Free Bus connects HST to HST

A free bus service will make this year’s Great Central Railway Nottingham Diesel Gala even easier to get to, connecting East Midlands Parkway station on the National Rail network with Rushcliffe Halt on the GCRN route. On both Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July, the heritage bus will make three morning trips from East Midlands Parkway bringing visitors to the gala, later in the afternoon three runs will take folk back again. The bus timetable enables connections with mainline services at East Midlands Parkway and also connects with GCRN trains at Rushcliffe Halt.

The GCRN Diesel Gala features a wide range of traction hauling two rakes of coaching stock providing an hourly service between Ruddington and Loughborough High Level (no station), with trains calling and passing at Rushcliffe Halt where connections will be held between services. Prototype HST power car 41001 and our matching Mk3 coaches (with Mk2a TSO also attached) will feature along with new arrivals 33035, 45060, 47828, plus resident fleet 47292, 47765 and the return of mighty 56097, with brief appearances by E6016 (73110). All trains will have a buffet car and the 125 Group Sales Stand will also be on-board the HST. More information including diesel gala tickets, other bus routes serving GCRN, plus full diesel gala TIMETABLE and LOCOMOTIVE ROSTER are available on the GCRN website.

National Rail services calling at East Midlands Parkway include Inter-City 125 HSTs operated by East Midlands Trains. On Saturday 1st July only, subject to on-time running, this makes it possible to travel by Production High Speed Train from London St.Pancras to East Midlands Parkway, free heritage bus to Rushcliffe Halt, then enjoy riding classic diesels at the GCRN gala including regular runs by our preserved Prototype HST. On Saturday, HSTs departing from St.Pancras at 08:15, 09:15 and 10:15 have connecting buses at East Midlands Parkway. Return buses from Rushcliffe Halt on Saturday connect with the 1643, 1740 and 1840 HSTs from East Midlands Parkway back to London, making for a grand day out! Many other travel options are available, check out the East Midlands Trains website for National Rail train times and tickets. For details of Saturday EMT services booked for HST operation, refer to our HST diagrams. Please note on Sunday 2nd July there is planned engineering work on the Midland Mainline with buses replacing trains between Bedford and Leicester. This means a HST day out from London to East Midlands Parkway will not be possible on the Sunday, and all EMT HST diagrams will also be amended on this day.

Thanks to our fellow preservationists the Nottingham Area Bus Society who are also based at GCRN Ruddington, for running this free heritage bus service, donations welcome on-board. Important – Please note that all reasonable efforts will be made to maintain connections but these are not guaranteed. GCRN, Nottingham Area Bus Society and 125 Group can not be held responsible for losses resulting from missed connections.

HST Diagrams Summer 2017

GWR HST power car 43010 emerges from Narberth tunnel on the scenic Pembroke Dock branchline, on service 1L90 1455 Pembroke Dock-Paddington, 1st August 2015. ©125 Group

Up to date High Speed Train diagrams are now available on the 125 Group website, showing full listings of services for each passenger TOC for all days of the week. 2017 will be the last summer of full HST operation on Great Western Railway, with the first new Hitachi units planned to enter traffic later this year. Summer Saturdays see HSTs straying off the main Intercity routes to visit scenic branch lines and seaside resorts including GWR to Weymouth and Pembroke Dock, EMT to Skegness, XC to Paignton and Penzance plus daily GWR to Newquay, these workings are all included in the diagrams, available from our website homepage HERE.

HST withdrawals will soon be upon us, 125 Group needs your help raising funds to preserve a Production HST to join Prototype 41001. Please subscribe as a member or sign up to our regular donations scheme and receive free membership, details HERE.

Prototype HST & Scotrail 47765 running at GCR Nottingham this Saturday 27th May

Prototype HST 41001 & Scotrail Liveried 47765 at GCRN – ©125 Group & Mick Barstow

This Saturday 27th May, Prototype HST Power Car 41001 will be working passenger services at Great Central Railway (Nottingham), running top and tail with Scotrail liveried 47765. Coaching stock will be 125 Group’s sleek matching air-conditioned Mk3s, plus classic fresh air Mk2a coach 5376 coupled next to the class 47 locomotive.

Trains will operate to the ‘Yellow Timetable’ with departures from Ruddington at 1030, 1215, 1400 and 1545, the journey takes you almost 10 miles south along the former Great Central mainline to Loughborough High Level which has no station but gives a great view of the Midland Mainline and rolling stock inside Brush Locomotive Works. Each out and back trip takes 1 hour 22 minutes and tickets can be purchased from the friendly Guard on-board the train with fares of £12 Adult / £30 Family (2 Adult + 2 Children) which give unlimited rides all day!

