‘The Grand Farewell’ Charity Railtour

125 Group is very pleased to support this forthcoming charity railtour marking the end of Grand Central operating High Speed Trains and celebrating ten years of the company. ‘The Grand Farewell’ on Sunday 17th December, will originate in the North East and head over the Pennines, covering routes which rarely see an Inter-City 125.

The Branch Line Society is delighted to announce an unusual HST charity charter train in conjunction with Grand Central (GC), traversing much sought-after curves, loops and sidings! The six-coach train will be powered by two GC liveried Class 43 power cars. There will be an on-train raffle with proceeds donated to 125 Group, whilst profits from the charter will be split evenly between Railway Benefit Fund and Railway Children. There will be a Buffet Car serving a wide range of sandwiches, drinks, snacks and light refreshments. At least two real ales are expected to be available for sale. First Class passengers will benefit from an at seat service with breakfast of porridge and a hot breakfast roll, lunch of soup and sandwiches and an afternoon cream tea, accompanied by complimentary tea, coffee, fruit juice, water and snacks throughout the day. Standard Plus passengers will travel in a declassified First-Class coach offering an enhanced passenger environment, additional space and a free voucher for a hot drink from the Buffet Car. Grand Central has been operating three HST sets since the commencement of passenger operations on 18th December 2007, and these will be returned to Angel Trains for re-deployment in the near future. This charter marks the end of the first chapter of operations and celebrates the 10th birthday of Grand Central. Subject to availability, free Wi-Fi will be available throughout the train. The 125 Group Sales Stand will also be on-board.

For full details of the railtour including planned route and to buy tickets on-line or by post, go to the Branch Line Society website:  www.branchline.uk/current-fixtures.php

Please note that all bookings are being handled by the Branch Line Society, if you have any queries about itinerary or ticketing arrangements then contact the BLS via the website link above, please do not contact Grand Central or 125 Group direct. 125 Group is very grateful to the railtour organisers for the donation of raffle proceeds towards our preservation fund – Thank you!

East Midlands Trains marks ten year charity partnership with Railway Children

The Pickering Paxman charity railtour at Whitby with power car 43082, staff and volunteers from Railway Children, EMT, BLS and 125 Group. Funds raised from the special train have since increased to £30,000! Photo ©Tony Shaw

Ten-year partnership between East Midlands Trains and Railway Children charity celebrated with special train service ‘The Pickering Paxman’ on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR)

Cheque presentation of £30,000 raised by the railtour made at London St Pancras to mark decade-long partnership

A special train on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway was recently chartered by East Midlands Trains to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its partnership with Railway Children, successfully raising £30,000 for the charity.

Staff and volunteers from East Midlands Trains, North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), the 125 Group, Branch Line Society and Railway Children were out in force on Saturday 15 July to ensure the event’s success. The special service ran from Derby via Chesterfield, Sheffield and York on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), from Grosmont to picturesque Pickering and then onward to Whitby. It is believed that this was the first time in Pickering’s history that the iconic High Speed Train has visited the ancient market town.

The route took in stunning scenery across Derbyshire and Yorkshire, where films such as Harry Potter and famous television shows like Heartbeat have been filmed. Once on the NYMR, there was a special rededication naming ceremony to mark the decade-long relationship between East Midlands Trains and Railway Children.

Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “Everyone involved had been looking forward to the big day and the opportunity to raise money for such a good cause. All of the prep work we’d put in with our operations partner Direct Rail Services paid off as the day went like clockwork, and the support from the 125 Group, Railway Children and Branch Line Society was fantastic.”

Presentation of cheque for £30,000 to Railway Children at St.Pancras 1st August with (left to right) Ian Mortimer Branch Line Society Treasurer, Darren Ward East Midlands Trains Head of Drivers, Jake Kelly EMT Managing Director and Anuradha Chandran Head of Corporate Partnerships at Railway Children, not forgetting EMT power car 43046! ©Geoff Plumb

Anuradha Chandran, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Railway Children, said: “Railway Children were delighted to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our partnership and greatly appreciate the incredible support of East Midlands Trains, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the 125 Group and Branch Line Society.“

All funds raised through our valuable partnership with East Midlands Trains and their customers will have a very real impact on the lives of vulnerable children in the UK, India and East Africa. Just £5.95 will allow us to feed a child in India three meals a day for a week and £25 would be enough to take a child off the streets in East Africa and get her home safely.”

Chris Price, General Manager of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, said: “Although we run a wide range of locomotives ourselves, it was an historic occasion to welcome two stunning class 43’s to our heritage line and a unique opportunity for passengers to experience the North York Moors National Park from a special High Speed Train service.”

Pickering HST railtour – Pay on the day Seats Available

43051 at Glaisdale on a railtour in 1989. Photo Copyright Richard Allen

Seats are still available on ‘The Pickering Paxman’ East Midlands Trains  / Branch Line Society HST charity special to Pickering and Whitby on Saturday 15th July. The railtour runs from Derby depart 05:55 / arrive back 21:19, Chesterfield depart 07:06 / (does not stop on return), Sheffield depart 07:21 / arrive back 20:13 and York depart 08:28 / arrive back 19:07.

