Onwards to Another Grand Year!

Clockwise from top left: Presentation of cheque of raffle proceeds from ‘The Grand Farewell’ Grand Central / Branch Line Society railtour, 41001 and 125 Group Mk3s in action at Rushcliffe Halt GCR(N), interior of restored Mk3 coach 12087, ‘Buffet 125’ volunteers serving up tasty fare in kitchen of catering vehicle 10206. © 125 Group

A grand thankyou from 125 Group to Grand Central and the Branch Line Society for kindly donating raffle proceeds from the recent ‘The Grand Farewell’ railtour to our charity. BLS Fixtures Secretary Kev Adlam called in at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) on 41001’s Festive Running Day to present the cheque for £1,365.80 to 125 Group Chairman Gary Heelas. We are very grateful for this donation which brings to a close another very successful year for 125 Group.

Highlights of 2017 have included maintenance and upgrade work on Prototype HST Power Car 41001’s suspension, brakes, wheelslip/slide and speedometer systems, replacement of no.7 axle bearing, plus significant work behind the scenes on maintenance and overhaul procedures for our fleet. During August we completed a major purchase of three additional Mk3 coaches, determined work by our volunteer engineers saw the first of these 12087 restored and carrying passengers just over two months later, complete with working air-conditioning. We treated our catering vehicle 10206 to high quality new flooring in the kitchen and serving area, plus lighting overhaul and panel painting, making the interior as good as new. Public running days continued throughout the year with 41001 and our Mk3 coaches at GCR(N) including the successful Summer Diesel Gala, with our ‘Buffet 125’ catering volunteers serving tasty food and drink on-board. 41001 was also exhibited at Old Oak Common open day, once its home depot. We have participated in many HST railtours including playing a key role in ‘Bound for Craigy’ with our Hon President Sir Kenneth Grange on-board and ‘The Pickering Paxman’, taking passenger HSTs to new territory. We have given talks at railway societies during the year, the roving 125 Group sales stand has travelled far and wide including the Warley Model Railway Exhibition, complimenting our increasingly busy on-line shop, all raising funds for our preservation efforts.

A massive thankyou to all individuals, organisations and companies who have worked with and supported 125 Group during 2017. We look forward to another exciting year in 2018, working towards our objective of preserving a production High Speed Train. We welcome new members, join up on-line HERE to support our cause and receive our members only magazine ‘One Two Five’ packed full of behind the scenes detail on our activities, informed articles on the current HST scene, plus a dose of nostalgia – next issue features a look back on the 10 years of Grand Central HST operation. Happy New Year from everyone at 125 Group!

Passenger debut for Mk3 Coach 12087

125 Group Mk3 TSO 12087 arrived at Ruddington GCR(N) having just worked its first passenger train in preservation, the 1800 ‘Firework Spectacular Special’ from Rushcliffe Halt, 04/11/2017. © James Trebinski

125 Group is delighted to announce successful entry to passenger service of Mk3 coach Tourist Standard Open (TSO) 12087, which our volunteers have restored to working order in just over two months since it arrived at Great Central Railway (Nottingham).

12087 ran as part of the consist for the Guy Fawkes weekend GCR(N) Firework Spectacular services on Saturday 4th November, bringing local folk from Rushcliffe Halt to Ruddington for the evening firework display and taking them home again after the event. Passengers enjoyed the deep cleaned saloon, working air-conditioning / heating and air-powered internal doors, not to mention the silky smooth ride of the Mk3!

Restoration has also included roof repairs, replacement brake distributor, electrical work including a new set of batteries, air and electrical systems testing, new buckeye coupler and new vestibule carpets. Efforts will now turn to vehicles 12065 and 12134, which were purchased at the same time, and like 12087, had previously been in storage for many years.

Thankyou to everyone who has recently bought merchandise from our on-line shop, joined 125 Group, or signed up to our Direct Debit regular donations scheme. All of these contributions are greatfully received and go towards our restoration efforts and long term aim of production HST preservation.

Mk3 Coaches for GCR(N) Sulzer Sunday

Join us this Sunday 22nd October at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) when 125 Group’s Mk3 coaches will be on passenger trains hauled by Scotrail 47765 and Large-Logo 47292 running top and tail for ‘Sulzer Running Day’. Services will be operating to the Yellow Timetable with departures from Ruddington at 1030, 1215, 1400 and 1545. Mk3 vehicles 12092, 10206 and 11074 will be in passenger use, Buffet 125 will be available on-board serving drinks and snacks plus 125 Group Sales Stand will be open on the train. Locomotives subject to availability on the day, for more details see GCR(N) website HERE.

Prototype HST power car 41001 is away at Old Oak Common. 125 Group owns six Mk3 coaches: 12092, 10206 and 11074 which are shown in the photograph at Bristol Temple Meads on 1st May 2016, plus recently acquired 12065, 12087 and 12134 which are under restoration at GCR(N) Ruddington. Photo ©125 Group.

Mk3 Coach Restoration Progress

125 Group Mk3 TSO 12087 on test at Rushcliffe Halt GCRN with 56097 and 5376, 15/10/2017. ©K.Baldwin
Working lights inside Mk3 TSO 12087 ©B.Webber

125 Group is delighted to announce major restoration progress with the first of our recently purchased Mk3 coaches at Great Central Railway (Nottingham).

Tourist Standard Open (TSO) 12087 has been the focus of initial efforts. Following completion of roof repairs to make the vehicle watertight, a replacement brake distributor was installed plus some rectification work to PASSCOM pipework, allowing brakes and air systems to be tested and commissioned. Electrical work was then tackled, the coach has been treated to a new set of batteries, individual circuits were livened up and checked, including the lights. 12087 was then placed (locked out of use) at the end of the GCR(N) service train consist on Sunday 15th October and completed 60 miles of fault free running. During the last trip, our engineers allowed the Motor Alternator and Air-Conditioning System to operate on the move from Ruddington to Rushcliffe Halt, which all functioned normally, the batteries charging healthily at 109.3 volts.

Prior to acquisition by 125 Group, the vehicles had been stored out of use for many years. This major progress in less than two months has been possible through the dedication and determined efforts of our volunteers. Further work required to 12087 includes a new buckeye coupler and external door, toilet restoration plus some attention to flooring and carpets. We plan for the coach to re-enter public service on Saturday 4th November and look forward to welcoming passengers on-board!

Three more Mk3 Coaches join 125 Group Fleet

Mk3 coaches 12087 and 12065 on arrival at Ruddingtron GCRN © 125 Group

125 Group is very pleased to announce we have completed purchase of three additional Mk3 locomotive-hauled coaches. The vehicles were previously owned by Direct Rail Services and had been in storage at Barrow Hill. All three are Tourist Standard Open (TSO) AC2G type, individual vehicles numbers are 12065 (‘one’ base livery with National Express branding), 12087 and 12134 (both in unbranded Virgin livery). The coaches will be based at Great Central Railway Nottingham and restored by 125 Group volunteers, using skills and experience gained with our existing fleet.

The coaches have all now arrived at Ruddington following road transfer from Barrow Hill, courtesy of Reid Freight Services. They will join the air-braked fleet at GCRN and supplement our existing three Mk3s 11074, 10206 and 12092, making possible a longer train powered by Prototype HST Power Car 41001. The additional coaches will also provide reserve and spares cover enabling individual vehicles to be stood down for maintenance. We are excited about these new acquisitions which will enable 125 Group to expand operations ahead of our ultimate goal of preserving a Production High Speed Train.