‘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.

Happy 41st Birthday HST!

High Speed Train power car W43014 leads the 13.00 Paddington to Swansea Inter-City 125 service into Reading station, 4th Dec 1976. © Richard Clayton

41 Years Ago today, 4th October 1976 saw the launch of regular 125mph passenger running in the UK when the 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 41 years the iconic HST has become a firm favourite with railway passengers, staff and enthusiasts however big changes are now afoot with the impending introduction of new generation trains to Great Western and East Coast Main Lines.

125 Group is working hard raising funds to achieve our goal of preserving a production HST powered by the original Valenta type engine. Established in 1994 we are now a registered charity with a proven track record, having restored prototype 41001 from static museum exhibit to working order, Sir Kenneth Grange is our Hon President. If you are interested in HSTs then please support our cause by joining us, members receive our exclusive quarterly magazine with detailed behind the scenes information on our preservation activities plus informed articles on the changing HST scene. Membership is £17 for 12 months or sign up to our direct-debit scheme for as little as £5 per month, this really helps our preservation efforts and includes free membership. JOIN HERE!

Old Oak Common Open Day Success

Prototype HST power car 41001 in the Heavy Maintenance Facility at Old Oak Common Open Day, with no.1 bogie removed and positioned alongside. ©125 Group

Old Oak Common public open day on 2nd September was a fantastic success with crowds of visitors enjoying the huge collection of diesel and steam motive power on show. Our prototype HST was displayed in the Heavy Maintenance Facility on lifting jacks with number 1 bogie removed. The 125 Group team were on hand to explain the history and operation of 41001, it is always a pleasure for our volunteers to share the story of this unique power car. Other highlights included cab visits to INTERCITY liveried 43185 and the naming of 43093 ‘Old Oak Common HST Depot 1976-2018’ with dramatic bodyside design featuring ‘Legends of the Great Western’, plus the sun shone for most of the day!

A massive thankyou to the GWR organising team and many staff who worked so hard to make this excellent event such a success. Thanks also to everyone who bought tickets for the open day, raising funds for depot’s chosen charity Place2Be which provides mental health support for children. Thank you to all who came along to the 125 Group Sales Stand and purchased merchandise and joined up as new members.

GWR power car 43093 named ‘Old Oak Common HST Depot 1976-2018’ at the open day, complete with dramatic bodyside graphic design. ©125 Group

The Prototype Power Car will remain at Old Oak Common for the time being, the depot is hosting some inspection work, for which we are most grateful to Great Western Railway. 125 Group continues raising funds not only to maintain 41001 and our Mk3 coaches but also to reach our goal of preserving a Production Inter-City 125. If you are interested in HSTs then please support our cause by joining us, members receive our exclusive quarterly magazine with detailed behind the scenes information on our preservation activities plus informed articles on the changing HST scene, a full sample issue can be viewed on our website HERE. Membership is only £17 for 12 months or sign up to our direct-debit scheme for as little as £5 per month and receive free membership. JOIN HERE!

Visit 125 Group Sales Stand at Old Oak Common

Prototype Power Car 41001 is one of the star exhibits at Old Oak Common open day. During 1975 the Prototype HST was based at the depot while on Western Region passenger service trials, seen here at Didcot E Jn on a Weston-Super-Mare to Paddington service 2nd July 1975. ©Robin Patrick

New Exclusive HST World Speed Record 30th Anniversary Artwork and Mugs

Be sure to visit the 125 Group Sales Stand at Old Oak Common open day where we have a wide range of High Speed Train merchandise available including our NEW EXCLUSIVE World Speed Record HST Artwork and Mugs celebrating the 30th Anniversary of power cars 43102 and 43159 reaching 148.5mph on 1st November 1987, setting the world speed record for diesel traction which still stands today. Produced for us by Stuart Black, the high quality artwork and mug are priced at £9 each item. Don’t miss out, come and see us on stand O0 (that’s Oscar – Zero in phonetic alphabet!)

Open Day Tickets Still Available

Tickets are still available on-line for Great Western Railway Old Oak Common public open day Saturday 2nd September 2017, celebrating over 111 years of train maintenance and servicing at this West London depot. Prototype High Speed Train power car 41001 is one of the star exhibits plus a unique collection of steam, diesel and electric locomotives, sales stands, children’s activities, fun fair, entertainers plus locomotive naming ceremonies. This will be a very special event and the weather forecast is sun sun sun (at the moment!) Full information about the open day, including how to get there and to buy tickets on-line, all on the event website www.oocopenday.com