Farewell East Midlands Trains!

125 Group would like to say a massive Thank You to East Midlands Trains for 11 years of support and friendship, helping us grow from an enthusiast group into a fully fledged preservation group and registered charity, still the only one focused on the Inter-City 125.

Project Miller – our restoration of the National Railway Museum’s Prototype HST Power Car 41001 from static museum exhibit to fully working iconic treasure – received help from many companies in the railway industry but East Midlands Trains’ massive input hosting 41001 at Neville Hill and giving expert guidance was key. Three very special events ‘The Screaming Valenta’, ‘HSTs@40’ and ‘The Screaming Valentas’ all featured EMT HSTs running with 41001 at GCRN, providing entertainment to thousands of enthusiasts of all ages. Numerous other railtours, also run by volunteer EMT staff in their own time, took their HST fleet where no Inter-City 125 had gone before, all raising money for charitable causes including 125 Group, for which we are most grateful.

As East Midlands Trains draws to a close, we send best wishes to the excellent staff at all levels who are transferring to the new operator, starting a new exciting chapter with East Midlands Railway. We look forward to working with you in the future!

Happy 90th Birthday Sir Kenneth!

Illustrious Inter-City 125 Designer and 125 Group Honorary President Sir Kenneth Grange celebrates his 90th Birthday today (17th July).

Grange’s prolific work in Industrial Product Design over half a century has included Kenwood food mixers, Kodak cameras, Anglepoise lamps, Parker pens and the TX1 London taxi cab, however the creation which has given him most pleasure is the Inter-City 125. This instantly recognisable design has endured for over 40 years, its iconic nosecone becoming the defining image of an express train both in the UK and around the world in countries which have never seen a 125.

Knighted in 2013 for services to design, 125 Group was delighted in May 2014 when Sir Kenneth became our Honorary President, he has been actively supporting us on-board railtours and at fund-raising events ever since.

Inter-City 125 liveried power car 43002 which carries the name ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’ is on display at Swindon STEAM Museum today and tomorrow only (17/18th July), launching a six month exhibition of GWR High Speed Train nameplates. Withdrawn from service, 43002 is eventually making its way into retirement at York National Railway Museum.

Sir Kenneth Grange himself however, now in his ninth decade, is still practising and lecturing today. Happy Birthday Sir Kenneth from everyone at 125 Group!

TGS 44000 for 125 Group

125 Group is very pleased to announce the latest addition to our fleet of Mk3 Coaches, Trailer Guards Standard (TGS) 44000. This HST vehicle will be used to support our passenger operations at Great Central Railway Nottingham (GCRN).

44000 has been very kindly donated by leasing company Porterbrook and following road transfer from storage in Long Marston, has arrived at our operating base GCRN Ruddington. Previously the coach was in service with Great Western Railway and wears their smart base green colour. The vehicle is in good internal and external condition.

44000 was built by British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) at Derby Litchurch Lane Works. When Inter-City 125 was first introduced in 1976, the guard’s office was located in the power cars. TGS vehicles were later added to provide more passenger capacity and to give a smoother, quieter ride for the guard. 44000 is the original TGS, constructed in 1980 to lot number 30953, unique to this vehicle.

We are extremely grateful to Porterbrook for their generous donation. 44000 joins our existing Mk3 fleet of 10202, 10206, 12087, 12092 and 12134 which have all been restored to full working condition by our team of volunteers. Meanwhile, two of our existing vehicles are leaving the fleet. Mk3b FO 11074 is departing GCRN Ruddington for pastures new. Spares vehicle TSO 12065 has been stripped of all useful components and will shortly be disposed of. To find out more and keep informed as our fleet continues to evolve, join up as a member of 125 Group!

Help us achieve our goal of preserving a production Inter-City 125 power car complete with original Paxman Valenta engine. Sign up to our monthly donation scheme HERE, which includes free membership with four quality exclusive magazines delivered to you each year, detailing our preservation efforts and with informed articles on the current HST scene.

GWR Inter-City 125 Farewell

Sir Kenneth Grange with his namesake power car 43002 before departure of the last HST service train from Paddington.  ©125 Group

This evening Great Western Railway celebrated the end of High Speed Trains serving Paddington after 43 years. Introduced in 1976, the Inter-City 125 was an immediate success and transformed long distance rail travel in the UK.

The event was marked by the last four HST services being lined up side by side in platforms 1 to 4, with the final 125 formed of power cars 43198 and 43002 working the 1830 to Exeter St.Davids. Sir Kenneth Grange, designer of the High Speed Train and 125 Group Hon President was VIP guest at Paddington and travelled on the final service. Thank you to GWR for working so hard behind the scenes to mark this historic occasion in style!

Now in our 25th year, 125 Group is the High Speed Train preservation group, our aim is to preserve at least one production class 43 power car and reinstall the original Valenta engine type. For the past seven years we have been custodians of the National Railway Museum’s prototype HST power car 41001, which we restored to working order with funds raised by us and the kind help of the railway industry.

Help us achieve our goal of preserving an Inter-City 125. Sign up to our monthly donation scheme HERE, which includes free membership with four quality exclusive magazines delivered to you each year, detailing our preservation efforts and with informed articles on the current HST scene.

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!