The Screaming Valentas – Saturday 17th November 2018

A special, low cost railtour with a difference as 125 Group partners with the Branch Line Society and East Midlands Trains (EMT) to take a newly refurbished EMT (ex-Grand Central) six coach HST set from Derby to the Great Central Railway (Nottingham), using the connection off the mainline at Loughborough South Jn.  Traction is expected to be two EMT buffer fitted powercars including 43423 ‘VALENTA 1972-2010’ as far as Ruddington, where one EMT power car will be removed in favour of 125 Group operated prototype powercar, 41001.

First Class passengers will benefit from inclusive hot drinks and light snacks and free Wi-Fi, whilst a range of drinks and light refreshments will be available to purchase from the Buffet Car, including a choice of real ales.  The charter will be raising funds for 125 Group in support of their recently launched HST Depot Appeal.  See www.125group.org.uk for details.  A 125 Group and Branch Line Society sales stand will be provided, with iconic industrial designer Sir Kenneth Grange on hand to autograph your souvenirs and memorabilia.  As usual, a charity raffle will take place with some fantastic prizes on offer.

Timings and routing are provisional and now submitted to Network Rail for validation:

Derby P6 (pick up 08.29) – Chaddesden Sidings (carriage roads 1, 3 or 4 requested) (reverse) – Pilot Line – Derby P7/service platform – Pilot Line – Loughborough South Jn (reverse) – Rushcliffe Up Platform – 50 Steps (reverse) – Ruddington Fields P1

Whilst at GCR(N) a number of unusual moves are planned to include Ruddington Relief Road, Rushcliffe Up Loop in full including use of Rushcliffe bay platform, both sides of 50 Steps Loop and both main platforms at Rushcliffe Halt.

Ruddington Fields P1 – 28 Points (reverse) – Ruddington Fields P2 (reverse) – 50 Steps (reverse) – Loughborough South Jn – Leicester Up & Dn Slow – Knighton Jn (reverse) – Leicester P1 (set down time:TBC) – Up & Dn Goods (Humberstone Road) – Toton High Level Goods – Ilkeston Jn (reverse) – Toton Centre – Derby P5 (set down 18.38)

FARES:

Standard Class  £41.01

First Class  £62.00

Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult and benefit from a £20.00 reduction in all fares.

TO BUY TICKETS:

All ticket bookings are being handled by the Branch Line Society. To secure your place, head over to their website here: https://www.branchline.uk/current-fixtures.php

Please do not contact East Midlands Trains directly about this railtour, they are not selling tickets. Please direct all enquiries to the Branch Line Society.

We look forward to welcoming you on-board. Thank you for your support!

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!

Grand Central Railtour Update

Grand Central HST with 43123 at Hartlepool, 08/04/2008. ©125 Group

Tickets are still available in Standard Class for ‘The Grand Farewell’ on Sunday 17th December, a very special HST railtour over unusual routes, marking the end of Inter-City 125 operation by Grand Central.

Important Update from organisers the Branch Line Society. As planning has progressed we have identified two possession issues that clash with the route as previously advertised. It will not be possible to include Norton East Jn – Ferryhill South Jn via Stillington or Rotherham Masborough to Beighton Jn. In response to this, and based on customer requests, we are in the advanced stages of adding Sheffield Down Station Siding to the specification, thanks to the kind support of Network Rail and Northern. Our revised bid also protects the Staveley Goods at Barrow Hill, with the intention being to extend the move through to Barrow Hill South Jn. A possession on the Durham Coast also means that we are now well progressed in looking to add Ryhope Grange (No1 Siding) to the itinerary on the outward trip. Further updates will be provided in due course, but we are sure that both of these additions will prove attractive for track enthusiasts!

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. We look forward to seeing you on-board!

‘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.”