05th December 2018
Following the hugely successful 'The Screaming Valentas' railtour on Saturday 17 November, the final amount has now been counted and the amount raised was a staggering £21,143.21.
The railtour - from Derby to Ruddington on the Great Central Railway, Nottingham (GCR-N) - utilised one of the newly refurbished East Midlands Trains 'Angel' 2+6 HST where one of the Power Cars was switched over to the the National Rail Museum's prototype Power Car '41001'.
This isn't the first time East Midlands Trains had taken an HST to the GCR-N but it was the first time that EMT had marketed a fully fledged charity Railtour to the public. In partnership with the Branch Line Society (BLS) as their ticketing agent and 125 Group who are custodians of the HST Prototype, the GCR-N were very open to the idea and the response was very positive with all 292 tickets sold within a few weeks. Sir Kenneth Grange - the person behind the iconic design of the HST - was also in attendance at the event as a special guest and he spent the day chatting with passengers as well as signing books and memorabilia.
The train was fully crewed by East Midlands Trains volunteers and the route taken on the tour traversed several non-passenger lines, certainly an interest to some on board. On arrival at Ruddington, Power Car 43467 was removed and 41001 attached - with all shunting duties being undertaken by Stagecoach Rail Managing Director, Tim Shoveller. The Valenta power unit in the preserved locomotive performed flawlessly throughout the day before being removed and 43467 was re-attached for the return journey which again took in several goods lines.
With all ticket revenue, raffle, silent auction and other fundraising efforts taken into account, the final amount raised is confirmed at £21,143.21, a sterling effort for all involved. All proceeds will go to the 125 Group as the look to build undercover facilities.
Darren Ward, East Midlands Trains Head of Drivers said “The stars of the show were the cross functional group of willing volunteers who worked tirelessly and seamlessly with colleagues from the Branch Line Society, 125 Group and GCR-N to make this possible.
“The Railtour was a great team building exercise that has also led to a significant social media presence, providing universal praise and enhancing East Midlands Trains reputation within the industry”
Gary Heelas, 125 Group Chairman said: "We are immensely and sincerely grateful to all of the volunteers and staff teams from East Midlands Trains, Branch Line Society, Great Central Railway (Nottingham) and Network Rail for their fantastic efforts and support which made this railtour happen.
“Hours of preparation and detailed planning through to hard graft delivering the service on the day, giving up their own time to raise over £21,000 for our 125 Group HST Depot Appeal. Huge thanks also to those who donated and bid for some very special auction and raffle prizes, and to everyone who bought tickets to ride ‘The Screaming Valentas'."
Kev Adlam, Fixtures Secretary for Branch Line Society said: " We were honoured and privileged to support East Midlands Trains and 125 Group with this fund raising adventure, where rail enthusiasts from many different aspects of the hobby travelled together to support a very worthy objective.
“The most rewarding part of the whole experience was the great sense of teamwork we achieved, with many organisations working together to give a fantastic experience for the passengers."
You can read more about the 125 Group by clicking here.
Author: Darren Porter
Image: East Midlands Trains