Sunday, 7 October 2007

What's outside today 26 - Virgin Pendolino

My dirty little secret - I may be a motoring journalist but I also enjoy a nice long train journey. I'm on an off-duty visit to Manchester at the moment and I decided to let the train take the strain - here it can be seen this afternoon at journey's end at Piccadilly station. A very good job it did too.

A special thank you, too, by the way, to the bearded one for providing so many laptop power points on his new rolling stock.

Today's trip reminded me of another journey I took on the West Coast Main Line way back in 1984. A student friend of mine who was a bit of a train-spotter tipped me off that the British designed and built tilting train, the APT (Advanced Passenger Train) was running as an unadvertised relief train on services between London and Glasgow. With his help, I was able to make sure I got a ticket for the APT, which I remember as a great performer - I experienced none of that stuff about spilt coffees and queasy stomachs that filled the British press at the time and finished the APT off. I think I read somewhere that the queasiness was caused by the amount that various hacks had to drink on the demonstration trips rather than the characteristics of the train itself, although I don't know how much truth there was in that.

Anyway, apparently, our British tilting train technology ended up in Italy where it was incorporated in the Pendolino line on which Virgin's trains serving the Northwest are based, so it made it onto the WCML in the end.

1 comment:

Fourwheelsteer said...

One of my earliest memories is being impressed by the APT train set in the Hornby catalogue. To a lad who's early experience of trains was the ancient slam-door stock of the South Eastern region the APT seemed impossibly futuristic. I can still rememer watching the evening news when it was announced that the APT had been canned.

The Pendolino is another impressive machine. I travelled on one down the West Coast mainline into London. It was smooth, quiet, spacious and comfortable - by a considerable margin the nicest train journey I've ever made, I think I felt better when I arrived than I did when I set out.