Showing posts from January, 2011

The Super Continental

The Super Continental had her inauguration run on 24 April 1955 (same day the Canadian Pacific Railway launched The Canadian) as the new flagship transcontinental passenger train of the Canadian National Railways, replacing the Continental Limited. Like The Canadian, the Super Continental ran 2 sections out of Montreal (Train 1) and Toronto (Train 51), joining up in Capreol, ON as a single Train 1 to continue her westbound journey to Vancouver. In her 3,000-mile journey, she travelled through Sioux Lookout, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Jasper but only took 72 hours between Montreal and Vancouver, 70 hours between Toronto and Vancouver, with an average start-stop speed of 40 mph (64 km/h). Unlike The Canadian, the Super Continental did not feature dome cars until CN had acquired some from the Milwaukee Road in the 1960s.

Super Continental in the 1960s
Super Continental (left) at Washago, ON in 1967
In 1978, Via Rail Canada, a newly formed Crown Corporation, assumed responsibility f…

British Rail Advanced Passenger Train

The Advanced Passenger Train (APT) Project, divided into three phases, the experimental APT-E, prototype APT-P, and squadron fleet APT-S, was going to produce Britain’s own TGV but for existing rail infrastructure. However, due to on-going technical problems and the lack of funding and political willingness, the APT Project ended prematurely at the APT-P phase and the train never saw mass production.

Unlike conventional high-speed trains, the APT-E was a 4-car, articulated active tilting trainset powered by gas turbines (also see UAC Turbo). The train consisted of 2 powered control cars at the ends each equipped with five 330 hp (246 kW) gas turbines (4 of them for traction, 1 for auxiliary power supplies) and 2 non-powered trailers in the middle. Four articulated bogies are shared between the 4 carriages making the APT-E an entire unit. The APT-E first ran on 25 July 1972 and achieved a new British railway speed record of 152.3 mph (245 km/h) on 10 August 1975.

The APT-E, not the pre…

British Rail InterCity 225

The InterCity 225 can be thought of as the much younger, electric, cousin of the diesel-electric InterCity 125. It is the spin-off of the failed Advanced Passenger Train project. Unlike the InterCity 125, which has a top revenue speed of 125 mph (201 km/h), the number 225 indicates her top design speed of 225 km/h (140 mph). In revenue service, due to the lack of in-cab signalling on the British Rail system (except for High Speed One), the top revenue speed of any train is restricted to 125 mph to guarantee stopping distance between two signals in case of emergency.

InterCity 225 at York Station in British Rail livery
InterCity 225 in GNER livery after Privatisation
Thirty-one sets of the InterCity 225 were manufactured between 1988 and 1991 (refurbished between 2001 and 2006). They consist of one BREL (British Rail Engineering Limited) Class 91 electric locomotive on one end producing 6,300 horsepower (4,700 kW), 9 intermediate AlstomMk 4 carriages, and a BREL DVT (Driving Van Traile…

The Flying Scotsman

Born in 1862 as the Special Scotch Express, the Flying Scotsman is an express passenger train in the Great Britain. For more than 180 years this train has linked London King's Cross Station with destinations on the East Coast Main Line and Scotland.

Reproduction of 1960s British Rail poster from the NRM
Flying Scotsman in 1928 hauled by Class A1 locomotive
Departing daily at 10:00 at Great Northern Railway's London King's Cross and North British Railway's Edinburgh Waverly, the Special Scotch Express took only 10 and half hours in 1862 to complete the 393-mile (632 km) journey with only a half-hour lunch stop at York. This journey time was further improved in 1888 to 8 and half hours as a result of the Race to the North. In 1924, under the London and North Eastern Railway, the Special Scotch Express officially renamed the train Flying Scotsman, her unofficial name since the 1870s, the famous name it had been known since then.

The Flying Scotsman today is one among many 1…