Welcome to 125 Group !

A warm welcome to 125 Group, especially if you have come here after seeing us on TV! We are the High Speed Train InterCity 125 enthusiast and preservation group, formed in 1994 by a small band to share news and information on the fleet and with the long-term aim of preserving a HST. The iconic train is still going strong today, the mainstay of many InterCity routes. Our objective is to preserve a production HST powered by the original Valenta engine, to this end we have acquired a large number of major components. Through this work and our restoration of 41001 we have developed a good relationship with the railway industry and grown to over 550 members. We are now a registered charity and are delighted to have 125 designer Sir Kenneth Grange as our Honorary President.

125 Group has a proven track record, in 2012 we took the last surviving prototype HST power car 41001 on long-term loan from the National Railway Museum and under the ‘Project Miller’ banner, in honour of the BR Chief Engineer behind the original HST, we restored it from a static exhibit to full working order for use on preserved railways. In recognition we were presented with the Railway Heritage Committee Modern Traction Award. Thanks to our benefactors, volunteers and the kind help of the railway industry, 41001 is now a regular performer at its home base the Great Central Railway (Nottingham). 125 Group is owner of six Mk3 coaches which our engineering team have also restored with four in traffic, three of which are in matching livery to 41001 recreating the look of the Prototype HST. Our team of around twenty-five active volunteers maintain and operate the train, including a buffet bar serving drinks and delicious hot food prepared on-board.

This website has a wealth of information about the HST and up-to-date Power Car Fleet List, plus news about future operating dates for our Prototype HST. We also have a wide range of 125 related items on sale in our On-line Shop, including mugs, DVDs, professionally produced artwork and our excellent forthcoming book ‘125-The Enduring Icon’ available for pre-order.

Join Us! We are delighted to welcome new members who are interested in HSTs and wish to support our cause. Members exclusively receive our quarterly magazine ‘One Two Five’ which is packed with informed articles about current mainline operations and detailed behind the scenes information on our preservation progress. Join now on this website, membership is only £17 for 12 months.

New Hitachi class 800 series units are already in service, with many more planned over the next two years. Some HST withdrawals are very likely in the near future and 125 Group is ready to step in and save at least one power car from the scrapyard. We have launched our ‘Direct Debit’ scheme to help boost our preservation funds, donate from £5 per month and receive free subscription to 125 Group.

40 Years of East Coast HSTs!

Brand new Inter-City 125 sets 254014 and 254012 stabled at Newcastle Heaton Depot, 13th May 1978. © 53A Models of Hull Collection (the late D R Vickers)

40 Years Ago today, 8th May 1978 saw the launch of regular 125mph passenger running on the East Coast Mainline when the new fleet of High Speed Trains was introduced on timetabled services between London Kings Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh. The streamlined Inter-City 125s transformed long distance rail travel, bringing new levels of comfort and a step-change in journey times, the striking new trains were dubbed ‘The Journey Shrinker’.

With more HSTs delivered over the following months, Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Aberdeen were added to the 125 network. ‘The Nosecone Effect’ boosted passenger numbers at the same time as bringing social and economic benefits through improved connectivity, which still gives towns and cities on the route an advantage today. Over the past 40 years the iconic HST has become a firm favourite with railway passengers, staff and enthusiasts and is still going strong on the ECML under the charge of Virgin Trains East Coast, however replacement is planned soon in the form of new class 800 series ‘Azuma’ trains.

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 125s 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!

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!

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!

Meet HST designer Sir Kenneth Grange on-board The Somerset Explorer

Sir Kenneth Grange with his namesake GWR High Speed Train power car 43002 ©125 Group

125 Group is delighted to announce that our Honorary President Sir Kenneth Grange, distinguished industrial designer of the High Speed Train nosecone and Inter-City 125 original livery, will be VIP guest on-board ‘The Somerset Explorer’ Great Western Railway charity railtour on Saturday 13th May, raising funds for Weston-super-Mare Hospice.

In addition to the HST, Sir Kenneth also designed many everyday items including the Kenwood food mixer, Kodak instamatic camera, Wilkinson razor and London taxi, and was recently interviewed on BBC ‘Desert Island Discs’. Sir Kenneth will be available for photographs at Paddington before the railtour departs, and will travel on-board the outward journey, walking through the train meeting passengers, pleased to give autographs and selfies in return for a donation to charity. This is a rare opportunity to meet the man behind the look of the iconic Inter-City 125.

Celebrity power cars 43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ (Inter-City 125 original livery) and 43185 ‘Great Western’ (INTERCITY Swallow livery) with green GWR coaches are planned to work the train (subject to operating conditions on the day). A full buffet service will be available plus the on-board 125 Group Sales Stand.

*** UPDATE  –  ALTERATION TO RAILTOUR TRAINPLAN ***

Due to operational reasons, the High Speed Train can no longer run all the way to Minehead as originally planned, this has resulted in a change to some of the itinerary. The railtour will still run from London Paddington depart 08.36/arrive 18.57, Ealing Broadway 08.44/18.46, Reading 09.14/18.19 and Didcot 09.34/18.02, these times are unchanged.

The special will continue onto the scenic West Somerset Railway and will now terminate at Bishops Lydeard. Passengers have the option of joining a special connecting service to Minehead and back hauled by Diesel Hydraulic class 52 locomotive D1010 Western Campaigner, arriving back into Bishops Lydeard to connect into the return HST. Alternatively, passengers may remain on the HST for an extra return trip from Bishops Lydeard to Taunton and back, tickets will be valid. Other off-train, bus tour options are available. GWR apologise for the late notice change of plan.

Full Details and Tickets still available – See GWR Eventbrite Website HERE

Questions about Existing or New Bookings – Contact the Organiser HERE

Special Offer for 125 Group Members plus one accompanying person, £25.50 discount off the adult standard class fare giving a price of £41.00. Enter the promotional code of HST_Group_41 when booking. Note: This cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, is valid for the HST all day option only, and a current 125 Group membership card must be presented on-board to validate this special offer.