Bound for Craigy – Record Breaking Fundraiser!

Virgin Trains Power Car 43300 leads the ‘Bound for Craigy’ charity railtour around York Avoiding Line past the Regional Operations Centre, Saturday 18th March 2017. ©Robin Patrick

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the iconic High Speed Train, the Branch Line Society marked this milestone by chartering a special train, in conjunction with Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), 125 Group and the Preserved Locomotive Enthusiasts Group. Over £43,000 was raised on the day for the charity Railway Children, which supports children at risk on the streets in the UK, India and East Africa who run away from home or are forced to leave due to poverty, violence or neglect.

Starting from the newly renovated Kings Cross station, the special Inter-City 125 chartered by the Branch Line Society took rail fans from London to Edinburgh and back on March 18, 2017. Ticket-holders travelled in style, enjoying an array of food and drinks as they journeyed along the famous East Coast Main Line, also taking in the Blyth and Tyne route plus very unusual visits to Bounds Green and Craigentinny maintenance depots.

Those on board the nine-coach High Speed Train, included its original designer and godfather of British modernism Sir Kenneth Grange. Not just train designer royalty, Sir Kenneth is also the designer of the celebrated Kenwood Mixer, the 21st century revamp of the Anglepoise lamp, and the classic ‘Venner’ parking meter, not forgetting Kodak’s Instamatic camera. Sir Kenneth is now Hon President of 125 Group, the enthusiasts’ society which aims to preserve one of the iconic trains when they are finally taken out of service.

Sir Kenneth said: “Four decades on, the high speed train remains the backbone of the rail network and has had a major impact on the general life of most people in this country. I think it’s still fair to say that the Inter-City 125 remains one of my proudest achievements and it has given me a great deal of pleasure to share this anniversary with so many other HST fans for such a good cause.”

Kev Adlam, Fixtures Secretary, Branch Line Society, said: “Thank you to everyone from Virgin Trains, 125 Group, PLEG, East Midlands Trains, Network Rail and Rail Gourmet that made Saturday’s special train such an interesting, enjoyable and record breaking railtour.

“At over 800 miles it was the longest distance travelled by a one day railtour in the Society’s 62 year history, and we believe the new UK record holder for a one day charity railtour in terms of funds raised. The atmosphere on board was amazing, and for the total revenue to be over £43,000 is red hot.”

Bound for Craigy Cheque Presentation at Newcastle, (from left): VTEC Edinburgh Driver Ross Clark, VTEC Newcastle Driver Hugh Cowan, Dave Ellis (Corporate Partnerships Manager, Railway Children), Sir Kenneth Grange, David Maidment (Founder of the charity Railway Children), Katie Mason (Events Manager, Railway Children).

Dave Ellis, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Railway Children, said: “The High Speed Train stands as testimony to the excellence of British Rail engineering and the genius of the industrial designer Kenneth Grange who created the aerodynamic front cab and nosecone of the Inter-City 125, giving the train its iconic shape. 

“It has been a fantastic experience to celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the world’s most successful trains. Thanks to the support of the Branch Line Society, Virgin Trains, 125 Group, PLEG, East Midlands Trains, Network Rail, Rail Gourmet and enthusiasts, over £43,000 has been raised to help us in our fight to change the lives of street children, which is a huge achievement.”

Further information available through the Railway Children press office on 07932 725267 or andrew@acolliscommunications.com

About Railway Children
Railway Children is a leading children’s charity fighting for vulnerable children who live alone at risk on the streets, where they suffer abuse and exploitation. In the UK, society often denies their existence, and in other countries the problem is so prevalent that it has become ‘normal’.

Children and young people run away or are forced to leave home where they suffer poverty, violence, abuse and neglect. They find themselves living on the streets because there is nowhere else to go and no one left to turn to. The problems they face on the streets are often even worse than those they endured at home. Every day we fight to change their story.

Railway Children races to reach children as soon as they arrive on the streets and intervene before an abuser can. Our pioneering work in the UK, India and East Africa enables us to get to street children before the streets get to them. 

For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.railwaychildren.org.uk

Sir Kenneth on a Desert Island

Power Car 43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ leads GWR service 1A83 1000 Penzance-Paddington along the sea wall at Teignmouth, 21st December 2016. © D.Langham

125 Group Honorary President Sir Kenneth Grange is the guest on BBC Radio 4 ‘Desert Island Discs’ programme, at 11:15am on New Years Day. Sir Kenneth is of course eminent industrial designer of many things including the nosecones of both Prototype and Production High Speed Trains. The show will also be repeated during the week and should be available on the BBC iPlayer here www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b086l4zd

2016 has been a fantastic year for the HST and 125 Group, with many great events celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Inter-City 125, including St.Philips Marsh depot open day in May and HSTs@40 at Great Central Railway (Nottingham) in November, plus 41001’s many visits around the UK. Thanks to all of the railway industry folk and preservation volunteers who have toiled to organise the events and to everyone who has attended, raising funds for some excellent causes.

2017 promises to be an interesting year for the High Speed Train, with the first new replacement Hitachi units scheduled for introduction. If you are interested in HSTs and want to support our preservation cause then why not join 125 Group? Members receive our quarterly magazine ‘One Two Five’, packed with information and informed comment on mainline fleet developments plus the latest exciting news on our Prototype power car 41001. Join here: www.125group.org.uk/group-membership

Happy New Year from all at 125 Group!

Happy 40th Birthday HST!

