Prototype HST February Running

Prototype HST power car 41001’s Paxman Valenta engine is started in the yard at Ruddington GCR(N). ©125 Group

Prototype High Speed Train Power Car 41001 and 125 Group’s matching Mk3 coaches will be working passenger trains at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) on half-term weekends Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th also Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th February. Services depart from Ruddington station at 1100, 1300 and 1500 running to Loughborough Viaduct and back. The preserved HST will operate top ‘n’ tail with 41001 at the south end and a GCR(N) locomotive at the north end. Our recently restored Mk3 coach TSO 12087 will also be part of the train. Tickets available to buy on-board, 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 Viaduct, which has no station but affords a great view over the Midland Mainline and looks down into Brush Locomotive Works, with class 73s, 92s and 319s often visible. Ruddington station (sat-nav postcode NG11 6JS) is the base for GCR(N) with many heritage transport exhibits, see www.gcrn.co.uk 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 our warm comfortable Mk3 coaches, powered by 41001 and its original screaming Paxman Valenta engine!

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!

Festive HST Valenta Action

Prototype HST Power Car 41001 on the south end of the coaches at Ruddington, Great Central Railway (Nottingham). © 125 Group

Prototype High Speed Train Power Car 41001 and 125 Group’s Mk3 coaches will be working a full day of passenger services at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) on Thursday 28th December, the perfect antidote to Xmas turkey sandwiches and sales overload!

Trains run from GCR(N)’s main station at Ruddington with car parking available, postcode NG11 6JS. The ‘Yellow Timetable’ will be in operation with departures at 1030, 1215, 1400 and 1545.  Tickets can be purchased on-line or on-board the train, for more information see the GCR(N) website www.gcrn.co.uk. ‘Buffet 125’ will be open all day on the train, serving hot snacks, hot and cold drinks plus alcoholic beverages including wine and bottled ale, the 125 Group Sales Stand will also be on-board.

Power Car 41001 has recently been turned and is now on the south end of the coaches (buffer stops end at Ruddington), a GCR(N) locomotive will be on the north end of the set working in top and tail mode. Come and experience southbound Valenta engine thrash on the former Great Central Mainline – we hope you can join us!

‘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!

Record Breaker HST Artwork Print & Mug

The Inter-City 125 High Speed Train is holder of the World Speed Record for Rail Diesel Traction, 148.5mph set by power cars 43102 and 43159 between Northallerton and York during test running on 1st November 1987. To mark the 30th Anniversary of this historic achievement, we have a fantastic artwork print and matching mug available for purchase, featuring the two record breaking power cars in the liveries they carried on the day: 43102 in the then new ‘INTERCITY Swallow’ livery, and 43159 painted in ‘Executive’ livery.

Artwork Print – 45cm by 32cm – £12.00          Matching Mug – Dishwasher safe – £11.50

Produced for us by Stuart Black, these high quality items are available from the 125 Group on-line shop HERE. Prices include postage and packing. 125 Group is raising funds to secure a Production HST, which we will power with the original Paxman Valenta type engine, all profits from our on-line shop go towards our preservation efforts.