Rail News: The Prototype High Speed Train – Back on the rails!

Mike Humble / Project Miller Group:

The 125 Group “Project Miller Team” are delighted to announce that on the 31st May 2014 prototype power car 41001 successfully completed a loaded test run at the Great Central Railway (Nottingham), running under its own power for the first time in preservation. This is a huge achievement and we are most grateful to everyone who has supported the restoration project.

Following its Spring Tour to the Swanage and Didcot railways, 41001 was hauled back to Ruddington on Tuesday.  Since then, the team have been working hard changing the compressor, configuring the final drive to the motors and preparing the power car for full operational testing.

York 1973 - B.R research engineers and crew pose alongside the prototype HST after breaking the world speed for a diesel train record (143mph) on a proving run between Darlington and York    Pic - traintesting.com
York 1973 – B.R research engineers and crew pose alongside the prototype HST after breaking the world speed record for a diesel train (143mph) on a proving run between Darlington and York    (Pic – traintesting.com)

History was made at 10:25am today when 41001′s power controller was moved from ‘Off’ to ‘Notch 1′, brakes released and the power car moved from the yard at Ruddington into Ruddington Fields station.  This is the first time 41001 has moved under it’s own power for 32 years.  After some more solo running around the station area, 56097 and two Mk2 coaches were then attached and the ‘Grid’ hauled the train around the curve to the north end of the line at Fifty Steps.

With the power car now at the front, the points were pulled and set for the Great Central Mainline.  After moving off gently, the power car accelerated the train up to full power notch 5, exercising the traction motors and clearing out the exhaust!  Following a brief stop to make sure everything was in order, 41001 continued powering the test train to the end of the line at Loughborough, coming to a stand next to Brush Works.  After celebrations all round, the class 56 took the train back to Fifty Steps and the power car hauled the ensemble back into Ruddington.

41001′s engine S508 performed faultlessly throughout the run, this is the first time a Paxman Valenta has powered a train since the type were withdrawn from mainline use in 2010.

The 125 Group Project Miller team would like to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us, 125 Group members, enthusiasts, individuals, railway industry friends and corporate supporters too many to list but special mention should be made of East Midlands Trains who hosted restoration at Neville Hill depot and Brush Traction, especially Dave Moore who has provided fantastic expert engineering support. Thanks also to our friends at GCR(N) who have made us so welcome at Ruddington, and for their invaluable help with the test run.

Prototype HST as brand new ex Crewe works 1792
Prototype HST as brand new ex Crewe works 1972

The full behind the scenes story of how we got 41001 moving again will be available only in the 125 Group members’ magazine ‘One Two Five’, join 125 Group to make sure you get your copy.  www.125group.org.uk

Restoration and commissioning will now continue on 41001, including more work on the traction and braking systems, plus rain-proofing and numerous smaller tasks, with the aim of getting the power car fit to haul passenger trains reliably on the GCR(N).  There is still much to do, and railway engineering is expensive, so please help them by visiting the site, getting involved and donate some spare pennies for a very worthy and historical cause.

You can see 001 being put through its paces by CLICKING HERE

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