The 125 Group has announced that two very special diesel trains will soon be joining the fleet of heritage locomotives here in Ruddington.
It’s revealed two former Midland Mainline power cars will be coming to GCRN – Great Central Railway (Nottingham) on a permanent basis thanks to leasing company Porterbrook. Production Inter-City 125 high speed trains 43048 (pictured above) and 43089 owned by Porterbrook (currently operated by East Midlands Railway) will BOTH be handed over at the end of their careers in front line service. They’ll then be based here and begin running passenger trips between our village Heritage Centre and Loughborough (eventually to Leicester North).
125 Group was founded in 1994 with the aim of preserving a working Inter-City 125 for future generations. Their volunteers and trustees have certainly given much valuable time, sweat and passionate commitment over the past 25 years, fundraising and building a sound reputation in preservation and with the railway industry, working towards this goal. Now it seems their efforts will be rewarded, not just with ONE production high speed train to preserve and operate, but TWO!
However, this latest news is tinged with sadness – because it’s been precipitated by the unexpected revelation that unique HST Prototype 41001 will no longer be based at Ruddington – and so will not continue to haul services on GCRN.
125 Group trustee John Zabernik told us: “The power car will be returned to its owners the Science Museum Group / National Railway Museum in November at the end of our current loan agreement. We do not intend to contest SMG/NRM’s decision. However we were shocked by it, as we were in a period of negotiation about renewal.”
The National Railway Museum‘s reasoning has been published on its Twitter account, which says: “It is with regret that the National Railway Museum will not renew the 125 Group’s operational loan agreement for HST prototype No.41001 and Valenta power unit. The decision has not been taken lightly and follows repeated and serious breaches of conditions in the loan agreement. These include a failure to ensure the security and safety of the power car, refusal to give museum representatives access to the vehicle when requested and unprofessional conduct. We would like to thank members of the 125 Group for their efforts over several years. The power car will now return to the custodianship of the National Railway Museum.”
Mr Zabernik responded: “We refute their allegations completely. We have worked incredibly hard over 8 years to restore 41001 (during ‘Project Miller’) from a static exhibit to a fully working locomotive, raising all funding for this, with work being carried out by our volunteers and at zero cost to the SMG/NRM. 125 Group now has over 550 members, we have worked for 25 years building a good relationship with and are respected by the railway industry and preservation movement.”
Thankfully 125 Group owns the Mk3 coaches which were coupled with HST 41001. It’s been confirmed these carriages will remain in Ruddington – and, in fact, are already used on passenger services hauled by the other locomotives here.
Mr Zabernik added: “Our depot appeal continues and we have no plans to move away from our base at Ruddington. 125 Group was founded 25 years ago with the aim of preserving a working Inter-City 125 for future generations. We were delighted when railway leasing company Porterbrook announced they are donating two Production Power Cars to 125 Group. These will be based at Ruddington so we need the depot now more than ever! We are extremely grateful to Porterbrook for their wonderful, generous donation!”
In fact the ongoing depot appeal is now just £15,000 short of its £100,000 target. Donors who give £125 and over will be invited to have their name added to the ‘Donation Wall’ which will adorn the new HST building in Ruddington.
You can read more and donate to the 125 Group HST Depot Appeal >>HERE<<.