Mid-Norfolk Railway first visit for Prototype HST

The Mid-Norfolk Railway and 125 Group are proud to announce the first away heritage railway visit of restored Prototype High Speed Train power car 41001 will be to the Dereham to Wymondham line for the Spring Diesel Gala in early April 2016.

41001 hauling 125 Group’s Mk3s coaches in 2015 prior to repaint into Prototype HST Livery ©125 Group

With its distinctive original type Paxman Valenta engine, 41001 will visit the MNR with 125 Group’s three matching Mk3 coaches, representative of the type that it would have operated with in the 1970s, First Class 11074, Standard Class 12092, and Restaurant-Buffet car 10206. The coaches are currently being re-liveried in the original prototype blue and light grey colours and the visit to the Mid-Norfolk Railway will be the first opportunity to ride on the Prototype High Speed Train away from its home base at the Great Central Railway (Nottingham). 125 Group are the custodians of 41001 which is part of the National Collection.

Prototype HST at White Waltham near Maidenhead September 1975 ©Dave Hird

The diesel gala itself will run from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd April with an intensive service operating on the 12 mile line between Dereham and Wymondham. There will be other visiting locomotives which will be announced nearer to the event including representatives from other heritage railways and mainline operators.

For event information and how to book tickets, see the MNR website: www.mnr.org.uk/category/events

The story of how 125 Group restored 41001 under ‘Project Miller’ can be found on our website: www.125group.org.uk

Prototype HST Livery for 125 Group MkIIIs

125 Group is very pleased to announce that our three Mk3 passenger coaches are being painted into British Rail Prototype High Speed Train blue and grey livery to match Power Car 41001.

This professional work is being carried out for us by Wabtec Rail Scotland at Kilmarnock. First Class coach 11074, Second Class 12092 and Restaurant-Buffet 10206 are all being stripped down, prepared and repainted using state-of-the art equipment, to the same high standard as vehicles in use with mainline Train Operating Companies. As well as making the coaches look fantastic, this will provide good protection from the elements for many years in preservation, where we are not always blessed with the luxuries of covered storage space!

The Mk3s were formerly in faded Virgin and ‘one’ liveries from their previous lives as loco-hauled vehicles on the West Coast and Great Eastern mainlines. The coaches were purchased by 125 Group in 2015 to run with last remaining Prototype HST Power Car 41001 which is part of the National Collection and restored to working order by us under the ‘Project Miller’ banner.

Prototype HST at Didcot 1975 ©Dave Hird

41001 and its set of Mk3 coaches are based on the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) and will be making their first public runs together in matching livery from Ruddington on Saturday 26th March, recreating the look of the historic Prototype HST back in the 1970s, complete with authentic sound effects from the power car’s screaming Paxman Valenta engine. The train will be in regular use at GCR(N) during the coming year plus we also have exciting plans to visit some other preserved railways during 2016, look out for announcements very soon!

125 Group would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Wabtec Rail Scotland team at Kilmarnock for their excellent work and support.



125 Group MkIIIs at Kilmarnock for Repaint

125 Group’s 12092, 10206 & 11074 at Preston on 5Z56 ©Andy Wade

125 Group’s three MkIII coaches, FO 11074, RFM 10206 and TSO 12092 made a trouble-free journey yesterday from Ruddington on the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) to Kilmarnock. The movement ran as planned with prototype power car 41001 hauling the coaches from Ruddington to Rushcliffe Halt, from where 56301 and 56098 took over for the run to Scotland, under the charge of Rail Operations Group. The coaches are now safely delivered to Wabtec Rail Scotland’s works where they will be spending the next few weeks, including a visit to the paint-shop. The train operated under schedule 5Z56 09+08 Hotchley Hill to Kilmarnock, running as booked via Leicester, Nuneaton, WCML, Carlisle and Dumfries. Sincere thanks to our friends at GCR(N) and ROG for ensuring the movement went smoothly and to Wabtec Rail Scotland for having us at Kilmarnock.

41001 hands over the Mk3s to 56301 & 56098 at Rushcliffe Halt ©125 Group

The MkIIIs are owned by 125 Group and we are looking forward their return to GCRN in the New Year when they will look very different! To find out more, join up as a member of 125 Group and receive our members’ only magazine ‘One Two Five’, packed full of detailed information on our preservation activities and news on the mainline HST fleets. Membership fees and donations all help towards our aim of preserving a production Inter-City 125 High Speed Train. www.125group.org.uk

125 Group’s 11074, 10206 & 12092 at Preston on 5Z56 ©Andy Wade

MkIII Holiday to Scotland

125 Group is proud owner of three MkIII coaches, FO 11074, RFM 10206 and TSO 12092, based at Ruddington on the Great Central Railway (Nottingham). Tomorrow the vehicles will be making the journey north to spend Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland.

41001 coupled to 12092 at Ruddington GCR(N) ©125 Group

All being well, they will set off from Ruddington at 0700 (Fri 11th Dec 2015) hauled by Prototype HST power car 41001 as far as Rushcliffe Halt. After some shunting, the vehicles will depart in the charge of Rail Operations Group, hauled by locomotives 56098 and 56301, running via Leicester, Nuneaton and the West Coast Mainline to Carlisle and through to Kilmarnock.

Since acquiring 11074, 10206 and 12092 in March this year, 125 Group volunteers have toiled to restore the coaches to full working order. All electrical systems have been reinstated, including new batteries, replacement motor alternator, circuit and relay overhaul and replacement. Air-conditioning systems have also been brought back to life plus the RFM kitchen has been overhauled for culinary use and of course all coaches have received a deep clean. The vehicles normally operate with our Prototype HST Power Car 41001 on GCR(N).

For more information on our MkIIIs and 41001, check out the 125 Group website. Join us as a member and help us raise funds to preserve a production Inter-City 125 High Speed Train. www.125group.org.uk

39 Years of Inter-City 125 – Meet the Designer!

Today marks 39 years since the start of HST squadron service on the Western Region. The new timetable of 4th October 1976 introduced regular 125mph running for the first time on British Rail, with HSTs slashing journey times offered by the existing locomotive-hauled trains.

Inter-City 125 Power Car 43014 at Paddington ©John Zabernik

Back in the 1970s, Industrial Designer Sir Kenneth Grange produced the styling of the Inter-City 125 and you can meet the man responsible for the look of this iconic train, this coming Saturday 10th October on-board the ‘First Devon and Exeter Explorer’ HST Special from London Paddington. This charity railtour in aid of First Devon and Exeter Prostate Cancer Fund will be taking a GWR HST into unusual territory, through to Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway and the freight branch to Heathfield.

Sir Kenneth, 86, who is Honorary President of 125 Group, will be available for a chat and to sign autographs in return for a donation to this worthy cause. The 125 Group sales stand will also be on-board with a range of HST related merchandise. Our friends at the Branch Line Society are handling bookings for the railtour, ‘pay on the day’ fares will be available, for full details see their website www.branchline.org.uk/events.php