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Pauls Railway Web

Advanced Passenger Train - Experimental

APT - E at the National Railway Museum.

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On the 11th June 1976 the APT-E arrived at its final resting place the National Railway Museum in York.    Britains then fastest train was about to become part of railway history and plans were made to display the APT-E in three car form outside the museum,  this formation consisting of PC1, TC1 and PC2.    TC2 was to be mounted on modified bogies inside the museum and a simple tilt pack control system was produced so that the trains unique tilting feature could be displayed to the general public.   As a small boy I remember looking in wonder at the APT-E with its futuristic lines and metallic paintwork and laminated windows,   try as I could, I never did manage to see what lay inside TC2 as the windows always reflected back my image.

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The train was to stand alongside the main car park of the museum as an impressive introduction to the visitor and from 1976 until the mid nineteen eighties the train stood out in the cold,  by this time the attitude to the APT-E had changed drastically,  many people brought into question why the train should stay at the museum and not be scrapped as the APT project as a whole was in total disarray.    The NRM at that time had acquired the old goods sheds and yards at the other side of the road to the museum,  this was used at first as temporary storage and was out of bounds to the public.   It was decided that the APT-E should be shunted out of the main museum car park and placed alongside the goods yard until a decision could be made as to the trains future.   TC2 was removed from the inner museum and placed on a stretch of track behind a fence next to the car park.    But in August 1999 the museum opened its new 4 million pound "Workshop" area and this allowed  TC2 and the  Articulated bogie and E1 bogie  from outside to be displayed inside.   TC2 was also given a good cleaning,  also on display were cross sections of an APT-E Hyrokinetic brake axle and two Gas Turbine engines.

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The museum has now opened the goods sheds and yards to the public and if you go to the very back of the goods yard you will find the APT-E.

I have visited the museum many times to see if anything has happened to the APT-E and as I have been standing looking at the train various visitors of the museum have joked,

"What is that bit of scrap doing in the museum ?????????"

It seems as the APT project ground to a halt,  people forgot about the technical advances made with the development of the APT-E and APT-P trains.     Many visitors laugh at the APT-E saying things like "OH! that's the one that didn't work and it made people feel sick.   What people should realise is that without the APT project we would have not had the High Speed Train,   and the Class 91 "Electra" would have never been built nor would the MK4 coaches that the class 91 pulls.  A vast amount of technical data was put into the new class of British high speed trains from the APT project.

It is incredible that any APT vehicles were built considering "Maggie Thachers" attitude to the railways during her rule of this country.  She only ever travelled on a train once and was even hell bent on the channel tunnel being a road tunnel not rail,  she viewed the railways with contempt and thus cut spending at any opportunity,  roads not rail was the Thacherite way for Britain to move forward.

In 1984 the APT-P trains had vindicated themselves as reliable and a project worth pursuing but the government had no view towards this great British innovation and forced BR to cancel the project.     The Intercity 225 project was conceived to replace the APT, but this time competitive tender was used to acquire the new rolling stock.     The technical data from the APT project was available to anyone who wished to tender a design,  of which GEC used the largest majority to produce the Class 91 "Electra".      We have now bought back the data that we produced with the APT programme,   and we wonder why Britain no longer rules the railway world!!!!

France, Switzerland, USA and Italy have all taken the lead with tilting trains,   and many have used data and lessons learned from the British APT to produce there own rolling stock.   GNER and Virgin Trains are buying tilting trains from various countries and all have some features of the APT in them.

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In 1996 the NRM held there annual "Modern Railway Weekend" and because some of the planned visiting locomotives were unable to attend, it was decided to open the APT-E for public tours.

This leaflet was produced to explain the APT-E and to give a little insight into the trains background.

Before the "Modern Railway Weekend" the APT-E looked like this :

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And for the weekend it looked like this :

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In the mid 1990's I was given access to the train by the NRM in York,  thus making this project possible,  many many thanks must go to Richard Gibbon for allowing me into the train on several occasions to take photographs and video footage of this fascinating piece of railway history.

In 1996 the original design team gathered at the NRM to see the APT-E again and to talk about the failure of Britain to take the lead in tilting trains,   many engineers had left BR with very bitter feelings about the fact that APT was not pushed into full squadron service.

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It pains me to think of the time and effort wasted since the APT did not enter everyday service,   many people don't understand what effect the APT has had on railways in Britain and around the world,   they just remember the press cuttings and TV footage of the APT-P being towed by a class 47 back to Glasgow after another failed run.   But the truth is that the APT-P trains were pushed into service in extreme weather conditions and also the trains themselves had not been through a vigorous testing program.   The development team were very short on resources and time,   the business side of BR wanted a super train "NOW" regardless of the cost in reliability.

After the APT-P's were withdrawn for further development many of the "BIGWIGS" who had never seen the APT as a viable product thought they had seen the last of the APT trains, but in 1984 the APT-P's had gained a reputation for speed and reliability and was given a regular departure time from Euston,   this service ran with no publicity from the press or TV until 1986 when the APT project was laid to rest in favour of the Intercity 225 project.

I travelled on one of the scheduled trains from Euston to Glasgow and back and I have to say it was an experience I will never forget,  comfortable,  fast and a pleasure to ride on,  this is my lasting impression of the APT project not the failure that most people seem to remember and talk about even today.

At the end of 1999 I asked if anyone was interested in helping me save the E train from destruction.  Since April 2000 a "Support Group" has been working on the train to conserve this very important part of our railway history, after all without E train the new breed of highspeed trains would not exists.  If you would like further information about joining the support group or just wanting to know what we are doing with E Train please click on this link.

I hope I have conveyed my feelings about the APT project in these web pages and that you have found them informative and interesting and I hope that you can see the positive side of the whole APT project.

Long live the ADVANCED PASSENGER TRAIN

The worlds most advanced passenger train.

For a complete thumbnail list of my APT material, including photographs taken inside the APT-E please see my APT PHOTO INDEX PAGE.

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Any thoughts about the APT please Email me on Paul@APT-E.Org

Interested in helping to conserving the APT-E,  Click Here.

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