APT On Film & Television

If you are making a TV programme or video about the Advanced Passenger Train - Please let me know !


© BTF 1969© BTF 1969© BTF 1969

British Transport Films 1969 Colour



British Transport Films 1972 Colour 9 Min

British Rail's experimental Advanced Passenger train powered by gas turbines and with a host of revolutionary ideas such as a tilting system to stabilise the train at speed on sharp curves and hydrokinetic braking.



E For ExperimentalAPT-E under constructionLaboratory instrumentationAPT-E takes to the mainline

British Transport Films 1975 Colour 20 Min

An account of the development of British Rail's experimental Advanced Passenger Train (APT-E) The film explains in simple terms some of the many novel design features of the APT, including the tilt mechanism and the hydro-kinetic brake, and shows the train in action during trials.



British Transport Films 1977 Colour 20 Min

For the new generation of Advanced Passenger Trains, a new system for advising drivers of APT speed limits has been devised known as C-APT Control Advanced Passenger Trains, by which the line-speed along with the route is displayed - in miles per hour - inside the driver's cab.



A NEW AGE FOR RAILWAYSAPT-P body shellsWelding aluminium APT-P body shellsWelding aluminium APT-P body shellsCompleted APT-P

British Transport Films 1979 Colour 27 Min

In a world growing ever shorter of energy, railways are well suited to satisfy the world's future transport needs. This is the story of the new railways in Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Poland and Italy.



Power To StopAPT-P CabLaboratory instrumentation

British Transport Films 1979 Colour 11 Min

This film begins with a brief glimpse of an APT-P undergoing a brake application test.


ROCKET 150: The Great Railway Cavalcade

BBC2 Broadcast 26 May 1980

On the weekend of 24th, 25th and 26th of May 1980, a great cavalcade of railway locomotives and rolling stock assembled at Rainhill, near Liverpool to celebrate the 150th Birthday of the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester railway.



Round Trip To GlasgowAPT-P guardAPT-P driverPeter Purves takes a 'Round Trip To Glasgow'

British Transport Films 1982 Colour 14 Min

TV personality, Peter Purves, takes a trip on the prototype Advanced Passenger Train. En route he meets some of those responsible for its development and testing.



A Race Against TimeSir Hugh Ford examines the APT-P BogieBrake monitoringLast two frames of 'A Race Against Time'

BBC2 Broadcast 7 December 1981

British Rail have pinned their hopes on the Advanced Passenger Train. It's an excellent design with a great deal of new technology, from the hydraulic mechanism that tilts the coaches to new braking and suspension systems. Yet from the start the project has been hampered by delays, disputes and breakdowns. A small and youthful team of commissioning engineers was given the task of making the train work. Horizon joined them for a crucial week as the engineers raced against time to solve the train's problems by today, 7 December, when - if all goes well - the train will start the first 125 mph passenger service from London to Glasgow.


NOVA Tracking the Supertrains


Broadcast 14 December 1982

While America's passenger-train service deteriorates, trains in Japan and Europe are speeding ahead at over 150 miles per hour. NOVA reports that the super-fast trains are finally coming to America.



Dr Alan WickensDr David BoocockJohn MitchellCyril BleasdaleDavid Rollin


T362 - Innovation and Design

The programme consists of a journey on the one remaining prototype APT during which key people involved in the APT and its successor, the IC225, discuss the history of both projects. The journey is interwoven with film taken at the Railway Technical Centre at Derby and at the British Railways Board offices in London and with interviews with those involved in both the R&D and business planning aspects of the APT and IC225 projects. Those interviewed include Dr Alan Wickens, who helped propose the initial APT concept, Dr David Boocock and John Mitchell, who were responsible for developing the APT-P, and Cyril Bleasdale and David Rollin, who were responsible for specifying the IC225.


EQUINOX - Running To Time

EQUINOX Running To Time © C4

CHANNEL 4 Broadcast February 1988

This documentary follows the development of APTs successor, the Electra Class 91 Locomotive, from the concept, design and manufacture stages up to the rollout of the first complete locomotive at Crewe in 1988.


TOMORROW'S WORLD - Whatever happened to the tilting train?

Playing fair with British Rail ??APT-Pish modelMargaret, Rob & Glynne with 370003 at Crewe

BBC1 Broadcast 6 March 1992


TW TIME MACHINE - Return of the Tilting Train

Howard StablefordDavid Rollin

BBC1 Broadcast 6 August 1997

In 1969, Tomorrow's World revealed plans for a new concept in rail transport - the tilting train - so called because, travelling at high speed, it tilted as it went round corners. Over a decade later, it was finally introduced as the jewel in British Rail's crown, but within days of its launch, disaster struck. A succession of problems with the new technology led to delays and cancellations of the service, and soon the tilting train was thrown on the scrap heap. So why are two new rail companies in Britain planning on bringing the tilting train back? Howard Stableford investigates the 'Return of the Tilting Train'.



Sir Peter ParkerPeter Parker & Margaret Thatcher cartoon by TROG

BBC2 Broadcast 27 February 1997

Sir Peter Parker was running British Rail during its ill-fated experiment with the Advanced Passenger Train. It was not his fault that the famous tilting mechanism left passengers feeling queasy or that this brilliant piece of high technology broke down on its inaugural run. But it was his decision to launch the APT, when clearly it was not ready. Today it lies in a siding hired out for children's parties.


EX:S - West Coast Story

Jack Irving APT DriverJack Irving in 48103 at CreweProposed WCML Tilting Trains from Virgin

BBC Scotland Broadcast 11 March 1998

Produced to mark 1998 as the 150th anniversary of the first direct train service between Scotland and London. 'The Future' section included interviews with one of the first APT drivers and also a passenger, before looking at Virgins proposed tilting trains for the WCML.



