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Last Updated: Friday, 12 December, 2003, 07:36 GMT
Time to tilt on track
The trains will reduce journey times between London and Scotland

A high speed passenger train which tilts as it travels round corners, will show off its full potential at 125mph on a specially-modified stretch of track.

Virgin's Pendolino trains had previously been prevented from using the tilt mechanism because of speed restrictions due to development problems, upgrading of the West Coast Mainline and fears that state-of-the-art trains could interfere with signals.

But a special service on Friday will be the first time the trains have carried passengers in the high speed tilt mode

The special service will leave at 0830 GMT from London's Euston station and will be able to tilt along the specially modified stretch of track in the Trent Valley, from Rugby to Lichfield in Staffordshire at speeds of up to 125mph.

First passengers

Senior industry figures and invited guests will travel on the journey.

Strategic Rail Authority chairman, Richard Bowker, and Network Rail chief executive, John Armitt, will be among the first passengers to travel on the West Coast Mainline service.

Virgin Trains has ordered 53 nine-car Pendolino trains at a cost of 600m with a further 600m paid to the manufacturers to maintain them.

Thirty-two of the trains are already in service and a new one is due to arrive every two weeks, the company said.

The Pendolino will eventually replace the existing London to Manchester trains.

Project abandoned

Features include a shop instead of a buffet, video and audio entertainment, visual passenger information systems and the train protection warning system.

Tilting trains were developed by British Rail in the 1970s and led to the creation of the Advanced Passenger Train.

Prototypes of these operated on the West Coast Mainline in the 1980s before the project was abandoned in 1986.

But the concept was taken up, notably in Italy and Sweden, which went on to develop successful tilting trains.

Virgin hopes to use the Pendolinos to reduce journey times between London and Scotland by about an hour to four hours 33 minutes by 2006.

Network Rail to get an extra 7bn
12 Dec 03  |  Business
More problems for Pendolino
02 May 03  |  England
Tilting train on track for Games
23 Jul 02  |  England
Trial run for tilting train
08 Oct 01  |  England

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