A massive thankyou to all individuals, members, monthly direct-debit donors, organisations and companies who have worked with and supported 125 Group during the past year! There have been so many highlights of 2018, here are just a few …
Prototype Power Car 41001 and our Mk3 coaches have continued working regular passenger trains at home base Great Central Railway (Nottingham) throughout the year, both planned and at short notice, with our ‘Buffet 125’ catering volunteers serving tasty food and drink on-board. In February our Mk3 coaches were used for public services hauled by Steam Locomotive 60163 Tornado at GCRN. Over Easter we were followed for two days by film crews making the Channel 5 two-part documentary ‘InterCity 125’ which was first broadcast in May and still available for viewing on-line HERE. In May we also helped the railway industry celebrate 40 years of HSTs on the East Coast Mainline.
Our first book ‘125 The Enduring Icon’ was published in June to critical acclaim, copies are still available from our on-line shop HERE. July saw us purchasing Mk3 catering coach 10202 from Arriva to provide maintenance back up to our existing RFM 10206, protecting our catering revenue stream. In addition to ongoing maintenance of 41001 and our fleet of Mk3 coaches, our engineering team returned 10202 to service and have recently been busy restoring TSO 12134 for passenger use planned for the new year.
Launch of our HST Depot Appeal took place in June, raising funds with a target of £100,000 to build our own maintenance facility at Ruddington GCRN for our existing fleet and future HST acquisitions. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. We welcome donations, more information HERE.
During the year we also operated our first private charter ‘Cream Tea Special’. 41001 and our Mk3s are available for private party hire, plus look out for more public cream tea trains in 2019. We have given talks at railway societies across the nation during the year, the 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.
The biggest highlight of 2018 has to be November’s ‘The Screaming Valentas’ railtour operated by our kind friends at East Midlands Trains and Branch Line Society, taking an EMT HST from Derby to Ruddington for 41001 haulage over unusual track at GCRN, with 125 Group Hon President Sir Kenneth Grange on-board as VIP guest, raising over £20,000 for our HST depot appeal. Bringing the year to a close, 41001 helped out the Mid-Norfolk Railway with their ‘Polar Express™’ train ride operations, conveying hundreds of happy families and children to visit Santa Claus at The North Pole.
We look forward to a very exciting 2019 which marks 125 Group’s 25th year, as we continue 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. Happy New Year from everyone at 125 Group!