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Going for the Record?


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6 minutes ago, Crisis Rail said:

But the WCML and generally BR were a mess till Branson.

Not quite sure what Branson had to do with the state of BR Infrastructure. He was a self-publicist who gave his brand name to two TOCs in return for cash. Virgin Trains were pretty dire, I had the pleasure of having to travel on their services on an almost daily basis for six years. The original WCML bid was a disaster and it had to join with others to run the service on a management contract basis.

 

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1 hour ago, Pandora said:

The difference between APT and a Pendelino?,  the Pendelino, the Driver dialled the target speed and the  cruise control electronics took over, the APT, the Driver actually drove the unit


Yep!

It must have required incredible concentration and skill, back then,  to be able to steer the train accurately.and keep it on the rails and going in the right direction for hours on end.

:rolleyes:

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9 hours ago, lmsforever said:

Nothing wrong with Virgin  good service terrific staff no complaints from me mind you went with Aventi and pretty good as well.

I never had a problem with the Virgin onboard staff, even in the dark days of Operation Princess and post-Hatfield days. We developed a sort of black humour with some of the 'train managers' and catering staff on services we regularly used. We even mucked in with them at times helping passengers in times of late running and train failures, down to spending most of a two hour journey distributing free cold drinks on an overloaded XC set with failed aircon on the hottest day of the year. My eldest grandson still has the teddy in VT uniform that the staff sought out from the office at Piccadilly following his first Pendolino ride. While we were waiting for them to come back with it the driver took him into the cab and sat him at the controls. Still proper old school railway at that time, I don't know the situation since the franchise change, will be interesting to see when we get back to longer distance trips again.

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16 minutes ago, bude_branch said:

A log of the record runby the APT-P from Euston to Glasgow on 12th December 1984 can be found here: https://www.apt-p.com/PGBarlow.htm

 

An impressive run given that it had several speed restrictions and a signal stop at Queensville. Also from the average speeds quoted it wasn't doing much above 125mph most of the way.

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12 minutes ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

An impressive run given that it had several speed restrictions and a signal stop at Queensville. Also from the average speeds quoted it wasn't doing much above 125mph most of the way.

 

That ought to reassure our friend of yesterday. The Class 87s working the regular West Coast trains of the day weighed in at 80 tons - 20 ton axle loading - and were rated for 110 mph (subject to line speed limits of course). So I can't see that this run involved any greater risk due to track defects than the regular service.

 

What was the fastest London-Glasgow service train journey in 1984? Presumably the Royal Scot, which I think was non-stop to Preston?

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On 22/06/2021 at 15:59, bude_branch said:

A log of the record run by the APT-P from Euston to Glasgow on 12th December 1984 can be found here: https://www.apt-p.com/PGBarlow.htm

 

Having had a closer look at the APT run, stripping out the 13 minutes recovery time as had been done with the Pendolino would have given a schedule time of 3:44:30. Three TSRs between Kilsby and Lichfield plus a signal stop at Queensville lost approximately 9 minutes against the schedule between Weedon and Norton Bridge.

Allowing for the delays in the Rugby and Stafford areas the APT and Pendolino runs were almost the same as far as Preston, but when it came to the hilly areas with more curves the APT won hands down. Given that the APT suffered 2 minutes of TSR delays at Lancaster and Motherweel, similar to the Pendolino delay around Carstairs, the APT was about 11 minutes faster between Preston and Glasgow

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On 22/06/2021 at 00:15, Ron Ron Ron said:


Yep!

It must have required incredible concentration and skill, back then,  to be able to steer the train accurately.and keep it on the rails and going in the right direction for hours on end.

:rolleyes:

Tunnels are the hardest for steering through,  get it wrong and you scrape the side of the train against the wall or even worse miss the mouth and hit the portal head on!

Yes I realise your post is "tongue-in-cheek", but it does require concentration to run a train without deviating from linespeed,  a slight up-gradient and you have lost 5 mph from target speed,  so unless you are on the ball for route knowledge  and studiously concentrating on the task ahead of you, then time will be lost, how do I know?, I'll give you one guess as to my job

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12 hours ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

Having had a closer look at the APT run, stripping out the 13 minutes recovery time as had been done with the Pendolino would have given a schedule time of 3:44:30. Three TSRs between Kilsby and Lichfield plus a signal stop at Queensville lost approximately 9 minutes against the schedule between Weedon and Norton Bridge.

