125 Group announce first running day in over two years

©Jamie Rowley

With the kind agreement of our hosts at the Midland Railway Centre, our production HST will be making its first passenger operations since we took ownership during the weekend of 2nd and 3rd April 2022.

Running a shortened set, we will be providing the timetabled service throughout the weekend with power cars 43048 and World Speed Record Holder 43159.  This will not only be 125 Group’s first operation of our own preserved HST, but will also be the first time that an HST has operated in passenger service on the Midland Railway Trust line.

In addition to the overall operation, we will be opening Buffet 125 serving drinks and snacks in trailer car 40730, together with a good range of products available from Shop 125.

Ticket sales and revenue will support the Midland Railway Trust and development of their operations whilst all sales on board will support our ongoing preservation efforts. Come and take a ride with us through Derbyshire’s delightful countryside and enjoy some HST action.

125 Group website.

Midland Railway Butterley website.

EMR launches personalised real-time Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp service for customers

©East Midlands Railway
  • Customers can access personalised real-time info over Messenger and WhatsApp
  • Service alerts customers to busy trains, platform changes and delays
  • Alternative travel route information a click away

East Midlands Railway (EMR) customers can now access customised travel information after the company launched its new messenger service.

EMR Messenger provides customers with personalised journey updates, including details of real-time disruption, alternative travel routes and busyness alerts, all delivered via the popular Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp channels. 
Customers can opt-in to the service on either channel by visiting the live journey information page on EMR’s website and clicking ‘Keep Me Updated’ or alternatively by searching for EMR directly on Facebook Messenger.

Personalised WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger alerts will then keep customers fully informed about their journey, including:

  • Real-time messaging, disruption alerts, alternative routes, platform changes, and delay repay messaging.
  • Journey planning and routing around disruption and predicted issues in real-time.
  • Busyness alerts, based on unique forecast demand data proven to be scientifically accurate by the University of Birmingham.
  • Journey watch: the option to select regular journeys and sign up for ‘push only’ updates, meaning customers will be informed if anything might affect their journey.

    Customers using the service on Facebook Messenger will also be able to access extra information, including:
  • Now & Next: a snapshot of the journey, on demand, including current arrival times, interchange details and multi-modal information all in one place.
  • Last mile support: welcome message before arriving at their destination offering onward journey support via all available transport modes (bus, e-scooters, taxi, walking, and cycling). 
  • Customer service support: quick access to EMR’s customer service team and station facilities information.
©East Midlands Railway

EMR Messenger is powered by revolutionary AI and data prediction technology developed by Midlands-based company Zipabout who has pioneered the use of personalised information services for rail passengers across the UK.

The service will provide EMR with unprecedented insight into the way people use its network, enabling the planning of smarter journeys.

©East Midlands Railway

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director at East Midlands Railway, said: “We are always looking at better ways to keep our customers up-to-date with the latest travel information when they take a journey with us.

“This new service will enable customers to take control and get personalised details tailored to their needs, making sure they only get the information that is relevant and important to them.”

Alex Froom, Chief Executive of Zipabout, said: “Real-time information tailored to each individual is essential to improve customer experience and confidence when travelling by rail, and EMR Messenger delivers that straight to the hands of passengers. No need for yet another travel app, just personalised support at the right time and through the channels they trust.”

For more information please visit – https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/emr-messenger

Revised planning application for Forth Bridge Experience

© Network Rail

Network Rail has submitted a planning application to City of Edinburgh Council for revised proposals to install a bridge walk and visitor hub at the iconic Forth Bridge.  

The refreshed proposals include a single-storey reception hub to the east of the Forth Bridge, sympathetically positioned in the landscape and offering stunning views of the iconic heritage structure while minimising the impact on the surrounding environment.

The submission of the full planning application follows a public engagement exercise held in autumn 2021 to gather feedback from residents which helped to inform the final designs.

© Network Rail

The proposals will see construction of a bridge walk and reception hub on the South Queensferry side of the UNESCO World Heritage site, which will be used for preparing those heading out on the bridge walk as well as providing an access point to the structure.

Groups of between 12 and 15 people will put on safety harnesses before being led out onto the bridge’s south cantilever, walking up to a viewing point at the top using walkways built into the structure.

© Network Rail

Alan Ross, Network Rail Scotland’s director of engineering and asset management, said: “We have worked very hard over the past year to draw up revised proposals, making them more affordable and more sympathetic to the surrounding environment without compromising the appeal of this project.

