On 17 June 2021, a special Avanti West Coast pendolino train set out to break the 36-year-old record for the fastest run from London to Glasgow, 3h 52m 40s set by the Advanced Passenger Train (APT) prototype in December 1984. I was delighted to be offered a seat on this train. Can we do it?
The APT was given special dispensation to exceed the speed limit, even reaching 140 mph in places. We have to stay within the normal 125 mph line speed, but we have a proven train and an upgraded West Coast Main Line. Before departure, our pendolino train (390 044) is named "Royal Scot" after the celebrated express that linked London and Glasgow every day.
Watch to the end to see the most nail-biting arrival of any train I have ever experienced, almost too close to call...
It's the fastest train I have ever taken from London to Scotland and the fastest-ever run by a Pendolino train between London & Glasgow, a great achievement by Avanti West Coast & Network Rail, all done within existing speed limits. The special train raised several thousand for charity and highlighted the ease of train travel to Scotland.
The video shows the wonderful West Coast Main Line scenery between London and Glasgow north of Lancaster, in the Cumbrian fells and the Scottish borders, seen from first class on an Avanti West Coast pendolino, a real pleasure with excellent service from a great on-board team - maybe your next trip to Scotland should be on a train!
For a beginner's guide to train travel in Britain see https://www.seat61.com/train-travel-in-britain.htm
Our train is named 'Royal Scot': 01:14 Boarding the train at London Euston: 01:26 Milton Keynes: 02:27 Crewe: 02:41 Our nemesis, the APT: 03:06 Warrington: 03:15 Wigan: 03:29 Preston: 03:46 Oxenholme: 04:33 Low Gill viaduct: 05:05 Lune Gorge: 05:12 Carlisle: 05:50 Carstairs: 07:42 Motherwell: 08:08 Approaching Glasgow: 08:26 Arrival at Glasgow Central: 09:30 Glasgow Central station: 10:24