Thirty years ago, the Advanced Passenger Train represented the future of inter-city rail travel in Britain, a revolutionary tilting train that promised far higher speeds on existing tracks than conventional trains.
Sadly the project suffered many teething troubles after the trains entered public service prematurely, and generated much negative press in the media. In a climate where the governement of the day was so hostile to the rail industry that fringe cranks who wanted the entire rail network converted into roads had the ear of ministers, the project was abandoned, and the trains scrapped.
Only a few coaches now survive, on public display at the Crewe Heritage centre, where they’re formed into a shortened representation of a typical set. What’s left of the train that represents what rail travel could have been sits alongside the West Coast Main Line, the route for which it was designed.
Now Virgin Trains’ Pendolinos and Super Voyagers speed past, running between London and Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, delivering what the APT promised a generation before.