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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Fears over tilting trains delay
The tilting train
The tilting trains will cut journey times
The Railtrack crisis could delay the introduction of the UK's first high-speed tilting trains in time for this summer's Commonwealth Games, it has emerged.

Virgin Rail is ready to run the hi-tec trains in non-tilting mode between London and Manchester ahead of the July games.


Dealing with Railtrack while it is in administration is proving a nightmare for them [Virgin]

Industry source

But the train operator is having problems getting permission to run the service because Railtrack is in administration, according to industry sources.

It is also understood Sir Richard Branson's Virgin fears the roll-out of the 125mph Italian-built Pendolino trains on the London to Scotland West Coast line set for May next year could be further delayed.

Faster journeys

The start of the services has already had to be put back from May this year because of delays in the 7bn upgrade of track and signalling on the West Coast line.

"The Pendolinos are ready to roll and Virgin wants to use them for the Commonwealth Games, but dealing with Railtrack while it is in administration is proving a nightmare for them," said an industry source.

The arrival of the tilting trains will drastically cut journey times on the West Coast route.

The trains will run in non-tilt mode first between London and Manchester at 110mph.

Services from London to Liverpool, Scotland and the West Midlands will follow.

Journey times cut

Virgin wants to get 125mph tilting trains into service on some sections of line in October and on all sections from May 2003.

The trains should cut the London-Manchester journey time of two hours 25 minutes by 20 minutes by next year.

London-Glasgow times will be reduced by more than an hour to four hours 15 minutes.

One of the trains will be making a first appearance in London on Tuesday when it arrives at Euston station.

See also:

03 Apr 02 | Business
Railtrack drops court threat
26 Nov 01 | Business
Virgin's high speed trains delayed
25 Nov 01 | Business
More delays at Railtrack
08 Oct 01 | England
Trial run for tilting train
12 Jul 01 | UK
Tilting trains hit trouble
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