Okehampton-Stratford HST Railtour Sat 21st April

Great Western power cars 43138 and 43134 on previous railtour duty at Stratford-upon-Avon, 27th March 1999. © 125 Group

This Saturday 21st April a special High Speed Train railtour will run from Okehampton through to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, exceedingly rare for a HST! The special ‘Royal Oke’ charter will be operated using a Great Western Railway Inter-City 125, calling points are Okehampton Town (depart 0710, arrive back 2046), Crediton (0747/2005), Exeter St.Davids (0812/1947), Oxford (1026/1720) and Stratford-upon-Avon (arrive 1132, depart 1613). The railtour is booked to run via the Down and Up Main through lines at Leamington Spa. Tickets are still available, including a special reduced fare of £20 from Oxford.

The railtour is operated by OkeRAIL, campaigning for the reintroduction of passenger trains between Okehampton and Exeter.
More information is available on the OkeRAIL website here:  https://okerail.2day.uk/
To book tickets from stations Okehampton Town, Crediton and Exeter St.Davids click here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/486973
To book tickets from Oxford only click here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/491432
Tickets are sold by the railtour organiser OkeRAIL only.

If you have any questions about the railtour please contact OkeRAIL via their website / facebook / twitter.
Please do not contact 125 Group or Great Western Railway with queries about this railtour.

HST and ‘Grid’ action Easter Saturday

Join us on Easter Saturday 31st March for a day of passenger services at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) with the Prototype High Speed Train power car working ‘top and tail’ with mighty class 56 ‘Grid’ freight locomotive 56097. Trains depart from Ruddington station (sat-nav postcode NG11 6JS) at 1030, 1215, 1400 and 1545. Shelter from the holiday weather inside our comfortable Mk3 coaches, with Buffet 125 serving hot drinks and food, plus bottled wine and ale also available.

Our historic Prototype HST power car 41001 was the forerunner of the hugely successful Inter-City 125 fleet which is still running nationwide today. At 125 Group we are always interested to hear passengers’ and memories of the High Speed Train, maybe bring along that old item of classic 125 memorabelia and tell us your story. We hope you can join us for a trip over the scenic former Great Central mainline, tickets available to buy on-board the train on the day or in advance from www.gcrn.co.uk which has further information.

Ride 41001 and 47828 at GCRN Sat 24th & Sun 25th February

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!