“The plans we have submitted to deliver a bridge walk experience will offer the public a unique chance to explore this world-famous structure and create another exciting tourist attraction for Scotland.”

Rail Riders links up with the Isle of Man Railways

Having been re launched in February 2020, Rail Riders has grown from strength to strength including having two mainline locomotives named after the club and through their partner at Bishop Trains re introduced the travel vouchers for discounted travel on the UK national rail network. 

Rail Riders has been working with Isle of Man Transport since May 2020 regarding the four railways that government department own and operate with the possibility in adding them to the growing list of participating railways. 

We are pleased to announce that Isle of Man Transport and ourselves have come to an agreement where Rail Riders members can benefit from a unique discount on the Islands Go Explore travel cards, which will give the club members unlimited travel on the Isle of Man Steam Railway, Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, Manx Electric Railway, and the Snaefell Mountain Railway. The card also covers travel on the Groudle Glen Railway and the Laxey Mine Railway which are not operated by Isle of Man Transport as well as all the scheduled bus services on the island. The cards can be used for 1, 3, 5 or 7 consecutive calendar days and are available for adults, children, and families of 2 adults and up to 3 children, more details on how to apply for the members discount will be shared with active members of the club.

As an added bonus, due to Rail Riders link with Bishop Trains, the rail travel vouchers issued to active members can be used against the Rail and Sail tickets for travel from any UK station to Douglas, Isle of Man including the ferry crossing.

Hannah Lo Bao, Customer Experience Manager, Isle of Man Transport, said: 

We are excited to be working with Rail Riders. We hope club members will take advantage of the discount and come and visit our beautiful island, and enjoy all what we have to offer. For all details make sure you visit www.rail.im.

Simon Buxton, Director, Rail Riders Ltd, said: 

This is fantastic news for our members and further links us to the former club from the 1980s. The Island holds a special place in my heart with its fantastic railway system having visited several times. When setting up Rail Riders, it was always hoped to gain the railways on the island as partners. We are very grateful that Hannah and the team at Isle of Man Transport wanted to be part of Rail Riders and offering our members the unique offer and access to the whole islands public transport system. 

The club members can now access benefits from 61 railways / museums, 21 model railway shops and over 30 railway themed businesses as well as members only events throughout the year. 

West Coast main line flood protection work starts this week

©Network Rail

Passengers are being advised to plan their journeys while major work to protect the West Coast main line from the risk of flooding takes place from this week.

Between 4-12 January, railway drainage upgrades will improve future journeys between Milton Keynes and Rugby.

The work will prevent heavy rain from flooding tracks, making the economically important rail route more reliable for passengers and freight.

During the improvements, trains will be diverted via Northampton to bypass the 4km long trackside drainage work.

This will add around 25 minutes onto West Coast main line journeys for Avanti West Coast customers.

London Northwestern Railway will run fewer services between Crewe and Euston and passengers will need to change trains at Rugby.

Passengers are urged to check www.nationalrail.co.uk and plan their journeys in advance.

James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said: “This major work on the West Coast main line is vital to protect it from the risk of future flooding. We always try to do our work with the least disruption to passengers as possible, and during this project we can keep people on the move by using a diversionary route. However, there will be fewer services, longer journey times and some passengers may need to change trains, so I’d urge people to please check National Rail Enquiries before they travel.”

Lawrence Bowman, customer experience director for London Northwestern Railway, said: “This essential maintenance will improve the reliability of our rail infrastructure and reduce the likelihood of delays in the future. I urge customers to plan their rail travel in advance during the West Coast Main Line work near Milton Keynes in January when some journeys will take longer.”

Gus Dunster, executive director of operations and safety at Avanti West Coast, said: “As Network Rail carry out essential works near Milton Keynes in January, there’ll be changes to our services and extended journey times to and from London Euston. We strongly recommend you make a reservation, plan your journey in advance as well as check the National Rail Enquiries website before travelling.”

To combat Covid-19, passengers must wear a face covering in train stations, on train services and any replacement bus services. Those who fail to do so face a fine of £200.

For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Meanwhile, enhanced cleaning procedures will remain in place to stop the spread of coronavirus, with hand sanitiser on station concourses.

To find out more about what Network Rail is doing to stop the spread of Covid-19 visit: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/coronavirus/.

UKSTEAM.INFO website returns

In October 2020, the enthusiast community lost a key ally, following the death of Dr. David Randles.  David’s website – www.uksteam.info – was a primary source of information on main line steam workings to many people, and one that was sorely missed following David’s medical issues in May the previous year.

