[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 17:46 GMT
First tilting train arrives early
Pendolino
The trains will not begin tilting until the autumn
The first of a fleet of tilting trains being introduced on the London to Glasgow line arrived in Scotland ahead of schedule.

Virgin Rail's Pendolino train arrived at Glasgow Central station eight minutes early, at 1358 GMT on Monday.

The company had claimed the 11m trains would offer faster and smoother rail travel and reduce journey times on the West Coast Main Line.

Currently, the top speed of the Pendolinos is 110mph.

This should increase up to 125mph once modernisation to the West Coast line is completed.

Reliability

The service managed to arrive in Glasgow ahead of schedule, despite the fact that the trains will not begin to tilt until the autumn.

Virgin said the delay in introducing the tilting mechanism, which will see speeds of up to 125mph, is because it wants to first ensure reliability.

Arriving in Glasgow on Monday, Virgin Trains' chief executive Chris Green described the service as "tremendous" and said he hoped it would lure passengers from the airlines back on to the railways.

The improvements to the West Coast Main Line will cut the 401-mile journey from London to Glasgow by about an hour to four hours and 50 minutes.

Additional work on the line between Glasgow and Crewe will further reduce journey times in the December 2005 timetable, Virgin Rail said.

Twenty years ago we thought we had got the Advanced Passenger Train to tilt but it was a technical failure - 20 years later we are back with a train that works
Chris Green
Virgin Trains

Passengers on Monday's London to Glasgow train said they were happy with the service.

Mark Jackson, 21, a student at Glasgow University who travelled from Preston on the train, said: "It was more comfortable, there was more room and there is more space for baggage. It's a definite improvement."

Alex Docherty, 40, from Port Glasgow, said he had not noticed much of a difference during his journey from Blackburn but added: "It got me here on time - that's all that matters."

Mr Green said: "Today marks an important milestone in the introduction of the Pendolino.

"Twenty years ago we thought we had got the Advanced Passenger Train to tilt but it was a technical failure - 20 years later we are back with a train that works."

Abandoned project

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 line in the 1980s before the project was abandoned in 1986.

The Pendolino trains will run on the 0830 weekday service from Euston and the 1535 return from Glasgow Central.

Virgin Rail has ordered 53 nine-car Pendolinos at a cost of 600m, with a further 600m paid to the manufacturers to maintain them.

The trains feature a shop instead of a buffet, video and audio entertainment, visual passenger information systems and an advanced train protection warning system.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Louise Batchelor
"Drivers have spent several weeks learning how to operate them"



SEE ALSO:
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


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific