390044 record attempt Winwick Junction 170621

UK: Despite some very impressive work by driver Neil Barker, an attempt by Avanti West Coast to set a new record for the London – Glasgow route on June 17 narrowly missed beating the record established by a pre-series Advanced Passenger Train in December 1984.

Train 1Z57 departed from London Euston a minute early at 10.35, and other services were moved to slow lines or put into loops to allow it a clear run through to Glasgow where it arrived at 14.29.

Official Time - stopwatch held by timer John Heaton

The 401 mile run took just 21 sec longer than the APT-P time of 3 h 52 min 40 sec, which was achieved on a run where overspeeding was permitted. That enabled the APT to run at up to 140 mile/h in several places, whereas Pendolino 390 044 was limited to the normal line speeds. Had the train gone over the permitted speed by more than 3 mile/h the Tilt Authorisation & Speed Supervision system would have intervened, instructing the driver to slow down and triggering a brake application if he did not respond. The new time is therefore regarded as a record for a Pendolino and for a train obeying all restrictions.

Two significant incidents are believed to have caused the Pendolino to miss the record, including a requirement to slow to pass a Class 350 EMU caught up in collapsed overhead wiring south of Stafford and the need to reduce the train’s speed to 50 mile/h through an emergency speed restriction at Carstairs, where track remodelling is in progress. The latter is estimated to have cost around a minute, suggesting that a new record would still be possible if the route were completely free of issues.

The special run was arranged in conjunction with The Railway Magazine and charities Action for Children and the Railway Benefit Fund, and saw the trainset named Royal Scot before departure from London Euston.