Prototype HST Planned for SVR Visit

Subject to final agreement from the National Railway Museum, we are hoping to have Prototype HST Power Car 41001 at the Severn Valley Railway Spring Diesel Festival from Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th May and Mixed Traction Day on Sunday 19th May.

Unique 41001 is planned to work public services between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, hauling five of 125 Group’s Mk3 coaches, recreating the look of the Prototype High Speed Train. 

The air-braked Mk3 vehicles planned to attend are First Open 11074, Standard 12087, 12092 and recently restored 12134, plus catering car 10206 which will be serving delicious hot and cold drinks and snacks from Buffet 125. The weekend will also feature other guest locomotives and the Severn Valley Railway resident fleet, for more details see the SVR website HERE. 

The Prototype HST was built in 1972 and during testing between York and Darlington in 1973 smashed the UK rail and world diesel speed record reaching 143.2mph. It was the fore-runner to the hugely successful InterCity 125 Production HST fleet which revolutionised long distance UK rail travel. 41001 is part of the National Collection, restoration was funded and carried out by 125 Group under the ‘Project Miller’ banner after the power car had spent over 25 years as a static exhibit at York NRM. The power car is fitted with a ‘screaming’ Paxman Valenta engine of the type which originally powered all HSTs.

As always, plans are made and this information is provided in good faith, however all arrangements in railway preservation are subject to alteration in the event of changing circumstances, for which 125 Group can not be held liable. 41001 appears courtesy of and subject to final approval by its owners the NRM. As soon as final confirmation is received it will be announced on 125 Group and SVR websites and social media.

HST February Running at GCRN

SATURDAY 16th, SUNDAY 17th, SATURDAY 23rd, SUNDAY 24th FEBRUARY 2019

The Prototype High Speed Train will be running passenger services on these dates at Great Central Railway (Nottingham). Featuring historic HST Power Car 41001 which broke the world record for diesel trains in 1972 reaching 143mph, still powered by the ‘screaming’ Valenta original type engine. Coaches will be 125 Group’s sleek, air-conditioned Mk3s which provide comfortable seating with plenty of tables, perfect for railway enthusiasts and all the family, whatever the weather.

Services depart from Ruddington station, the GCRN Yellow Timetable B operates on these dates, new for 2019:
1045 and 1445 departures from Ruddington to Loughborough High Level, 90 minute return trip.
1245 and 1345 departures from Ruddington to Rushcliffe Halt, 50 minute return trip.

English Electric Class 20 locomotive D8154 / 20154 is planned to be working top’n’tail with 41001 on all four dates.

After departing from Ruddington, all trains reverse at Fifty Steps (no station) then run southbound along the former Great Central Mainline through the scenic Nottinghamshire countryside calling at Rushcliffe Halt station. The route continues through Barnstone Tunnel to Loughborough High Level, which has no station but affords a great view over the Midland Mainline and looks down into Brush Works, with locomotives for overhaul often visible.

Our traditional ‘Buffet 125’ will be open on-board, serving (subject to availability) a selection of delicious breakfast baps and other hot foods, cold snacks, hot and cold beverages plus alcoholic drinks including bottled ciders, beers and wine. Our volunteers will be pleased to advise on availability and delighted to serve you. The 125 Group sales stand will also be on the train with a wide range of merchandise available. We look forward to welcoming you on-board.

Ruddington station (sat-nav postcode NG11 6JS) is the base for Great Central Railway (Nottingham) with many heritage transport exhibits, miniature and model railways, car parking and bus links to Nottingham and Loughborough. Rushcliffe Country Park is also here and overlooks the line. Train tickets can be purchased on the day or from the GCRN website which has more information HERE.

Happy New Year from 125 Group!

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!

HST 41001 Reaches The North Pole

Prototype HST Power Car 41001 at Dereham ready to depart with The Polar Express™ bound for The North Pole. ©125 Group

Prototype 41001 has broken new ground for High Speed Trains by reaching The North Pole. The historic power car hauled The Polar Express™ on the Mid-Norfolk Railway taking children and families from Dereham all the way to The North Pole where Santa was waiting to greet them.

HST Power Car 41001 is part of the National Collection, restored by 125 Group and is helping out on the MNR over the Festive Season. As well as pulling the 9 coach train on selected dates, the power car’s 850 Volt DC electric train supply is keeping the carriages warm and air-conditioned for all the excited travellers. 125 Group drivers and technical staff have also been provided to look after the national treasure.

125 Group is really pleased to be supporting the Mid-Norfolk Railway for their The Polar Express™ train ride operations this Christmas. Travel is strictly limited to Mid-Norfolk Railway The Polar Express™ customers only and no on the door passenger fares will be obtainable. Tickets MUST be booked in advance on the Mid-Norfolk Railway website here: https://midnorfolkthepolarexpressride.com

Screaming Valentas Success!

Volunteers from EMT, BLS, GCRN and 125 Group at Ruddington GCR(N) with 43467 and 41001 ‘The Screaming Valentas’ railtour, 17Nov2018. ©Richard Gennis

A massive Thankyou from 125 Group to everyone involved in making ‘The Screaming Valentas’ railtour such a success!

On Saturday 17th November, East Midlands Trains 6 coach HST with power cars 43423 ‘VALENTA 1972-2010’ and 43467 brought 292 passengers from Derby to Ruddington where Prototype Power Car 41001 replaced 43467 for a grand tour of the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) network. Lesser used lines covered included Rushcliffe Halt Up Loop and Bay Platform where HST Designer and 125 Group Hon President Sir Kenneth Grange joined the train, chatting to passengers and signing autographs.

We are immensely and sincerely grateful to all of the volunteers and staff teams from East Midlands Trains, Branch Line Society, Great Central Railway (Nottingham) and Network Rail for their fantastic efforts and support which made Saturday happen. Hours of preparation and detailed planning through to hard graft delivering the service on the day, giving up their own time to raise over £20,000 for our 125 Group HST Depot Appeal. Huge thanks also to those who donated and bid for some very special auction and raffle prizes, and to everyone who bought tickets to ride ‘The Screaming Valentas’, we hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as we did and look forward to the next one!

The grand total raised by ‘The Screaming Valentas’ for our HST Depot Appeal will be announced soon. We appreciate all contributions, please donate HERE.

‘The Screaming Valentas’ railtour at Loughborough High Level GCRN with Sir Kenneth Grange, HST designer and 125 Group Hon President, in the driving cab, 17Nov2018. ©125 Group