Allowing for the delays in the Rugby and Stafford areas the APT and Pendolino runs were almost the same as far as Preston, but when it came to the hilly areas with more curves the APT won hands down. Given that the APT suffered 2 minutes of TSR delays at Lancaster and Motherweel, similar to the Pendolino delay around Carstairs, the APT was about 11 minutes faster between Preston and Glasgow

 

I am not entirely surprised, the APT could tilt as much as it wanted to on all of the curves, no matter where they were or how tight, whereas the Pendolino is only allowed to tilt where the infrastructure gives it permission to.

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13 hours ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

Allowing for the delays in the Rugby and Stafford areas the APT and Pendolino runs were almost the same as far as Preston, but when it came to the hilly areas with more curves the APT won hands down. Given that the APT suffered 2 minutes of TSR delays at Lancaster and Motherweel, similar to the Pendolino delay around Carstairs, the APT was about 11 minutes faster between Preston and Glasgow

 

All in all it certainly seems to vindicate the concept of the APT.  It's a shame BR was never really allowed the time or finance to see the project through to completion.

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On 24/06/2021 at 00:32, TheSignalEngineer said:

Having had a closer look at the APT run, stripping out the 13 minutes recovery time as had been done with the Pendolino would have given a schedule time of 3:44:30. Three TSRs between Kilsby and Lichfield plus a signal stop at Queensville lost approximately 9 minutes against the schedule between Weedon and Norton Bridge.

Allowing for the delays in the Rugby and Stafford areas the APT and Pendolino runs were almost the same as far as Preston, but when it came to the hilly areas with more curves the APT won hands down. Given that the APT suffered 2 minutes of TSR delays at Lancaster and Motherweel, similar to the Pendolino delay around Carstairs, the APT was about 11 minutes faster between Preston and Glasgow


Very interesting reviewing the APT record run log and comparing with the recent Pendolino attempt. While both runs appear to have had a maximum speed of 125mile/h, there’s quite a few subtle differences that explain the differences in timings, why the recent Pendolino attempt didn’t beat the record and also explains your correct observation why the APT won Preston to Glasgow by a good margin. I worked within West Coast Route Mod and developed and optimised one of the iterations of the line speed profiles for EPS and journey time analysis.

 

One of the key differences appears to be a difference in the rules/standards for tilting trains around curves with Switches & Crossings (S&C ... aka points!); While current tilting trains are allowed to take advantage of increased cant deficiency limits along ‘plain-line’ (up to 300mm CD for Class 390 Pendolino and 265mm CD for Class 221 Super-Voyager), they are restricted to ‘conventional’/permissible cant deficiency limits through S&C.

 

It appears this wasn’t the case for the line speed profile used by the APT .... in other words, the APT could ‘whizz’ around curves of plain line and those that S&C situated along them ....  but the Pendolino can only ‘whizz’ around curves of plain-line ... but unfortunately not if there’s any S&C along them. There’s a few technical reasons that justify this rule ... around track forces, reliability, increased factor of safety etc.

 

A really good example to see the effect of this rule is through Penrith station: The Up Line is a plain-line curve with no S&C along it. Therefore the max permissible speed is 80 over 90/95. This means non-tilt trains have a permissible speed 80, Class 221’s are allowed 90, while Class 390’s are allowed 95mile/h.

 

The Down line is different: The Down Loop joins the Down Line along the curve at the high mileage end of the platform, thus the Down Line has a max permissible speed restricted to 75mile/h for all trains.

 

There are a significant number of junctions/S&C situated on curves along the WCML, especially north of Warrington ... such as Warrington itself, Dallam, Winwick Jn, Golbourne Jn, Wigan, Lancaster, Oxenholme, Low Gill, Shap, Quintinshill, Beattock Summit, Abington loops etc. Each of these likely to have a lower EPS speed for the Pendolino when compared to the APT. As a consequence, WCRM took the decision to not have any ‘EPS’ between Warrington BQ and Wigan NW stations ... while due to a combination of the infrastructure, pathing and timetabling, no EPS currently exists between Carstairs and Glasgow C (although there is an oddity around Shieldmuir due to a HST differential speed board!). Therefore both of these route sections are ‘tilt for comfort’ sections while the max permissible speeds for tilting trains are the same as conventional trains. Again, the APT run shows significant gains through these two sections.

 

Conversely, since the APT run, the Pendolino took advantage of a few gains from major remodelling schemes ... including a better departure from the remodelled Euston, the remodelled Rugby station, Trent Valley 4-tracking section, the new layout at Norton Bridge and the remodelled Crewe (from the 1985 scheme!). However, the Trent Valley 4-tracking now prioritises the Manchester Route ... therefore the Glasgow route now requires a slowing to 65mile/h to crossover at Colwich Jn to access the route to Stafford.

