Our first book ‘125-The Enduring Icon’

We are delighted that 125 Group’s first book will be published in late June 2018 and is now available to pre-order. ‘125 – The Enduring Icon’ is 100% HST and tells the story of the last forty-five years of the InterCity 125 in a new and very factual way.

Using a largely photographic format, supplemented by detailed text sections and captions, the whole history is covered to ensure the fullest possible picture of the operational life of HSTs from inception up to the end of 2017. Chapters cover the early days, the business impact on InterCity, developments through privatisation, extremities of operation, the engine developments and enhancements, and the preservation story of the prototype. Superb photographs illustrate the whole story, with significant detail of the evolving fleet.

Written and collated by 125 Group, and with a foreword by our Hon President, Sir Kenneth Grange, this 96 page soft-cover book promises to be the highlight publication of 2018 and is one that should be on every HST enthusiast’s shelf. With a launch date in late June 2018, you can pre-order your copy HERE on our website. Guaranteed dispatch by post immediately following publication and receipt of stock from the publishers. Price is £14.99 + UK Postage and Packing of £3.00 = Buy Price £17.99

125 Group’s profits from this important publication go straight to our preservation funds. By purchasing ‘125 – The Enduring Icon’ direct from our website you will be helping us achieve our aim of securing a Production HST, thank you for your support.

Welcome to 125 Group !

A warm welcome to 125 Group, especially if you have come here after seeing us on TV! We are the High Speed Train InterCity 125 enthusiast and preservation group, formed in 1994 by a small band to share news and information on the fleet and with the long-term aim of preserving a HST. The iconic train is still going strong today, the mainstay of many InterCity routes. Our objective is to preserve a production HST powered by the original Valenta engine, to this end we have acquired a large number of major components. Through this work and our restoration of 41001 we have developed a good relationship with the railway industry and grown to over 550 members. We are now a registered charity and are delighted to have 125 designer Sir Kenneth Grange as our Honorary President.

125 Group has a proven track record, in 2012 we took the last surviving prototype HST power car 41001 on long-term loan from the National Railway Museum and under the ‘Project Miller’ banner, in honour of the BR Chief Engineer behind the original HST, we restored it from a static exhibit to full working order for use on preserved railways. In recognition we were presented with the Railway Heritage Committee Modern Traction Award. Thanks to our benefactors, volunteers and the kind help of the railway industry, 41001 is now a regular performer at its home base the Great Central Railway (Nottingham). 125 Group is owner of six Mk3 coaches which our engineering team have also restored with four in traffic, three of which are in matching livery to 41001 recreating the look of the Prototype HST. Our team of around twenty-five active volunteers maintain and operate the train, including a buffet bar serving drinks and delicious hot food prepared on-board.

This website has a wealth of information about the HST and up-to-date Power Car Fleet List, plus news about future operating dates for our Prototype HST. We also have a wide range of 125 related items on sale in our On-line Shop, including mugs, DVDs, professionally produced artwork and our excellent forthcoming book ‘125-The Enduring Icon’ available for pre-order.

Join Us! We are delighted to welcome new members who are interested in HSTs and wish to support our cause. Members exclusively receive our quarterly magazine ‘One Two Five’ which is packed with informed articles about current mainline operations and detailed behind the scenes information on our preservation progress. Join now on this website, membership is only £17 for 12 months.

New Hitachi class 800 series units are already in service, with many more planned over the next two years. Some HST withdrawals are very likely in the near future and 125 Group is ready to step in and save at least one power car from the scrapyard. We have launched our ‘Direct Debit’ scheme to help boost our preservation funds, donate from £5 per month and receive free subscription to 125 Group.

40 Years of East Coast HSTs!

Brand new Inter-City 125 sets 254014 and 254012 stabled at Newcastle Heaton Depot, 13th May 1978. © 53A Models of Hull Collection (the late D R Vickers)

40 Years Ago today, 8th May 1978 saw the launch of regular 125mph passenger running on the East Coast Mainline when the new fleet of High Speed Trains was introduced on timetabled services between London Kings Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh. The streamlined Inter-City 125s transformed long distance rail travel, bringing new levels of comfort and a step-change in journey times, the striking new trains were dubbed ‘The Journey Shrinker’.

