The 125 Group Project Miller team is absolutely delighted to announce that yesterday, 15th November 2014, Prototype HST Power Car 41001 hauled ‘The Screaming Valenta’ launch special, celebrating entry to service following restoration, and its first passenger train since 1976.
This charity special, with all proceeds going to Project Miller, began its journey as a regular East Midlands Trains production High Speed Train, shortened at Etches Park Depot from the normal eight coaches to only six, with power cars 43045 and 43054 at either end of the set. Starting from Derby at 1025, also picking up at Loughborough, the train conveyed invited guests, supporters of Project Miller and 125 Group members. Also on-board was special guest Sir Kenneth Grange, eminent industrial designer of the iconic shape of the prototype and production HSTs and Honorary President of 125 Group.
At Loughborough South Junction the special crossed onto the Great Central Railway (Nottingham), continuing through to Ruddington, where shunting took place and 41001 replaced production power car 43045 on the set. Following speeches from Sir Kenneth and senior railway figures and a champagne toast, passengers re-boarded for the maiden journey. The hybrid HST departed from Ruddington, with the power cars running in full multiple operation, both powering the train. Following reversal at Fifty Steps, the Prototype Power Car led the train on a storming run up the GC Mainline to Loughborough High Level, pausing en-route at Rushcliffe Halt for photographs.
‘The Screaming Valenta’ then returned north with 41001 at the rear, still providing traction power. At Ruddington the power cars were swapped back and the train returned to Leicester, Loughborough and Derby, bringing to a close a truly historic day for 125 Group, the High Speed Train and railway preservation. 41001 and the East Midlands Trains HST performed faultlessly throughout the runs, this is the first time a Paxman Valenta has powered a passenger train since this engine type was withdrawn from mainline use in 2010.
We would like to give sincere thanks to everyone who has supported Project Miller so far, 125 Group members, individual donors, many railway industry friends and companies who have so generously given their services. Special thanks to East Midlands Trains who hosted initial restoration at Neville Hill depot and for operating this charity special, crewed by their volunteer staff giving their own time, with all proceeds going to Project Miller and the continued restoration of 41001, which is owned by the National Railway Museum.
The full behind the scenes story of ‘The Screaming Valenta’ will be available only in the 125 Group members’ magazine ‘One Two Five’. To make sure you get your own copy, join 125 Group at our website www.125group.org.uk
We look forward to 41001 hauling public trains on Great Central Railway (Nottingham) next year and an exciting future for this working historic High Speed Train prototype power car. Railway engineering is expensive, if you would like to contribute towards the continued upkeep of 41001, which is part of the National Collection, then please click on the ‘Donate’ button, Thank You.