Power car 43002 leads HST 253 001 at Sydney Gardens, Bath Spa in 1976. ©Richard Clayton

40 Years Ago today, 4th October 1976 saw the launch of regular 125mph passenger running in the UK when the then 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 40 years the iconic HST has become a firm favourite with railway passengers, staff and enthusiasts and is still going strong!

To celebrate this important anniversary, with the support of the railway industry, 125 Group has sponsored the fitment of ‘40 YEARS’ plaques to power cars across the different fleets of HSTs which still operate front-line services countrywide today. A pair of the cast metal plaques has already been fitted to Grand Central’s power car number 43423, Cross Country’s 43321 and Network Rail’s 43013, soon to be joined by Virgin Trains East Coast and East Midlands Trains power cars.

Manufactured by Newton Replicas, the plaques are being fitted to power cars by depot staff at Heaton, Craigentinny and Neville Hill, with the support of Porterbrook Leasing and Angel Trains. At such time as they come to be removed, the plaques will return to 125 Group.

Grand Central CSA Andy Rose and HST Designer Sir Kenneth Grange with 42423 and 40 YEARS plaque ©125 Group

125 Group Chairman Gary Heelas said, “125 Group is pleased to join the railway industry in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the HST. We are grateful to all of the companies and staff involved who have enabled us to display our ‘40 YEARS’ plaques on their iconic trains, which will ultimately support our long term objective of preserving a production Inter-City 125 fitted with original Paxman Valenta engine.”

125 Group’s own preserved Mk3 catering vehicle RFM 10206 also carries an internally mounted ‘40 YEARS’ plaque. This former HST kitchen car TRUK 40507 now provides tasty hot food to travellers behind preserved prototype HST power car 41001 at Great Central Railway (Nottingham).

The ’40 YEARS’ plaque was first produced by graphic designer Paul Gentleman of Great Western Railway and is already mounted on pioneer production power car 43002 which was unveiled repainted in original Inter-City 125 livery at St.Philips Marsh depot open day in May this year. This power car was named ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ at the same event after the designer of the HST’s iconic nosecone and now 125 Group Honorary President, 125 Group also sponsored these nameplates. Special thanks to GWR for allowing 125 Group to use their design and for playing a leading role in supporting HST40 celebrations this year. #HST40

Buy your own ’40 YEARS’ enamel pin badge and official HST40 merchandise from our on-line shop HERE.

HST 40th Celebrations at York NRM

43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ at York NRM ©125 Group

Today’s High Speed Train 40th Anniversary public event at York National Railway Museum saw hundreds of enthusiasts celebrate the birthday of the most successful British train ever – the Inter-City 125. Great Western Railway’s specially reliveried power cars 43002 in original ‘flying banana’ blue and yellow, and 43185 wearing ‘INTERCITY Swallow’ were the traction star attractions. Nose-cone designer and 125 Group Hon President Sir Kenneth Grange was VIP guest, in his speech thanking the engineers who made possible this iconic train. The ceremonial focus of this memorable day was the handover of a designated mounted ’40 YEARS’ plaque from GWR to the NRM. 125 Group is very pleased to have assisted with planning and was delighted to take part. Thank you to Great Western Railway for supporting such a successful day, thanks also to the National Railway Museum for hosting, and to everyone who came along to join in the party!

Stylish ’40 YEARS’ pin badges of the same design as worn by 43002 and friends, plus other official HST40 merchandise is available to buy from the 125 Group website shop HERE with all proceeds going towards our preservation efforts.

Sir Kenneth Grange signs his design! Filming in progress for BBC Arts at York NRM. ©125 Group

Sir Kenneth Grange heading for York NRM

Sir Kenneth Grange with 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, will be VIP guest at a special public ceremony at York National Railway Museum on Sunday 2nd October to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the introduction of the Inter-City 125 High Speed Train on British Rail back in 1976.

Sir Kenneth will be joined by his namesake original Inter-City 125 liveried power car 43002 plus on show for the first time will be 43185 unveiled in INTERCITY Swallow livery. The power cars will be on display at the NRM for the whole day, the celebration event will commence at 12:30pm until 3pm, where the public will be able to learn about the history of the HST and have a chance to hear first-hand Sir Kenneth’s experiences when designing what is widely considered the most successful British train ever. Entry to York NRM is free, more details HERE.

125 Group is very pleased to contribute to this year’s HST40 events, including assisting GWR with livery diagrams for both power cars, sponsoring the 43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ nameplates and sourcing the pair of original HST steel swallows which have been fitted to 43185, look out for more exciting HST40 news over the weekend. Official HST40 merchandise including stylish ’40YEARS’ badges, as worn by 43002 and friends, are available to buy on the 125 Group website HERE, with all proceeds going towards our preservation efforts.

43185 at Paddington 16th June 1995 ©125 Group

Great Western Railway’s 43002 and 43185 will be making the special trip from the West Country to York for the event. They are expected to run back to back, under their own power, departing from Plymouth Laira depot early on Friday with schedule 0242 Laira to York NRM via Exeter St.Davids, Bridgwater, Bristol Temple Meads 05/19, Cheltenham Spa 06/18, Bromsgrove, Bordesley Jn, Tamworth, Derby 0858-0929, Chesterfield, Beighton Jn, Swinton 10/52, Pontefract Baghill, Milford 1121-1155, York station 12/20, arriving at York NRM at 1233. Full live schedule courtesy of Realtime Trains here: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/R41173/2016/09/30/advanced

The power cars are booked to return from York back to GWR territory departing Sunday evening running with schedule 2000 York NRM to Bristol St.Philips Marsh depot, however this transit is expected to run very early. http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/R41180/2016/10/02/advanced