With more HSTs delivered over the following months, Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Aberdeen were added to the 125 network. ‘The Nosecone Effect’ boosted passenger numbers at the same time as bringing social and economic benefits through improved connectivity, which still gives towns and cities on the route an advantage today. Over the past 40 years the iconic HST has become a firm favourite with railway passengers, staff and enthusiasts and is still going strong on the ECML under the charge of Virgin Trains East Coast, however replacement is planned soon in the form of new class 800 series ‘Azuma’ trains.

125 Group is working hard raising funds to achieve our goal of preserving a production HST powered by the original Valenta type engine. Established in 1994 we are now a registered charity with a proven track record, having restored prototype 41001 from static museum exhibit to working order, Sir Kenneth Grange is our Hon President. If you are interested in 125s then please support our cause by joining us, members receive our exclusive quarterly magazine with detailed behind the scenes information on our preservation activities plus informed articles on the changing HST scene. Membership is £17 for 12 months or sign up to our direct-debit scheme for as little as £5 per month, this really helps our preservation efforts and includes free membership. JOIN HERE!

Saturday 5th May kicks-off HST Season at GCRN

Prototype High Speed Train Power Car 41001 and 125 Group’s matching Mk3 coaches will be working passenger trains at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) this Saturday 5th May, kicking-off a run of warm weather operating dates Saturday 26th May, Sunday 17th June and Saturday 30th June. Services depart from Ruddington station at 1030, 1215, 1400 and 1545 running to Loughborough High Level and back under the ‘Yellow Timetable’. The preserved HST will operate top ‘n’ tail with 41001 at the south end and a GCR(N) locomotive at the north end.  Tickets available to buy on the day.

The GCR(N) route is just under 10 miles long, after departing from Ruddington trains reverse at Fifty Steps then run southbound calling at Rushcliffe Halt station, continuing through the scenic Nottinghamshire countryside to Loughborough High Level, which has no station but affords a great view over the Midland Mainline and looks down into Brush Locomotive Works, with class 73s, 92s, 319s and HST power cars often visible. Ruddington station (sat-nav postcode NG11 6JS) is the base for GCR(N) with many heritage transport exhibits, miniature and model railways, see GCR(N) website for further information.

‘Buffet 125’ will be open on-board our Mk3 coach RFM 10206, selling hot snacks, sandwiches, hot and cold beverages plus alcoholic drinks including bottled beer, our volunteers will be pleased to serve you. The 125 Group sales stand will also be on the train, with our latest range of merchandise available. Experience a grand day out riding comfortable air-conditioned Mk3 coaches, powered by 41001 and its original screaming Paxman Valenta engine!

Okehampton-Stratford HST Railtour Sat 21st April

Great Western power cars 43138 and 43134 on previous railtour duty at Stratford-upon-Avon, 27th March 1999. © 125 Group

This Saturday 21st April a special High Speed Train railtour will run from Okehampton through to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, exceedingly rare for a HST! The special ‘Royal Oke’ charter will be operated using a Great Western Railway Inter-City 125, calling points are Okehampton Town (depart 0710, arrive back 2046), Crediton (0747/2005), Exeter St.Davids (0812/1947), Oxford (1026/1720) and Stratford-upon-Avon (arrive 1132, depart 1613). The railtour is booked to run via the Down and Up Main through lines at Leamington Spa. Tickets are still available, including a special reduced fare of £20 from Oxford.

The railtour is operated by OkeRAIL, campaigning for the reintroduction of passenger trains between Okehampton and Exeter.
More information is available on the OkeRAIL website here:  https://okerail.2day.uk/
To book tickets from stations Okehampton Town, Crediton and Exeter St.Davids click here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/486973
To book tickets from Oxford only click here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/491432
Tickets are sold by the railtour organiser OkeRAIL only.

If you have any questions about the railtour please contact OkeRAIL via their website / facebook / twitter.
Please do not contact 125 Group or Great Western Railway with queries about this railtour.