The Advanced American Passenger Train

The Advanced American Passenger Train

The following is reproduced from a booklet titled
"The Advanced American Passenger Train Presented by The Budd Company and The British Railways Board".


Going Our Way

On October 27, 1969, in Washington, D.C., in the presence of the Honorable John A. Volpe, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, a licensing agreement was signed between The Budd Company, as the head of a consortium of North American Companies, and British Railways Board, to bring to our shores a broad "package" of technology and know-how which can be incorporated in the design, engineering, construction, and operation of an Advanced American Passenger Train (AAPT).

Outstanding among the advantages of applying such proven technology would be the accelerated achievement of the AAPT capable of operating on the existing roadbeds in heavily traveled corridors between U.S. cities and at speeds in excess of 150 mph.

The purpose of the Budd - BR partnership is to work with the U.S. D.O.T., and the transportation industry, in making the AAPT a practical reality and a viable solution to America's transportation needs of the mid-seventies.


A Changing Role

Last year, The Budd Company announced the dis-continuance of railway car manufacturing at the conclusion of present contracts. The engineering expertise that created so many milestone trains in the past remains within our present competence.

All the engineering and technical disciplines of The Budd Company are available to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the transportation industry, to produce this advanced passenger equipment.

The spectrum of Budd talents and facilities for Program Management includes:

These unique Budd capabilities supplemented by the technology available through our exclusive license with BR offers "capagility" for accomplishment of Advanced Transport Technology. The Advanced American Passenger Train.


Advanced Transport Technology

Derby Research Centre

Ten years ago British Railways created the Derby Laboratories. This has been steadily developed to the point where BR has unrivalled railway technical and engineering facilities at this location.

It comprises the Advanced Projects Laboratory, which is concerned primarily with the APT and, in addition -

The Track Laboratory.

Sub-soil, ballast, rail fasteners, rail steel, concrete sleepers and new projects, notably the slab track.

The Electrical Laboratory.

Signalling and power matters, notably, the train control project.

The Chemical Laboratory.

A range of problems from paint, cleaning, plastics, lubrication to rail adhesion and new battery systems.

The Engineering Laboratory.

The engineering properties of materials, notably, fatigue.

Design, Procurement and Workshop facilities are also housed in the Research Centre. The total staff is 1000.

Today the Derby Research Centre is unique in railways. It is of railways for railways. It is equipped to deal with the whole range of railway technical matters, not only those arising out of current operating practices but to offer solutions for future commercial needs. It is uniquely set up to examine total engineering problems and to concentrate on system optimisation. The design of rolling stock particularly in relation to static loads and unsprung mass and the design of track are interactive problems, as also are signalling and braking matters and matters of track and sub-soil.

Derby's strength is its ability to apply advanced technology to railway and kindred surface guided transport systems as part of a package aimed to optimise the system needs.


The APT Concept

With the re-awakening of interest in passenger railroading as a positive means of transport the British almost a decade ago devoted time, talent and money to an examination of advanced rail technology.

This engineering research into the dynamics of railway vehicles together with the application of new, but available, technology from other industries has stimulated a reappraisal of the prospects for rail transport for the future. This has led to the concepts embodied in BR's Advanced Passenger Train (APT).

The APT has been conceived as a high performance railway train capable of running at high speeds on existing tracks and with existing signalling.

Initially, the APT will run at speeds up to 155 mph and its average speed will be well over 100 mph. Two clear advantages: the train can deliver its passengers faster than the automobile and it makes "one day round trips" possible for distances of up to 300 miles.


The Consist

The BR-APT is an articulated formation of trailer cars with a power car, containing engineer's cabs at each end. The number of trailer cars is determined by performance requirements and increased capacity can be obtained by adding unit multiples.



Key to ride quality and speed - fresh approach to design of "bogie" -

Car Structure

Lightweight double-skin monocoque units can be designed.

Power System

Consists of a multiple installation of automotive gas turbines of 400 HP. There are five turbines in each power car driving alternators. Four turbo-alternators feed silicon controlled rectifiers which supply bogie frame mounted D.C. electric motors. These Motors drive the axle through a flexible drive. The fifth turbo-alternator provides electric supply for the train. Advantages of this power system are:


Braking is important because the APT is intended to operate on existing tracks with existing signalling at high speeds. To cater for the large amount of energy to be dissipated, a hydrokinetic brake has been developed. Used in conjunction with a body mounted radiator and using water-glycol as fluid, this brake provides high capacity with low truck mass.


The BR-APT Development Program

  1. The testing of critical APT sub-systems is nearing completion.
  2. An experimental four-car train is now under construction. This unit will be operational in 1971.
    By 1974, two prototype trains will be designed and built for revenue service.
  3. A 13-mile long test track has been completed near Melton Mowbray, including a section on which the APT can attain its maximum speed.

Destination: Mid-America

Inter Passenger Routes


Window Seat for Progress

A co-operative program between the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Budd Company and British Railways Board can produce the Advanced American Passenger Train now.


What are the Advantages

It will bring city centers (up to 300 miles apart) closer together because present speeds can be increased 50% without right-of-way modification.

With conventional rail equipment, this can only be accomplished by new well-aligned tracks similar to the Tokaido system which would cost up to $2,000,000 per mile.

A typical example of an APT application is the Chicago-St. Louis Corridor.


AAPT Program Development

Full implementation of the AAPT on the major corridors and segments of the System suggest an immediate start on a practical and properly phased program.

A realistic schedule and required funding would be:

Phase I

Systems study of a specific corridor and its requirements -
Four – six months


Phase II

Design Development AAPT for U.S. clearance, componets, regulations, etc. -
Ten – twelve months

$1.5 million

Phase III

Procure two six-car AAPTs
Twenty-four – twenty-six months

$4.5 million


Signal Green for AAPT

BR research and cautious progress in developing this concept provides for optimum reliability in new equipment. The principal sub-systems key to a successful APT train have been intensively tested in the on-going railroad environment, thus assuring minimum start-up delays. The design is based on all the improvements being accomplished within the train as a system, thus the only interface with existing systems, is at the wheel-to-rail. With this system integration as a primary design and engineering criteria, the AAPT can serve immediately to up-grade passenger service in the United States without major investment in right-of-way improvements.

The time to start such a program is now. The Budd Company, in partnership with British Railways Board is best qualified to furnish the overall management and implementation of AAPT.


Cooperating for Better Transportation





Presented by The Budd Company and The British Railways Board

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Last Revised: 17.04.2021 13:20
by R G Latham
© 1998