Porterbrook’s generous donation completes HST story showcase

With the recent handover of 43102 (one of the power cars involved in the 1987 record breaking test run) to the National Collection at Shildon, the other power car 43159, has  faced a less certain future, having been in store for a prolonged period since retirement from Great Western operation.

125 Group is delighted to announce today that Porterbrook, the power car’s owner, has made a fantastic donation of this second world diesel speed record holder 43159, to 125 Group.

While we have always selected our vehicles based on condition and availability, rather than painted number, the historical significance has certainly played a large part in this case, but 125 Group still satisfied itself that the vehicle was in good overall condition before confirming to Porterbrook that they wished to proceed.

This puts 125 Group in a unique position, as not only one of the few owners of preserved HST vehicles, but the only one that can show such a wide range of the HST’s history; 43159 of-course being fitted with an MTU engine as part of its return to service with First Great Western in 2007.

The Group’s plan for the fleet will see a Valenta fitted, Marston cooled power car (43044), two VP185 fitted power cars with Brush coolers (43048 & 43089) and an MTU powered example with Voith cooler (43159).  All are planned to be maintained in an operational condition with main line certification.  These power cars will be utilised in conjunction with the nine HST trailer vehicles owned by the Group, allowing a variation of formations and uses depending on the market need.

125 Group again wishes to place on record its sincerest gratitude to Porterbrook for their amazing generosity in supporting our aims, but also wishes to thank its own members, for their support and financial backing to bring this small fleet of HSTs into the preservation circle. 

Ongoing support to our engineering/operational teams, or financial support towards the upkeep and operation of these fabulous vehicles, can be made through our Direct Debit schemes, or Group membership, as detailed on our website.  https://staging.125.group/you-can-help/ 

43159 Life History

1 Dec 1978Ordered by British Rail under Lot No 30946.
14 Mar 1981Delivered from Crewe Works.
19 Apr 1981Accepted into traffic as part of set 254036, with 43160. The first allocation was to Leeds Neville Hill.
Nov 1983First overhaul, a ‘Light’ at Derby Locomotive Works.
1 Nov 1987Sets a new world diesel rail speed record of 148mph with 43102 whilst running a test train for the Mark 4 coach SIG bogies between Darlington and York.
28 Mar 1988Sector codes first allocated, with 43159 going to the East Coast IECP fleet.
14 May 1989Transferred from East Coast to Midland Main Line IMLP pool at Neville Hill.
6 May 1990Transferred to the Great Western IWRP fleet at Plymouth Laira depot.
12 Apr 1992Transferred to Cross-Country’s ICCP fleet, still at Laira.
1 Apr 1994Ownership transfers to Porterbrook Leasing as part of privatisation.
Jun 2000Repainted into Virgin livery during a ‘F’ exam at Neville Hill.
4 Oct 2002Transferred to Longsight as part of Virgin’s “Challenger” fleet.
3 Mar 2003Arrives at Brush, Loughborough for “Project Rio” upgrade.
13 May 2003 Released from Brush after upgrade and re-livery to MML’s blue livery.
16 May 2003Transferred to Midland Mainline’s “Rio” fleet (IMRL) at Neville Hill depot.
29 Aug 2004Named “Rio Warrior” at Longsight without ceremony.
14 Sep 2004Taken off-lease.
11 Nov 2004Back on lease to Midland Mainline’s IMLP pool, again based at Neville Hill
17 Jan 2005Off-leased again and transferred back to Porterbrook’s off lease SBXL pool.
27 May 2006Taken on lease by First Great Western (IWRP pool) and transferred to Laira.
11 Dec 2006Pool code altered to EFPC.
1 Feb 2007Arrives at Brush for re-engineering and repaint into FGW colours.
26 Jul 2007Released from Brush following MTU conversion.
Jun 2012Following an ‘F’ exam and repaint at Laira, is exhibited at the NRM’s “Railfest” exhibition.
7 Apr 2019Last day for GWR, working 5A81 1000 LA-PLY, 1A81 1100 PLY-PAD, 1C20 1527 PAD-BRI, 5C20 1722 BRI-LA with 43018 and set LA72.
16 June 2021Donated by Porterbrook to 125 Group.

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 Inter-City 125 enthusiast and preservation group, formed in 1994 by a small band of enthusiasts with the aim of sharing news and information on the fleet. 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 400 members. We have recently become a registered charity and are delighted to have 125 designer Sir Kenneth Grange as our Honorary President.

125 Group took the last surviving prototype HST power car 41001 on long term loan from the National Railway Museum in 2012 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 of this we were pleased to be presented with the Railway Heritage Committee 2014 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 three Mk3 coaches, which we have repainted in matching livery, hauled by 41001 recreating the look of the Prototype HST. Our team of twenty 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, here you will find up-to-date Operating Diagrams and 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 official HST 40 YEAR merchandise.

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 news stories 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 IEP units are being built and tested NOW, with introduction planned next year. 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.