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.

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

The Screaming Valentas – Saturday 17th November 2018

A special, low cost railtour with a difference as 125 Group partners with the Branch Line Society and East Midlands Trains (EMT) to take a newly refurbished EMT (ex-Grand Central) six coach HST set from Derby to the Great Central Railway (Nottingham), using the connection off the mainline at Loughborough South Jn.  Traction is expected to be two EMT buffer fitted powercars including 43423 ‘VALENTA 1972-2010’ as far as Ruddington, where one EMT power car will be removed in favour of 125 Group operated prototype powercar, 41001.

First Class passengers will benefit from inclusive hot drinks and light snacks and free Wi-Fi, whilst a range of drinks and light refreshments will be available to purchase from the Buffet Car, including a choice of real ales.  The charter will be raising funds for 125 Group in support of their recently launched HST Depot Appeal.  See www.125group.org.uk for details.  A 125 Group and Branch Line Society sales stand will be provided, with iconic industrial designer Sir Kenneth Grange on hand to autograph your souvenirs and memorabilia.  As usual, a charity raffle will take place with some fantastic prizes on offer.

Timings and routing are confirmed:

Derby P6 (pick up 08:29) – Chaddesden Sidings (carriage roads 1, 3 or 4 requested) (reverse) – Pilot Line – Derby P7/service platform – Pilot Line – Loughborough South Jn (reverse) – Rushcliffe Up Platform – 50 Steps (reverse) – Ruddington Fields P1

Whilst at GCR(N) a number of unusual moves are planned to include Ruddington Relief Road, Rushcliffe Up Loop in full including use of Rushcliffe bay platform, both sides of 50 Steps Loop and both main platforms at Rushcliffe Halt.

Ruddington Fields P1 – 28 Points (reverse) – Ruddington Fields P2 (reverse) – 50 Steps (reverse) – Loughborough South Jn – Leicester Up & Dn Slow – Knighton Jn (reverse) – Leicester P1 (set down time 17:41) – Up & Dn Goods (Humberstone Road) – Toton High Level Goods – Ilkeston Jn (reverse) – Toton Centre – Derby P5 (set down 18:53)

FARES:
Standard Class  **FULL**
First Class  **FULL**
Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult and benefit from a £20.00 reduction in all fares.
All ticket bookings are being handled by the Branch Line Society.
https://www.branchline.uk/current-fixtures.php

The railtour is now FULLY BOOKED and regretably we can take no further bookings.

Please do not contact East Midlands Trains directly about this railtour, they are not selling tickets. Please direct all enquiries to the Branch Line Society.

Thank you for your support!

Our first book ‘125-The Enduring Icon’

We are delighted that 125 Group’s first book will be published in late June 2018 and is now available to pre-order. ‘125 – The Enduring Icon’ is 100% HST and tells the story of the last forty-five years of the InterCity 125 in a new and very factual way.

Using a largely photographic format, supplemented by detailed text sections and captions, the whole history is covered to ensure the fullest possible picture of the operational life of HSTs from inception up to the end of 2017. Chapters cover the early days, the business impact on InterCity, developments through privatisation, extremities of operation, the engine developments and enhancements, and the preservation story of the prototype. Superb photographs illustrate the whole story, with significant detail of the evolving fleet.

Written and collated by 125 Group, and with a foreword by our Hon President, Sir Kenneth Grange, this 96 page soft-cover book promises to be the highlight publication of 2018 and is one that should be on every HST enthusiast’s shelf. With a launch date in late June 2018, you can pre-order your copy HERE on our website. Guaranteed dispatch by post immediately following publication and receipt of stock from the publishers. Price is £14.99 + UK Postage and Packing of £3.00 = Buy Price £17.99

125 Group’s profits from this important publication go straight to our preservation funds. By purchasing ‘125 – The Enduring Icon’ direct from our website you will be helping us achieve our aim of securing a Production HST, thank you for your support.

Welcome to 125 Group !

A warm welcome to 125 Group, especially if you have come here after seeing us on TV! We are the High Speed Train InterCity 125 enthusiast and preservation group, formed in 1994 by a small band to share news and information on the fleet and with the long-term aim of preserving a HST. The iconic train is still going strong today, the mainstay of many InterCity routes. Our objective is to preserve a production HST powered by the original Valenta engine, to this end we have acquired a large number of major components. Through this work and our restoration of 41001 we have developed a good relationship with the railway industry and grown to over 550 members. We are now a registered charity and are delighted to have 125 designer Sir Kenneth Grange as our Honorary President.

125 Group has a proven track record, in 2012 we took the last surviving prototype HST power car 41001 on long-term loan from the National Railway Museum and under the ‘Project Miller’ banner, in honour of the BR Chief Engineer behind the original HST, we restored it from a static exhibit to full working order for use on preserved railways. In recognition we were presented with the Railway Heritage Committee Modern Traction Award. Thanks to our benefactors, volunteers and the kind help of the railway industry, 41001 is now a regular performer at its home base the Great Central Railway (Nottingham). 125 Group is owner of six Mk3 coaches which our engineering team have also restored with four in traffic, three of which are in matching livery to 41001 recreating the look of the Prototype HST. Our team of around twenty-five active volunteers maintain and operate the train, including a buffet bar serving drinks and delicious hot food prepared on-board.

This website has a wealth of information about the HST and up-to-date Power Car Fleet List, plus news about future operating dates for our Prototype HST. We also have a wide range of 125 related items on sale in our On-line Shop, including mugs, DVDs, professionally produced artwork and our excellent forthcoming book ‘125-The Enduring Icon’ available for pre-order.

Join Us! We are delighted to welcome new members who are interested in HSTs and wish to support our cause. Members exclusively receive our quarterly magazine ‘One Two Five’ which is packed with informed articles about current mainline operations and detailed behind the scenes information on our preservation progress. Join now on this website, membership is only £17 for 12 months.

New Hitachi class 800 series units are already in service, with many more planned over the next two years. Some HST withdrawals are very likely in the near future and 125 Group is ready to step in and save at least one power car from the scrapyard. We have launched our ‘Direct Debit’ scheme to help boost our preservation funds, donate from £5 per month and receive free subscription to 125 Group.