Railway Herald Magazine approached David’s family, through a third party, to offer to host the site going forward in David’s memory.  After several months of waiting for the legal process to complete, and working with the executor of his estate, it has finally been possible to transfer the domain into our ownership and return David’s site to the internet.

Pressure of work means its is not possible to return up-to-date information to uksteam.info, although this is available through www.railwayherald.com/railtours, but the site will remain as David last updated it in May 2019, as his legacy and an historical point of reference.  Information on the current railtour scene, as well as timing information for forthcoming workings can be found, free of charge, on the Railway Herald website at www.railwayherald.com/railtours.

Direct Rail Services (DRS) is selling off heritage locomotives and carriages as it modernises its fleet.

DRS Class 20s No’s 20302 & 20312 at Sheffield with the RHTT working 3S14 Grimsby Town to Bridlington, 26th October 2016. © Jamie Rowley

The sale will see all the Class 20s, which were DRS’s first engines and have been with the company for over 25 years, sold, as well as a selection of their Class 37s, 57s, and MK2 coaches. There will also be a selection of Class 20, Class 57 and MK2 coach parts available to purchase.

This is the first in a series of locomotive sales which will see a further number of the Class 37s and Class 57s up for sale in the future.

Chris Connelly, NTS Deputy CEO and Rail Director, said: “This is an important first step for DRS as we look at our fleet and our plans for the future.

“The Class 20s are really special engine to us, having been with us from the start, but things move on and a modern, dynamic rail freight operator needs a modern fleet to match our ambitions.

“This is the first phase and there will be more Class 37s and some 57s offered in the future as we move towards our net carbon zero ambitions.”

Reported to be included the the sale are;

Class 20s – 20301, 20302, 20303, 20304, 20305, 20308, 20309 and 20312

Class 37s – 37606 and 37703

Class 57/3s – 57302 and 57311

MK2 Coaches – 5173, 5787, 5937 and 6064

More information available at the DRS website here.

Railway Family Prize Draw and Auction 2021

We are delighted to be supporting the Railway Family Fundraiser 2021 with the donation of a couple of highly sought after Railcam Goodie Bags, adding to a simply stunning selection of prizes which are on offer to the lucky winners…..

Head over to https://gofund.me/8786fd36 to show your support and let’s smash that £5,000 target.

How does a trip for 2 in Scotland’s Railway Helicopter over the Forth Bridge sound? Or an amazing experience with LNER in their Simulator Centre! Or an incredible ‘ride out’ with British Transport Police? Or a behind the scenes look at MTR Elizabeth Line? Or for the chance to take some friends on a behind the scenes tour of Hitachi Rail? There are MANY more prizes and experiences like this that we will list in full in the coming days but for your chance to win, donate £10 for every entry you wish to make.

For every £10 you donate, you will be allocated a unique number. On Thursday 16 September, the day of the National Rail Awards, all numbers will be entered and the draw will be shown on social media. Even if you make your donation anonymously, we will be able to see your name and will allocate you your number.

You can enter as many times as you want, over the 6 weeks that the fundraiser will run. Good luck! Our Railway Family has joined forces to give us an amazing array of experiences and prizes. 

But, apart from the chance to win something truly unique, what are you supporting? Why have I set up this fundraiser?

Meet Jack Jarvis, a serving member of the British Army, who will attempt an incredible feat at the end of 2021, where he will row over 5000 miles, from Portugal to Miami, to raise money for CALM and Brainstrust, two causes very close to his heart. The Rail Industry are proud to support this historical and brave effort, continuing a long and proud association with our military forces.

Both industries share a common passion to promote and support mental health… Please read Jack’s personal motivation for undertaking this challenge. And the very best of luck to everyone entering!

Introduction by Jack:

On the 20th November 2007 my Grandad passed away from a brain tumour, I was absolutely devastated. I want to do my bit to help try and find a cure for this awful disease, if I can stop even one family losing someone from this deadly cancer it will be my greatest achievement.

Brain tumors kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national research spend has been allocated to this devastating disease.

In December 2021 I will row SOLO, 4500 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in order to raise as much money and awareness for BrainTrust & CALM. 

I will battle sleep deprivation, salt sores, dehydration, fatigue and loneliness.

In order to raise money for the crossing I, Natasha and Heather will be doing a fundraiser with our friends across the rail industry with all money going towards the Transatlantic row in support of BrainTrust & CALM.

Your generosity will help get me to the start line and save countless lives.

