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.

Meet HST designer Sir Kenneth Grange on-board The Somerset Explorer

Sir Kenneth Grange with his namesake GWR High Speed Train power car 43002 ©125 Group

125 Group is delighted to announce that our Honorary President Sir Kenneth Grange, distinguished industrial designer of the High Speed Train nosecone and Inter-City 125 original livery, will be VIP guest on-board ‘The Somerset Explorer’ Great Western Railway charity railtour on Saturday 13th May, raising funds for Weston-super-Mare Hospice.

In addition to the HST, Sir Kenneth also designed many everyday items including the Kenwood food mixer, Kodak instamatic camera, Wilkinson razor and London taxi, and was recently interviewed on BBC ‘Desert Island Discs’. Sir Kenneth will be available for photographs at Paddington before the railtour departs, and will travel on-board the outward journey, walking through the train meeting passengers, pleased to give autographs and selfies in return for a donation to charity. This is a rare opportunity to meet the man behind the look of the iconic Inter-City 125.

Celebrity power cars 43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ (Inter-City 125 original livery) and 43185 ‘Great Western’ (INTERCITY Swallow livery) with green GWR coaches are planned to work the train (subject to operating conditions on the day). A full buffet service will be available plus the on-board 125 Group Sales Stand.

*** UPDATE  –  ALTERATION TO RAILTOUR TRAINPLAN ***

Due to operational reasons, the High Speed Train can no longer run all the way to Minehead as originally planned, this has resulted in a change to some of the itinerary. The railtour will still run from London Paddington depart 08.36/arrive 18.57, Ealing Broadway 08.44/18.46, Reading 09.14/18.19 and Didcot 09.34/18.02, these times are unchanged.

The special will continue onto the scenic West Somerset Railway and will now terminate at Bishops Lydeard. Passengers have the option of joining a special connecting service to Minehead and back hauled by Diesel Hydraulic class 52 locomotive D1010 Western Campaigner, arriving back into Bishops Lydeard to connect into the return HST. Alternatively, passengers may remain on the HST for an extra return trip from Bishops Lydeard to Taunton and back, tickets will be valid. Other off-train, bus tour options are available. GWR apologise for the late notice change of plan.

Full Details and Tickets still available – See GWR Eventbrite Website HERE

Questions about Existing or New Bookings – Contact the Organiser HERE

Special Offer for 125 Group Members plus one accompanying person, £25.50 discount off the adult standard class fare giving a price of £41.00. Enter the promotional code of HST_Group_41 when booking. Note: This cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, is valid for the HST all day option only, and a current 125 Group membership card must be presented on-board to validate this special offer.

GWR Charity HST to Minehead

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

The Somerset 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.

There will be the GWR buffet car with GWR souvenirs available and the 125 Group Sales Stand on-board.

Various ticket options are available:

‘Explorer Option’:  Paddington depart 08.36/ arrive 18.57, Ealing Broadway 08.44/18.46, Reading 09.14/18.19, Didcot 09.34/18.02 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 travelling to and from Paddington but 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’ option for passengers joining the train at Frome from 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.

There are no pay on the day tickets, only on-line bookings are available (but with various options for group and staff fares etc).

Full details and ticket bookings 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.

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!

Happy 40th Birthday HST!

Power car 43002 leads HST 253 001 at Sydney Gardens, Bath Spa in 1976. ©Richard Clayton

40 Years Ago today, 4th October 1976 saw the launch of regular 125mph passenger running in the UK when the then new fleet of High Speed Trains was introduced on timetabled services between London Paddington, Bristol and South Wales. The streamlined Inter-City 125s transformed long distance rail travel, bringing new levels of comfort and shrinking journey times. Over the past 40 years the iconic HST has become a firm favourite with railway passengers, staff and enthusiasts and is still going strong!

To celebrate this important anniversary, with the support of the railway industry, 125 Group has sponsored the fitment of ‘40 YEARS’ plaques to power cars across the different fleets of HSTs which still operate front-line services countrywide today. A pair of the cast metal plaques has already been fitted to Grand Central’s power car number 43423, Cross Country’s 43321 and Network Rail’s 43013, soon to be joined by Virgin Trains East Coast and East Midlands Trains power cars.

Manufactured by Newton Replicas, the plaques are being fitted to power cars by depot staff at Heaton, Craigentinny and Neville Hill, with the support of Porterbrook Leasing and Angel Trains. At such time as they come to be removed, the plaques will return to 125 Group.

Grand Central CSA Andy Rose and HST Designer Sir Kenneth Grange with 42423 and 40 YEARS plaque ©125 Group

125 Group Chairman Gary Heelas said, “125 Group is pleased to join the railway industry in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the HST. We are grateful to all of the companies and staff involved who have enabled us to display our ‘40 YEARS’ plaques on their iconic trains, which will ultimately support our long term objective of preserving a production Inter-City 125 fitted with original Paxman Valenta engine.”

125 Group’s own preserved Mk3 catering vehicle RFM 10206 also carries an internally mounted ‘40 YEARS’ plaque. This former HST kitchen car TRUK 40507 now provides tasty hot food to travellers behind preserved prototype HST power car 41001 at Great Central Railway (Nottingham).

The ’40 YEARS’ plaque was first produced by graphic designer Paul Gentleman of Great Western Railway and is already mounted on pioneer production power car 43002 which was unveiled repainted in original Inter-City 125 livery at St.Philips Marsh depot open day in May this year. This power car was named ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ at the same event after the designer of the HST’s iconic nosecone and now 125 Group Honorary President, 125 Group also sponsored these nameplates. Special thanks to GWR for allowing 125 Group to use their design and for playing a leading role in supporting HST40 celebrations this year. #HST40

Buy your own ’40 YEARS’ enamel pin badge and official HST40 merchandise from our on-line shop HERE.