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 prettiest of high-speed trains

The APT-P sets are also known as British Rail Class 370 and the InterCity APT. Instead of using gas turbines, the Class 370 used conventional overhead electrification and was powered by 2 motor cars placed mid-train producing a total of 8,000 hp (6 MW). Interestingly there are no through passages in the mid-train motor cars and passengers cannot access one half of the train from the other. Three Class 370 trainsets were built and each consisted of 6 non-powered carriages on either side of the 2 mid-train motor cars. The APT-P was in service from 1980 to 1986 on the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Glasgow Central. It had achieved a UK rail speed record of 162.2 mph (261 km/h) in December 1979, a record never broken by any other British-made high-speed trains (current UK speed record holder is the Class 373, a French TGV trainset operated by Eurostar).

What's left of the APT-P at Crewe

Driving trailer of the APT-P

Mid-train motor cars of the APT-P

The APT Project ended prematurely in 1986 with the withdrawal of the Class 370 from service. However the APT lived on in the forms of many other trains. The tilting technology developed from the APT was sold to Fiat (now Alstom) to improve the second generation of Pendolino tilting trains which were later sold globally (and in Britain, the Virgin Trains Class 390); the APT had also heavily influenced the designs of newer generations of British trains including the Class 91 used on the InterCity 225.


Popular posts from this blog

A little bit on Pantographs

Briefly on the AAR Coupler Part 2

Electro Motive SD90MAC