Helicopter Ride over Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland’s Railway Helicoptor
Cab Ride with Freightliner Driver Heather Waugh
2 lots of 2 tickets for Glasgow Central Tours:

‘Behind the Scenes Tour’, Simulator Experience, and Cab Ride with MTR Elizabeth Line

Tour for up to 8 people at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe Facility
Cab Ride with GBRf
‘Ride Out’ with British Transport Police
VIP Tickets to see Tom Jones at SSE Hydro Glasgow on December 5

Railcam’s support and coverage of #GBRf2021 – This Time It’s Personal Charity Railtour

©GB Railfreight

The mammoth 4-day GB Railfreight charity railtour returns for 2021, and This Time It’s Personal!

A selection of traction will be used over the 4 days, including Class 59, Class 60, Class 69, Class 73/9, Class 86, Class 91 and more….. This is a true enthusiasts dream charter and all in support of https://prostatecancer.org

Starting at London Victoria on Thursday 2nd September, the tour takes in destinations such as Harwich International, Southampton Central, the WCML, West Highland Line to Oban, the ECML and finishing up at London Paddington on Sunday 5th September.

Keep an eye out for our admin team on board, plus your chance to win one of two Railcam goodie bags (amongst some superb prizes) as part of the onboard raffle…..

Schedules and Railcam camera pass times are as follows…….


1Z21 London Victoria (09:45) to London Gateway Gbrf (12:09)

Class 66 x 1

🎥 Barking (11:19)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=871Z211F02

1Z22 London Gateway Gbrf (12:29) to Harwich International (15:37)

Class 73/9 x 2 (London Gateway to Temple Mills Loop)

Class 66 x 1 (Temple Mills Loop to Harwich International)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20215368

1Z23 Harwich International (15:47) to Harwich International (16:41)

Class 73/9 x 2 (Harwich International to Parkeston Gbrf)

Class 66 x 1 (Parkeston Gbrf to Harwich International)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20215369

1Z24 Harwich International (16:54) to London Euston (22:38)

Class 73/9 x 2 (Harwich International to Ely)

Class 66 x 1 (Ely to Wembley Area)

Class 73/9 x 2 (Wembley Area to London Euston)

🎥 Camden Junction (21:47)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20240527


1Z25 London Euston (07:26) to Marchwood MOD Gbrf (12:07)

Class 73/1 x 2 – (London Euston to Wembley Area)

🎥 Camden Junction (07:31)

Class 59 x 1 – (Wembley Area to Eastleigh Marchwood)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=721Z251A03

Loco TBC – Shunts within Eastleigh Marchwood

1Zxx Marchwood MOD Gbrf (15:22) to Acton Lane Reception Sidings GB Railfreight (19:17)

Class 59 x 1 (Marchwood MOD Gbrf to Eastleigh East Yard)

Class 73/1 x 2 (Eastleigh East Yard to Kensington Olympia)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20215471

FRIDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER (Overnight)

1Zxx Marchwood MOD Gbrf (15:22) to Acton Lane Reception Sidings GB Railfreight (19:17)

Class 73/1 x 2 (Kensington Olympia to Acton Mainline Reception)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20215471

1Zxx Acton Lane Reception Sidings GB Railfreight (19:45) to Mossend Up Yard (05:08)

Class 86 x 1 (Action Mainline Reception GB Railfreight to Crewe)

🎥 Watford Junction (20:05)

Class 92 x 1 (Crewe to Mossend Up Yard)

🎥 Crewe 2 & 5 (00:10)

🎥 Crewe 4 (00:12)

🎥 Leyland (00:47)

🎥 Farington Junction (00:49)

🎥 Preston (01:02)

🎥 Bolton Le Sands (01:12)

🎥 Beattock (03:55)

🎥 Thankerton (04:30)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20241551

1Zxx Mossend Up Yard (05:45) to Oban (10:35)

Class 37 x 2 (courtesy of Direct Rail Services)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=071Z301504


1Z30 Mossend Up Yard (05:45) to Oban (10:35)

Class 37 x 2 (courtesy of Direct Rail Services)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=071Z301504

1Z31 Oban (12:52) to Carlisle (23:15)

Class 37 x 2 (courtesy of Direct Rail Services) (Oban to Mossend Up Yard)

Class 91 x 1 (Mossend Up Yard to Newcastle)

🎥 Cramlington (20:35)

Class 60 x 1 (Newcastle to Carlisle)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=061Z311L04


1Zxx Carlisle (10:15) to Preston (11:35)

