spend that Xmas gift money, all in aid of our preservation efforts. A full range of HST merchandise is available, including 40YEAR badges and mugs, plus beautiful line drawing prints of Inter-City 125s.

The miniature railway at Ruddington will also be open for rides – wrap up warm! – the model railway will be open too. For more information about tickets and how to get to GRC(N), view their website www.gcrn.co.uk.

High Speed Train 40th anniversary event raises money for Railway Children charity

Dave Ellis (Railway Children), Mark Coney, Darren Ward (EMT), Alan Kemp (GCRN), Donna Adams (EMT), Phil Stanway (GCRN), Alex Wood (125 Group) with 43045 at Nottingham. ©GCRN

• Event helped to raise £1,350 for Railway Children

• Cheque presented to the Railway Children at Nottingham station in front of a power car by the 125 Group, the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) and East Midlands Trains

The Railway Children charity was presented with a cheque for £1,350 today (Tuesday 6 December) by fundraisers from the 125 Group, the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) and East Midlands Trains.

The money was raised at a special event that took place at the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) last month where a visiting East Midlands Trains HST ran throughout the day to mark its 40th anniversary. It was the first time that this formation of train operated on this line and proved to be very popular with visitors. The chosen charity for the day was Railway Children and in addition to receiving a percentage of the ticket sales, Railway Children also sold themed Christmas cards and other items on the day to help raise valuable funds for the charity.

Darren Ward, Head of Drivers for East Midlands Trains, who helped to mastermind East Midlands Trains involvement in the event, said, “I’m delighted to be able to present the cheque to the Railway Children after such a special day of fundraising. Our HSTs remain a firm favourite with many people, and along with the rest of the industry we wanted to celebrate their heritage and at the same time raise some valuable funds for one of our favourite charities.”

Dave Ellis, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Railway Children, said, “Railway Children are extremely grateful for the support generated and would like to thank everybody involved in helping to make the day the incredible success it was. Over the last 20 years we have reached more than 270,000 children, who would have otherwise been completely alone and vulnerable on the streets. It’s incredibly fitting that the HST, such an icon of the UK rail industry and so integral during the last 40 years, helped in creating such fantastic support for Railway Children. If I had to pick one single highlight of the day, other than the fantastic amount raised for Railway Children, It would have to be seeing Mr Tim Shoveller out on the ground getting his hands dirty!”

Phil Stanway, Director of Great Central Railway Nottingham, said, “We would like to thank East Midlands Trains for the support given to both ourselves and 125 Group that not only enabled us to round off our operating year in style with a tribute to 40 Years of the HST with 41001, 43048 and 43082 but also enabled us to raise quite a substantial amount for one of East Midlands Trains’ charity partners. This was all possible thanks to the hard work by East Midlands Trains and 125 Group along with our operations team to make it happen.”

Gary Heelas, Chairman of 125 Group, said, “It was great to see several hundred people enjoying themselves on the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) and joining in the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of 125mph HST services in the UK. We’re grateful to East Midlands Trains for the loan of 43048 and 43082 plus the two coaches, as well as the train crew who provided their services for free. We’re also thrilled that the Railway Children charity was able to join us and do some fundraising, including a raffle to which all those involved contributed to. We look forward to working with everyone again soon!”

For more information about Railway Children, visit railwaychildren.org.uk