Featuring unusual lines, plus haulage by shunting locos 08417 + 08899 on the first leg of the railtour from Derby onto Etches Park depot.

Standard class tickets are available to buy on the day from coach E on-board the train. Accompanied under 18s 50% reduction. No unaccompanied under 18s.

Full fare £81, Discount rate for BLS & 125 Group members / Railway Industry Staff / NRM Volunteers & Employees £69.

‘Mini Paxman’ Derby-Etches Park depot-Chesterfield one way only single £29

‘Wensleydale Paxman’ Mini Paxman plus travel to AND from York – handy if you are travelling to the Wensleydale Railway diesel weekend and loco 60044! £39

Join us for this historic first visit of a High Speed Train to Pickering on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, raising funds for the charity Railway Children, fighting for street children at home and abroad.

Rare Class 08 Loco(s) and Etches Park visit added to Pickering Paxman HST Railtour

The first HST visit to the Whitby branch took place on 23 April 1988, the railtour is seen arriving at Battersby on its outward run with 43118 leading. Photo Copyright Richard Allen

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Bound for Craigy – Record Breaking Fundraiser!

Virgin Trains Power Car 43300 leads the ‘Bound for Craigy’ charity railtour around York Avoiding Line past the Regional Operations Centre, Saturday 18th March 2017. ©Robin Patrick

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the iconic High Speed Train, the Branch Line Society marked this milestone by chartering a special train, in conjunction with Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), 125 Group and the Preserved Locomotive Enthusiasts Group. Over £43,000 was raised on the day for the charity Railway Children, which supports children at risk on the streets in the UK, India and East Africa who run away from home or are forced to leave due to poverty, violence or neglect.

Starting from the newly renovated Kings Cross station, the special Inter-City 125 chartered by the Branch Line Society took rail fans from London to Edinburgh and back on March 18, 2017. Ticket-holders travelled in style, enjoying an array of food and drinks as they journeyed along the famous East Coast Main Line, also taking in the Blyth and Tyne route plus very unusual visits to Bounds Green and Craigentinny maintenance depots.

Those on board the nine-coach High Speed Train, included its original designer and godfather of British modernism Sir Kenneth Grange. Not just train designer royalty, Sir Kenneth is also the designer of the celebrated Kenwood Mixer, the 21st century revamp of the Anglepoise lamp, and the classic ‘Venner’ parking meter, not forgetting Kodak’s Instamatic camera. Sir Kenneth is now Hon President of 125 Group, the enthusiasts’ society which aims to preserve one of the iconic trains when they are finally taken out of service.

Sir Kenneth said: “Four decades on, the high speed train remains the backbone of the rail network and has had a major impact on the general life of most people in this country. I think it’s still fair to say that the Inter-City 125 remains one of my proudest achievements and it has given me a great deal of pleasure to share this anniversary with so many other HST fans for such a good cause.”

Kev Adlam, Fixtures Secretary, Branch Line Society, said: “Thank you to everyone from Virgin Trains, 125 Group, PLEG, East Midlands Trains, Network Rail and Rail Gourmet that made Saturday’s special train such an interesting, enjoyable and record breaking railtour.

“At over 800 miles it was the longest distance travelled by a one day railtour in the Society’s 62 year history, and we believe the new UK record holder for a one day charity railtour in terms of funds raised. The atmosphere on board was amazing, and for the total revenue to be over £43,000 is red hot.”

Bound for Craigy Cheque Presentation at Newcastle, (from left): VTEC Edinburgh Driver Ross Clark, VTEC Newcastle Driver Hugh Cowan, Dave Ellis (Corporate Partnerships Manager, Railway Children), Sir Kenneth Grange, David Maidment (Founder of the charity Railway Children), Katie Mason (Events Manager, Railway Children).

Dave Ellis, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Railway Children, said: “The High Speed Train stands as testimony to the excellence of British Rail engineering and the genius of the industrial designer Kenneth Grange who created the aerodynamic front cab and nosecone of the Inter-City 125, giving the train its iconic shape. 

“It has been a fantastic experience to celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the world’s most successful trains. Thanks to the support of the Branch Line Society, Virgin Trains, 125 Group, PLEG, East Midlands Trains, Network Rail, Rail Gourmet and enthusiasts, over £43,000 has been raised to help us in our fight to change the lives of street children, which is a huge achievement.”

Further information available through the Railway Children press office on 07932 725267 or andrew@acolliscommunications.com

About Railway Children
Railway Children is a leading children’s charity fighting for vulnerable children who live alone at risk on the streets, where they suffer abuse and exploitation. In the UK, society often denies their existence, and in other countries the problem is so prevalent that it has become ‘normal’.

Children and young people run away or are forced to leave home where they suffer poverty, violence, abuse and neglect. They find themselves living on the streets because there is nowhere else to go and no one left to turn to. The problems they face on the streets are often even worse than those they endured at home. Every day we fight to change their story.

Railway Children races to reach children as soon as they arrive on the streets and intervene before an abuser can. Our pioneering work in the UK, India and East Africa enables us to get to street children before the streets get to them. 

For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.railwaychildren.org.uk