Join us on Saturday and experience 41001’s marvellous original screaming Valenta engine, get out of the hot weather on our cool air-conditioned train complete with Buffet 125 serving hot bacon baps, hot dogs, cheese and ham toasted sandwiches, hot and cold drinks plus alcoholic beverages including wine and bottled ale. The 125 Group Sales Stand will also be open – buy your HST merchandise here.

GCR(N) is a great place to visit for the whole family, our Ruddington base features a hugely popular miniature railway providing rides, Railway Workshops, Model Railway and Road Transport displays courtesy of Nottingham Area Bus Society. Plus Rushcliffe Country Park provides a green children’s’ play area right next to the line. Car parking is available (sat-nav postcode NG11 6JS) and buses connect with Nottingham and Loughborough. Train formation and times provided in good faith but as always subject to operating conditions on the day. For full details on GCR(N) and how to get here, see website HERE.

‘The Pickering Paxman’ Charity Railtour

East Midlands Trains (EMT), in conjunction with the Branch Line Society and 125 Group, is delighted to announce a very special High Speed Train charter on Saturday 15th July 2017 from Derby, Sheffield and York to the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors Railway, in aid of the charity Railway Children.

The railtour will traverse unusual lines along the way and will be formed of an EMT HST: eight Mark 3 vehicles and two EMT Class 43 power cars fitted with VP185 engines, with 43082 ‘Railway Children’ requested. The train will first run to Whitby then back to Grosmont and via the connecting line onto the NYMR and run through to Pickering, a first for a HST. Standard Class and First Class Dining fares available, with discounts for members of 125 Group, BLS and EMT staff.

For full details and to purchase tickets, download the booking form HERE.

****** 1ST CLASS DINING IS NOW FULLY BOOKED – STANDARD CLASS SEATS STILL AVAILABLE! ******

Meet HST designer Sir Kenneth Grange on-board The Somerset Explorer

Sir Kenneth Grange with his namesake GWR High Speed Train power car 43002 ©125 Group

125 Group is delighted to announce that our Honorary President Sir Kenneth Grange, distinguished industrial designer of the High Speed Train nosecone and Inter-City 125 original livery, will be VIP guest on-board ‘The Somerset Explorer’ Great Western Railway charity railtour on Saturday 13th May, raising funds for Weston-super-Mare Hospice.

In addition to the HST, Sir Kenneth also designed many everyday items including the Kenwood food mixer, Kodak instamatic camera, Wilkinson razor and London taxi, and was recently interviewed on BBC ‘Desert Island Discs’. Sir Kenneth will be available for photographs at Paddington before the railtour departs, and will travel on-board the outward journey, walking through the train meeting passengers, pleased to give autographs and selfies in return for a donation to charity. This is a rare opportunity to meet the man behind the look of the iconic Inter-City 125.

Celebrity power cars 43002 ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ (Inter-City 125 original livery) and 43185 ‘Great Western’ (INTERCITY Swallow livery) with green GWR coaches are planned to work the train (subject to operating conditions on the day). A full buffet service will be available plus the on-board 125 Group Sales Stand.

*** UPDATE  –  ALTERATION TO RAILTOUR TRAINPLAN ***

Due to operational reasons, the High Speed Train can no longer run all the way to Minehead as originally planned, this has resulted in a change to some of the itinerary. The railtour will still run from London Paddington depart 08.36/arrive 18.57, Ealing Broadway 08.44/18.46, Reading 09.14/18.19 and Didcot 09.34/18.02, these times are unchanged.

The special will continue onto the scenic West Somerset Railway and will now terminate at Bishops Lydeard. Passengers have the option of joining a special connecting service to Minehead and back hauled by Diesel Hydraulic class 52 locomotive D1010 Western Campaigner, arriving back into Bishops Lydeard to connect into the return HST. Alternatively, passengers may remain on the HST for an extra return trip from Bishops Lydeard to Taunton and back, tickets will be valid. Other off-train, bus tour options are available. GWR apologise for the late notice change of plan.

Full Details and Tickets still available – See GWR Eventbrite Website HERE

Questions about Existing or New Bookings – Contact the Organiser HERE

Special Offer for 125 Group Members plus one accompanying person, £25.50 discount off the adult standard class fare giving a price of £41.00. Enter the promotional code of HST_Group_41 when booking. Note: This cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, is valid for the HST all day option only, and a current 125 Group membership card must be presented on-board to validate this special offer.