Class 66 x 1 –

🎥 Preston (11:30)

Track it –

1Zxx Preston (12:25) to Bescot Up And Down Goods (15:30)

Class 50 x 3 (Preston to Bescot Up And Down Goods)

🎥 Farington Junction (12:27)

🎥 Leyland (12:29)

🎥 Crewe 4 (13:10)

🎥 Crewe 2 & 5 (13:11)

🎥 Bushbury Junction (13:57)

Class 66 x 1 (Bescot Up And Down Goods to Bescot Up And Down Goods)

Track it –

1Zxx Bescot Up And Down Goods(16:00) to London Paddington (19:21)

Class 69 x 1

Track it –

5 minute reads – Work ramps up as Network Rail upgrades track and signalling over August Bank Holiday ready to connect Midland Main Line with new Brent Cross West station

©Network Rail
  • Essential railway upgrades are taking place over August Bank Holiday weekend – ready to connect services to Brent Cross West station when it opens next year
  • Network Rail will also continue with Kentish Town track upgrades and replace points between Kentish Town and West Hampstead
  • Work planned to minimise disruption as much as possible as railway welcomes passengers back
  • Changes to East Midlands Railway and Thameslink services – passengers advised to plan ahead

Network Rail is continuing to make progress on essential railway upgrades over the August Bank Holiday to improve journeys for passengers and prepare for services to call at the new Brent Cross West station.

©Network Rail

Between Saturday 28 August and the first service on Tuesday 31 August, teams will continue with vital work to reconfigure the track layout and improve the signalling system. This work will allow trains to call at the new station when it opens next year, linking people in the community to Central London and the Midland Main Line.

For this work to take place safely, no East Midlands Railway trains will run between Luton and London St Pancras International over the Bank Holiday weekend, and Thameslink services will terminate at Mill Hill Broadway. Replacement bus services will be in place to keep people moving.

During this time, additional improvements will take place as part of a complex project to upgrade the track at Kentish Town. The slab track in the area – which is supported by concrete rather than ballast – was laid in the 1970s. The work to upgrade it will improve journeys and reduce the amount of maintenance required.

Work will also be carried out to replace the points – movable sections of track which allow trains to safely move from one line to another – at Carlton Road junction, between Kentish Town and West Hampstead.

These upgrades will make sure passenger and freight services can continue running safely and reliably for years to come.

Network Rail has carefully planned the work which is taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend and carrying it out when the line is closed reduces the amount of future disruption for passengers.  

The following changes will be in place on Saturday 28, Sunday 29 and Monday 30 August:

  • No East Midlands Railway services will run between Luton and London St Pancras International. Passengers will be able to use replacement buses to connect to London Underground services.
  • A reduced Thameslink service will run between Bedford and Mill Hill Broadway all weekend. Buses will replace trains between Mill Hill Broadway and London St Pancras International.
  • Buses will also run between Harpenden (calling at St Albans) and Potters Bar, and between Luton Airport Parkway (calling at Luton) and Hitchin, where passengers can connect to alternative services into London.

Passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.

©Network Rail

Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “This vital work over the August Bank Holiday will be a major step towards linking the new Brent Cross West station to the Midland Main Line.

“We’re carrying out additional improvements whilst this section of the line is closed to reduce future disruption to services. The slab track at Kentish Town has served the line well and the upgrade is vital so services can continue running reliably.

“As we welcome passengers back to the railway, we’ve worked hard to minimise disruption and keep services moving as much as possible. I’d encourage anyone travelling over the Bank Holiday weekend to check their journey and plan ahead.”

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director for EMR, said: “For any customers who are planning on travelling over the August Bank Holiday weekend, please allow extra time for your journey. There are no EMR train services operating between Luton and London St Pancras International and a replacement bus service will be in place.

“We would like to thank passengers for their patience whilst this crucial engineering work takes place between Saturday 28th and Monday 30th August.”

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink, said: “It’s good news that Network Rail are taking the opportunity to make these essential track improvements at Kentish Town while preparing for Brent Cross West further north. The new station will be a vital addition to the Thameslink network. If you do need to travel between Bedford and London during the Bank Holiday weekend, thank you for your patience. Please check a journey planner for details of the service changes and replacement bus options, and allow plenty of extra time. Be aware there may be further changes at short notice because of the coronavirus outbreak.”

People are advised to follow government guidance and wear a face covering in busy indoor settings, unless they are exempt. With good ventilation systems on trains, extra cleaning and improved information about quieter times, passengers can continue to travel with confidence.