Ride 41001 and 47828 at GCRN This Weekend

Prototype High Speed Train Power Car 41001 and 125 Group’s matching Mk3 coaches will be working passenger trains at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) this weekend Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th February. The preserved HST will operate top ‘n’ tail with 41001 at the south end and Brush Type 4 locomotive 47828 in INTERCITY Swallow livery at the north end. Services depart from Ruddington station at 1100, 1300 and 1500 running to Loughborough Viaduct and back. Tickets available to buy 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 43s, 73s, 92s and 319s often visible. Ruddington station (sat-nav postcode NG11 6JS) is the base for GCR(N) with many heritage transport exhibits. Car parking and bus links to Nottingham and Loughborough are available, see www.gcrn.co.uk for further information.

On all services ‘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. We hope you can join us!

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!

Passenger debut for Mk3 Coach 12087

125 Group Mk3 TSO 12087 arrived at Ruddington GCR(N) having just worked its first passenger train in preservation, the 1800 ‘Firework Spectacular Special’ from Rushcliffe Halt, 04/11/2017. © James Trebinski

125 Group is delighted to announce successful entry to passenger service of Mk3 coach Tourist Standard Open (TSO) 12087, which our volunteers have restored to working order in just over two months since it arrived at Great Central Railway (Nottingham).

12087 ran as part of the consist for the Guy Fawkes weekend GCR(N) Firework Spectacular services on Saturday 4th November, bringing local folk from Rushcliffe Halt to Ruddington for the evening firework display and taking them home again after the event. Passengers enjoyed the deep cleaned saloon, working air-conditioning / heating and air-powered internal doors, not to mention the silky smooth ride of the Mk3!

Restoration has also included roof repairs, replacement brake distributor, electrical work including a new set of batteries, air and electrical systems testing, new buckeye coupler and new vestibule carpets. Efforts will now turn to vehicles 12065 and 12134, which were purchased at the same time, and like 12087, had previously been in storage for many years.

Thankyou to everyone who has recently bought merchandise from our on-line shop, joined 125 Group, or signed up to our Direct Debit regular donations scheme. All of these contributions are greatfully received and go towards our restoration efforts and long term aim of production HST preservation.