The InterCity 125 was introduced into passenger service in 1976 and became an instant success, popular with passengers and staff alike. As the years went by more and more enthusiasts were won over by the charms of the mighty InterCity 125, the distinctive and iconic nose-cone shape visually separated the train from anything that had come before it whilst its graceful power and world-beating speed marked the train out as something rather special.
As a modern, reliable train it failed to attract much interest from the mainstream railway press so in 1994 125 Group was created to bring together the ever increasing enthusiast interest in the UK’s most successful train. Initially we concentrated on reporting news and events surrounding the trains through our then bi-monthly magazine. As the only group dedicated to the type we were naturally at the forefront of reporting on the many and varied changes that were taking place as new engines were introduced and the fleet gained a wide range of new liveries and internal refurbishments.
By the time fleet-wide “repower” schemes were seeing the original Paxman Valenta RP200L engines and Marston Excelsior cooler groups removed from the power cars between 2006 and 2008 125 Group had grown sufficiently to secure a sizeable number of major components. This placed 125 Group in a unique position and was a major step towards our ultimate goal of returning a power car to its original configuration.
Our journey into preservation began in 2011 when 125 Group became the custodians of 41001, the surviving prototype High Speed Diesel Train (HSDT) power car. This power car belongs to the National Railway Museum based in York and three years of hard work saw our volunteers return this power car to operational condition after three decades spent as a static museum exhibit. 2014 saw Sir Kenneth Grange, designer of the distinctive power car cab shape, become 125 Group’s Honorary President. In 2015 125 Group began purchasing other vehicles for preservation, click on ‘Our Fleet’ to read about the vehicles we operate from our base at the Great Central Railway (Nottingham). 41001 returned to the NRM at the end of our loan agreement in November 2019.
Our quarterly group magazine ‘One Two Five’ keeps members informed about the latest happenings with our own vehicles as well as containing news, features, information and photographs from the remaining InterCity 125’s left in service. Interest in the type has grown enormously in recent years and our members are now part of one of the largest railway preservation groups in existence. We are now a registered charity run by a board of directors and supported by a management committee, all of whom are volunteers.