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Pauls Railway Web

Advanced Passenger Train - Experimental

APT - E on the mainline.

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APT-E first mainline run was on the 25th July 1972,   2 rounds trips from the Research Centre to Duffield was planned at a ground breaking speed of 25 mph,    due to a large amount of technical faults during the first run the second trip was cancelled.   Due to the single man driver configuration in APT-E's cab ASLEF the train drivers union "BLACKED" the train for twelve months on the grounds that ASLEF declared it to be unsafe for one person to be at the controls of a train travelling at 100 mph +.   The APT-E sat in the Research Centre sidings from 26th July1972 to the 8th August 1973 although some rig testing was to continue during this time.

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The second mainline run was on the 21st August 1973 to Leicester successfully reaching the permitted line limit for a conventional train.

On the 21st September 1973 the APT-E was to attain a speed on 100mph on the test track.

During the October of 1974 the APT-E reached 100 mph between Luton and Bedford for the first time on the mainline and on the 12th November 1974 a speed on 125 mph was reached on the same line.

After extensive testing on the Old Dalby test track it was decided to allow the APT-E onto the mainline,  this was to enable the train to reach its design speed of 155 mph, a feet not possible on the test track.   It was arranged that APT-E would be tested between Swindon and Reading on Sundays of July, August and September 1975.    On the first Sunday clearance was given to run the train up to 120 mph,   this was to allow a degree of driver training.  Each testing sessions was to allow for 2 complete trips.

As mainline testing progressed speeds increased steadily, 130.9 mph, 135.3 mph,   until on the third test run the train attained a speed of 144.3 mph which equalled the British speed record held by the prototype HST set in 1973.

Greater things were to come,  on the 10th August 1975 the train was to set a new British speed record of 152.3 mph,  this was no mean achievement at a time when there were little resources for development and the resentment held by many of the railway bigwigs towards the APT project.


Hits 152.3 mph

Photograph taken at Didcot.

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Hits 152.3 mph

Photograph taken at Didcot.

Yes APT-E could run fast on the straight,  but could it handle a speed run on one of the most curvaceous routes from St.Pancras to Leicester.   On the 30th August 1975 this was put to the test.    The journey of 99.1 miles was covered in a record breaking 58.5 mins,  with a maximum speed attained of 136.7 mph,   it also attained an average speed of 111.7 mph for 88 miles.  The fastest service train for that route could only manage a complete journey time of 84 mins at an average speed of 70.8 mph.

This was the last time APT-E was to hit the headlines as the decision had been made to suspend running to concentrate resources on the the development of the APT-P trains.

It was decided to donate the train to the National Railway Museum in York for public display.

APT-Es last test run was on the 2nd April 1976 and on the 11th June 1976 the train made its way to the NRM in York.   The train arrived outside the museum at 10.48 having travelled a total of 23,559 miles during its short four year running.

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