Project Miller, named after the original designer of the train Terry Miller has seen the 125 Group take prototype HST Power Car 41001 on long term loan from the National Railway Museum for restoration and return to working order. Initial work on the restoration of 41001 took place with thanks to our friends at East Midlands Trains at their Neville Hill Depot in Leeds.
In September 2013, 41001 moved to Great Central Railway (Nottingham) based at its Ruddington depot where the completion of the vehicles restoration and commissioning into service took place. The majority of the work had been completed at Neville Hill (making use of their excellent facilities) however at Ruddington some smaller work took place including significant work to the power systems, electronic systems and braking systems to ensure safe and reliable operation.
In Summer 2014 41001 visited Swanage Railway & Didcot Railway Centre as a static exhibit for their diesel galas. To get to these locations 41001 had the opportunity to stretch its legs on the mainline being hauled over a variety of routes.
Following these visits 41001 returned home and on 31st May 2014 made history as the powercar moved the power handle into Notch 1 and moved under its own power for the first time in over 30 years! Following this 41001 made some successful test runs up and down the GCRN to Loughborough with 56097 on the rear.
41001 then took a trip to Derby Etches Park depot for their Derby 175 open day, celebrating 175 years of railways in the city. This saw 41001 paired up with our old favourite 43048 on display.
15th November 2014 then saw another landmark day for us as our friends at East Midlands Trains provided a shortened HST set which ran from Derby – Ruddington. Upon arrival at Ruddington 41001 was placed onto the set, partnering 43054 and the duo performed a return run to Loughborough (High Level) and back before 41001 was removed and the East Midlands Trains set returned to Derby. This was the first time 41001 carried fare paying passengers in preservation.
Following this 41001 operated its first running weekend, officially launching the powercar into its preserved life! Shortly after this the powercar operated trains at the GCR(N) diesel gala where for the first time ever the powercar operated with a Class 66 as the class had not even been thought of the last time 41001 ran!
41001 will see more action in 2016 after operating alongside the 125 Group MK3s in their prototype livery for the first time in February. Following this the powercar will visit three preserved lines throughout the year.