One of the fastest and most influential trains in the world is being welcomed into its new home at Coventry’s Electric Railway Museum.
The Advanced Passenger Train Prototype’s non-driving power car, number 49006, arrives on loan from the National Railway Museum and will undergo restoration work by Electric Railway Museum volunteers. The Advanced Passenger Train Prototype (APT-P) was the first to successfully implement an active tilt mechanism, increasing speeds significantly on tight rail curves. The most powerful domestic train to have operated in Britain, it set the UK rail speed record of 162.2 mph in December 1979 – a record that stood for 23 years.
The power car was built by British Rail in Derby and saw service between 1983 and 1985 on the West Coast Main Line, between London Euston and Glasgow. It was then used for electric locomotive development work, resulting in the Class 91 design, now used on the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh.
APT-P was also the precursor to trains such as the Virgin Pendolinos, which operate on the West Coast Main Line today, serving Coventry, Rugby and Birmingham.
Unusually for a vehicle in the centre of a train, it was built with no passenger accommodation; most of the space being taken up with electrical equipment. This meant the train was effectively divided into two halves. Following the decline and withdrawal of the project, most of the six APT-P sets were scrapped, leaving one set (preserved at the Crewe Heritage Centre) and 49006, claimed by the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York. In recent years, 49006 has been stored at the NRM’s annex in Shildon, County Durham.
Despite a weathered appearance, the vehicle’s structure is in sound condition and Electric Railway Museum volunteers will carry out a cosmetic restoration of the power car, which will involve four days’ worth of painting.
Electric Railway Museum aims to promote the heritage of all electric trains in the UK through traction and rolling stock restoration, display and operation along with work in gathering historically relevant technical and photographic archives. The work of Electric Railway Museum is entirely run by volunteers and funded by donations from the public.
Chairman of Electric Railway Museum, Graeme Gleaves said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled that another significant artefact telling the story of electric railway traction has come to Coventry. We would like to thank the Transport Trust for their generous financial assistance in moving the APT-P to Coventry.
‘The public will get their first glimpse of the APT-P in its new home on the weekend of Saturday 10 and 11 September 2011, when the whole museum site will be open as part of Heritage Open Days. We’ll be open 11am – 5pm both days and admission is free.’
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Electric Railway Museum