APT’s 37 year record remains in tact – but only just

A bid to beat the fastest London to Glasgow time for a train, set 37 years ago by British Rail’s APT-P has missed out by just 21 seconds.

On June 17, Avanti West Coast and Network Rail, in collaboration with The Railway Magazine made a valiant bid to smash the record of 3hour 52 mins and 40 secs, set on December 12, 1984, but narrowly failed.

Nevertheless, the time of 3hrs 53min 01 sec is a new record for a Class 390 Pendolino train. The southbound record, set on September 22, 2006 is 3hrs 55min 27 secs.

Before the start of the journey at Euston, Pendolino No. 390044 was named Royal Scot by Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy.

Beating the APT record was always going to be a tight call considering the APT reached speeds of 140mph in places, something the TASS (Tilt Authorisation and Speed Supervision) on a Pendolino will simply not allow, applying the brakes over 125mph.

While Railway Performance Society member John Heaton, who officially recorded the run for The Railway Magazine’s July issue, still has to analyse in detail why the record attempt just missed out, it is known time was lost at Stafford as a result of a slower approach because of the investigation of an overhead line equipment fault which affected a Class 350 heading south.

A 50mph speed restriction at Carstairs also cost vital seconds too. Despite the bid failing, money has been raised for two charities, the Railway Benefit Fund and Action for Children.

Full story in the July issue of The Railway Magazine.

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