Written by: TrainSim-James
Takes off on West Coast Main Line Over Shap
The most Advanced Passenger Train, available now for Train Simulator!
The Advanced Passenger Train Prototype, uniquely designed to provide faster journey times on the West Coast Main Line, has arrived for breathtakingly fast Train Simulator services!
The WCML, and other lines in Britain, were plagued with a multitude of twists and turns as railway companies of old attempted to navigate the hilly landscape; and while trains could probably take turns at higher speeds than they did, the passenger’s comfort would be jeopardised. The answer was thought to be rail vehicles which could tilt into curves, eliminating lateral forces, and so the Advanced Passenger Train project was envisioned.
One of the two power cars that some APT consists had in the centre. Each of these could provide 4000 horsepower, making for some of Britain’s most powerful traction.
In 1979, the BR Class 370 ‘APT-P’ (Prototype) was completed. The APT-P consisted of six rakes and spare driving second & brake first vehicles, numbered 370001 – 370007. Each rake would contain up to six articulated trailer vehicles and one non-driving motor vehicle, so that each train set would comprise of two such rakes with the motor vehicles being situated in the centre of the formation. These formations resulted in three almost identical sets of 12 to 14 vehicles in length.
Each centrally-positioned power car consisted of four traction motors, delivering upwards of 4,000hp per power car. With around 8,000hp propelling the APT-P in total, it earned the accolade of the most powerful domestic passenger train in the UK, and would undoubtedly be able to reduce journey times, all it needed was a good tilting system.
Needless to say, it was good, it was very good, and in fact it was too good – as claimed by passengers and press. The tilting system was so effective that you could not tell it was tilting, but when looking out the window, feeling level-headed and seeing the countryside bobbing up and down at the same time caused seasick-like discomfort.
In order to be moved away from the wires, the nose of APT can lift to allow coupling to other locomotives. In this configuration, the tilt system is isolated.
Due to the shoestring budget during engineering, there were flaws in the manufacturing of the power car bogies which resulted in poorly fitting brake equipment. This caused brakes to stick to the wheel of the power cars causing them to overheat. There were also problems with various lubricants used throughout the power cars which caused oil filter blockages.
Despite the technical troubles, APT-P would offer a passenger relief service between London and Glasgow, three days a week, between 1983 and 1985. However, it was forced into service during December and failed on one of its first big outings, dealing damage in the public eye.
Ultimately, the planned APT project would never be fully developed into the APT-S (Squadron) sets. The APT-P powercar would instead influence the BR Class 91 InterCity 225 of the East Coast Main Line, and the tilting technology would be sold to Fiat, who refined their Pendolino family and would eventually sell their train sets back in the form of the BR Class 390, the tilting, spiritual successor to the APT-P.
Working the West Coast Main Line doesn’t get much better than when you’re aboard APT. According to drivers, APT was the best thing out on the rails.
Today, only a single, almost complete, APT-P has survived into preservation and is housed at the Crewe Heritage Railway Centre next to its old stomping grounds, the West Coast Main Line. Despite drawing people from all over the world, APT-P has suffered and is all but a shadow of her former self.
Entirely unique in every right, and with a service speed of 125mph, a design speed of 155 and a record speed of 162.2, the APT-P, while flawed, has its own place in railway history; and now, its tale can be yours to continue, as the much-loved BR Class 370 ‘APT-P’ is available now for Train Simulator!
All these features have firmly earned the BR Class 370 ‘APT-P’ a slot within the Pro Range!
The BR Class 370 ‘APT-P’ is available now, head to the Store and experience the West Coast Main Line’s fallen stallion!
370002 snakes around some of the many twists and turns that make up the historic West Coast Main Line, giving a full display of tilt in the process (above). Further along the line, 370007 is spotted braving the elements and preparing to dominate Shap unlike any other traction before, or after the short-lived reign of APT (below).
A snow-dressed West Coast Main Line awaits 370006 on a wintry southbound service for London Euston. The APT performed the most limited of expresses, stopping only at Motherwell and Preston, covering the 400-mile Glasgow to London journey in roughly 4 blinding hours.
The best seat on offer is without a doubt the cab of APT. Futuristic is the best way to describe it, at least it would’ve been to drivers of the 1980s, complete with on-board C-APT (Control-APT), a driver advisory system which provided enhanced speed limits which APT was exclusively authorised to (above). Once given a higher speed limit, APT’s true potential was unlocked, demonstrated here by 370005 which leans into the curve on a high-speed northbound service (below).
It is a vibrant summer evening over the outskirts of Carlisle, and 370005 is seen again accelerating south (above). When glimpsed by the Sun, APT’s distinctive InterCity Executive livery brings an extra touch of colour to the Cumbrian countryside (below).
While typically 12 to 14 cars in length, the early days of APT saw plenty of variation in that practice, and south of Penrith we come across a short set working the West Coast Main Line on-test, passing a BR Class 47 sporting the popular Large Logo livery.
The APT-P, unmatched and unconventional in every right, available now for Train Simulator!