 

There’s a few other subtle differences through some of the tunnels (aerodynamics/pressure pulses) and it appears the APT was allowed a higher max cant deficiency ... and probably a larger margin of tolerance regarding acceptable over speed (in the pre-digital age before average speed cameras etc!) ... while the Pendolino run appears to be a superb effort in concentration by the driver not to upset the ‘TASS (Tilt Authorisation and Speed Supervision)’ system ... as if the driver oversped and ignores the initial warning, the brakes are applied! So less margin for the driver to cruise at a few mile/h above the line speed profile.

 

In summary ... both runs are very impressive in my opinion for different reasons - well done to all involved! One thing pretty certain .... both of these records likely to be smashed once HS2 is built ... but the Warrington/Preston to Glasgow APT record likely to stand for many years to come.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Patriot87003
Correct a couple of typos
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10 hours ago, Patriot87003 said:

Conversely, since the APT run, the Pendolino took advantage of a few gains from major remodelling schemes ... including a better departure from the remodelled Euston, the remodelled Rugby station, Trent Valley 4-tracking section, the new layout at Norton Bridge and the remodelled Crewe (from the 1985 scheme!). However, the Trent Valley 4-tracking now prioritises the Manchester Route ... therefore the Glasgow route now requires a slowing to 65mile/h to crossover at Colwich Jn to access the route to Stafford.

 

 

Re Colwich.  What has changed there isn't the priority of one route versus another, it's the arrangement of the running lines.  Prior to the TV 4 tracking the DF was on the outside of the formation from Armitage and so the lines from west to east were DF, DS, UF, US.  This gave a much higher speed from the DF towards Stafford than that available from the DS. 

 

Since the 4 tracking the DF and DS are swapped approaching Colwich with the order now being DS, DF, UF, US thus the speed restriction on the (now) DF going towards Stafford is much more severe than it was before when the DF was on the outside of the formation.  The (now) DS still retains the higher speed for the route towards Stafford. 

 

The only advantage to Manchester trains now is that they can brake slightly later for the divergence towards Stone as they don't need to cross from the old DF to the old DS first.  I'd suggest the gains from that are minimal compared to the need for every Stafford bound train on the DF to slow to 65mph where they didn't have to before the 4 tracking.  Not providing a high speed crossover from the DF to DS somewhere between Rugeley and Colwich is the biggest negative of the delivered WCRM imo.  I dread to think how much energy has been wasted by that omission.

Edited by DY444
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According to the sectional appendix, the Down Stoke through the junction is limited to 45mph, so there's no advantage worth speaking of for that route. (It's 50mph on the Up Stoke, and then 65 to cross to the Up Fast). And you'd be looking at new railways to cut the corner between Rugeley and Hixon to significantly improve that since the curve is pretty tight there. 

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31 minutes ago, DY444 said:

 

Re Colwich.  What has changed there isn't the priority of one route versus another, it's the arrangement of the running lines.  Prior to the TV 4 tracking the DF was on the outside of the formation from Armitage and so the lines from west to east were DF, DS, UF, US.  This gave a much higher speed from the DF towards Stafford than that available from the DS. 

 

Since the 4 tracking the DF and DS are swapped approaching Colwich with the order now being DS, DF, UF, US thus the speed restriction on the (now) DF going towards Stafford is much more severe than it was before when the DF was on the outside of the formation.  The (now) DS still retains the higher speed for the route towards Stafford. 

 

The only advantage to Manchester trains now is that they can brake slightly later for the divergence towards Stone as they don't need to cross from the old DF to the old DS first.  I'd suggest the gains from that are minimal compared to the need for every Stafford bound train on the DF to slow to 65mph where they didn't have to before the 4 tracking.  Not providing a high speed crossover from the DF to DS somewhere between Rugeley and Colwich is the biggest negative of the delivered WCRM imo.  I dread to think how much energy has been wasted by that omission.

I was unaware of any of this. Pairing by direction rather than function strikes again! I have always felt it compromises the railway far more during engineering possessions, but perhaps these days everything has to close anyway for anyone to be permitted to do anything....

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1 hour ago, DY444 said:

 

Re Colwich.  What has changed there isn't the priority of one route versus another, it's the arrangement of the running lines.  Prior to the TV 4 tracking the DF was on the outside of the formation from Armitage and so the lines from west to east were DF, DS, UF, US.  This gave a much higher speed from the DF towards Stafford than that available from the DS. 

 

Since the 4 tracking the DF and DS are swapped approaching Colwich with the order now being DS, DF, UF, US thus the speed restriction on the (now) DF going towards Stafford is much more severe than it was before when the DF was on the outside of the formation.  The (now) DS still retains the higher speed for the route towards Stafford. 

 

The only advantage to Manchester trains now is that they can brake slightly later for the divergence towards Stone as they don't need to cross from the old DF to the old DS first.  I'd suggest the gains from that are minimal compared to the need for every Stafford bound train on the DF to slow to 65mph where they didn't have to before the 4 tracking.  Not providing a high speed crossover from the DF to DS somewhere between Rugeley and Colwich is the biggest negative of the delivered WCRM imo.  I dread to think how much energy has been wasted by that omission.


Perhaps my messages should have included; “However, the Trent Valley 4-tracking now naturally prioritises the Manchester Route ... “. Coincidentally, the number 1 priority service group during WCRM for Virgin Trains was the Manchester route in order to promote growth to justify the 3 trains per hour, also to complete the modal shift from air travel between Manchester and London to rail .... mission accomplished! And it also gives me a smile when I hear the Man Utd squad travelling to away matches in London by Pendolino from Macclesfield.

 

An additional journey time benefit of having the Down Fast heading for the Manchester route is that there is now no approach control/flashing yellow aspects for that route from the DF, allowing drivers to brake naturally (while avoiding triggering any TPWS over-speed interventions). During WCRM I carried out quite a bit of journey time analysis to compare the different signalling arrangements for some of the old passenger loops/junction approaches and found that you could gain much more journey time upgrading the turnouts/approaches ... than by upping the 125mile/h sections to 140mile/h.

 

However I totally agree with you ... this does result in any services heading towards Stafford from the DF now having the 65mile/h crossover to contend with, plus any additional time penalty due to the junction approach signalling and defensive driving factors.

 

I’m with you .... a 125mile/h crossover between the DF to DS situated somewhere along the straight between Rugeley TV and Colwich Jn would be very nice!

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Patriot87003 said:

the line speed profiles for EPS 

 

These are fascinating couple of posts - thank you. Just one layman's question, if you will forgive: the acronym EPS is new to me... It'll probably be obvious once I've been told!

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Just now, Compound2632 said:

 

These are fascinating couple of posts - thank you. Just one layman's question, if you will forgive: the acronym EPS is new to me... It'll probably be obvious once I've been told!


Sure ... EPS = Enhanced Permissible Speed

 

 

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1 hour ago, Oldddudders said:

...............perhaps these days everything has to close anyway for anyone to be permitted to do anything....

Pretty much so.

The Fast lines from Rugby right through to Curborough Junction which is about a mile north of Lichfield station have bi-directional capability to assist with regulation during failure. I'm not sure what the current arrangements are but when we installed the first section of it between Rugby and Nuneaton c1984/5 it was used to assist with patrolling under traffic by closing one line whilst staff were on track.

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2 hours ago, Oldddudders said:

, but perhaps these days everything has to close anyway for anyone to be permitted to do anything....

 

I'm not sure about that - certainly during GWML electrification the Main and Relief lines between Reading and Didcot were closed alternately. However, as you say, that was facilitated by the lines being paired by usage rather than by direction.

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9 minutes ago, RJS1977 said:

 

I'm not sure about that - certainly during GWML electrification the Main and Relief lines between Reading and Didcot were closed alternately. However, as you say, that was facilitated by the lines being paired by usage rather than by direction.

 

And a generous six-foot between the pairs of lines, for much of the way.

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12 hours ago, Patriot87003 said:

However, the Trent Valley 4-tracking now prioritises the Manchester Route ... therefore the Glasgow route now requires a slowing to 65mile/h to crossover at Colwich Jn to access the route to Stafford.

One way or another this was always going to be a problem. The ideal solution for Manchester trains would have been to provide a grade-separated junction at Bellamour Lane north of Rugeley and 3.5 miles of new line passing to the east of Little Hayward and Great Hayward, rejoining the existing alignment just south of Pasturefields Lane.  

Booked freight is virtually non-existent via Colwich - Stone so all of that expenditure would have benefitted a very small number of trains per hour and would not stack up when looking at £ spent vs minutes gained.

The 65 mph DTV Fast towards Stafford is faster than going towards Stone as that is 45 mph. An 85 mph PSR starts about 26 chains on the approach to the junction then a 90 mph PSR through Shugborough Tunnel.

From the running point of view I don't think there would be much difference between turning a train going via Stafford onto the DTV Slow through the 75 mph turnout at Amington Junction. From there the EPS is 100 mph through Tamworth station then 125 mph to just south of Rugeley. It is then 110 mph all trains to Colwich followed by the 90 mph through Shugborough. 

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