Pete Waterman with APT-P at Crewe © Discovery ChannelPete Waterman with APT-P at Crewe © Discovery ChannelAPT-P at Crewe © Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel 1999

Feature on the British pop music producer Peter Alan Waterman.



Peter Snow with the Italian tilting trainSlaven Kovacevic claiming the Italians invented tilting trainsPeter Snow and Sue Lawley with APT-E at York

BBC1 Broadcast 29 November 1999

As part of 'BBC Rail Week' Peter Snow takes a ride on an Italian tilting train and talks to Slaven Kovacevic of Fiat, who claims that the tilting train was an Italian invention.



Liz Barker & APT-E © BBCLiz Barker & Colin Divall © BBC© BBC© BBC

BBC1 Broadcast 22 November 2000

Liz Barker reported on the World's first mechanically activated tilting train, the Advanced Passenger Train, the APT - E. The E stands for experimental. Sadly it isn't on show to the general public as it's currently being restored by volunteers at the National Railway Museum at York.

The new tilting trains are being built at two sites in the UK - Wakefield and Birmingham. Liz visited the factory in Wakefield where they are building a total of seventy eight new trains.

The first tilting trains are expected to be in service by the end of 2001. When the trains are fully operational, journey times on both the West Coast Main Line from London to Glasgow and some Cross Country routes, that's Aberdeen to Penzance, will be shorter by up to twenty five per cent.


MIDLANDS REPORT - Branson's Baby

Sir Richard Branson © BBC TVAlan Wickens © BBC TVPaul Leadley © BBC TVKit Spackman © BBC TV

BBC2 MIDLANDS Broadcast 18 October 2001

Sir Richard Branson is confident his new fleet of tilting trains will tip the balance in favour of rail travel. He's determined to succeed where British Rail's Advanced Passenger Train failed so spectacularly in the eighties. Sir Richard says "To deliver a rail system to the UK that works has been a dream and a pledge that we've made. Finally we're about to deliver everything we've promised."

Midlands Report follows the birth of Branson's new fleet and watches as he prepares to introduce it to the West Coast main line.

The new trains promise to drastically reduced journey times between the Midlands and London.

The programme follows the design and manufacturing of the new trains including accompanying Sir Richard on fact finding trip to Italy, one of nine countries in Europe where tilting trains are well established. Branson's Baby also looks back at the history of the ill-fated Advanced Passenger Train. Former engineers express views on the failed project which most people admit was years ahead of its time. APT Chief Engineer Alan Wickens says "It was a very exiting project. Morale was very high and there was the belief that what we were doing was very important." Many members of the original team still say it was the best thing they ever worked on.



CHANNEL 4 Broadcast 1 December 2001

Where did Britain’s railways go wrong? Why has the country that gave trains to the world been so bad at running them safely and efficiently? Last autumn the Hatfield crash pushed the system into full-scale crisis; this autumn, Transport Minister Stephen Byers has pulled the plug on Railtrack.

Presented by Ian Hargreaves - former Editor of the New Statesman and the Independent - A Secret History of Rail asks why three generations of politicians have failed to create the conditions for a thriving railway.

Nationalisation, 1970s social democracy, and privatisation have all failed. What chance is there of Blair's government doing any better? Featuring candid interviews with key figures including Sir Bob Reid, Sir Peter Parker, Sir Alastair Morton, Sir Bob Horton, Gerald Corbett and Norman Lamont.



Kit SpackmanAlan Wickens

Discovery Home & Leisure

Kit Spackman and Alan Wickens tell the story of the Experimental Advanced Passenger Train (APT-E), explaining why it is now an exhibit at the National Railway Museum in York.



Discovery Home & Leisure

Mark Found goes 'Trainspotting' at Crewe to discover, from Kit Spackman, why the Advanced Passenger Train was so good, and why it disappeared so suddenly.



CHANNEL FIVE Broadcast 2 February 2004

This new technology series with attitude focuses on people with magnificent obsessions of speed, movement and machines. From the brute force of high speed trains and the sheer elegance of Maglev transport systems, to the ferocious battle to build the ultimate superplane this series explores where technology and creativity are leading in the quest for the ultimate machine.



CHANNEL 4 - Programme 4 Broadcast 17 October 2004

This programme looks at the railways post-WW2, and how they faced up to the need to modernise the countries network after the war. It examines the changes made by the notorious Beeching plan, and the end of the age of steam. Peter Alan Waterman looks at the work done by BR, at the success of their Intercity network, and at the ill-fated APT service. The series closes with a look at how the countries railways have coped with privatisation, and at what the future holds for the British rail network with the advent of trains such as the Eurostar and Pendolino.



Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

BBC1 Broadcast 8 November 2004

A celebration of all those ideas that started out with good intentions but ended by blowing up in the faces of all concerned.



DVD The Railway Magazine December 2006

Virgin Trains Pendolino Glasgow to London speed run 2006 includes archive footage of APT-P.


MASSIVE SPEED - Record Breaking Trains

MASSIVE SPEEDRecord Breaking TrainsChris BarrieAlan Wickens

Discovery Channel 2006

Chris Barrie explores some of his favourite fast trains, starting with the elegant steam engine City of Truro, which is credited with being the first train to break the 100mph barrier. He takes a fresh look at modern railway giants such as the Intercity 125 and the French TGV, and finishes with a breathtaking ride on a Maglev test train in Germany.



BRITS WHO MADE THE MODERN WORLDAlan WickensMike NewmanKit Spackman

CHANNEL FIVE Broadcast 27 June 2008

Documentary series looking at the untold stories of British scientific innovations. Peter Snow traces the history of the UK's experimental tilting trains of the 1970s and 80s. The Advanced Passenger Trains were intended to rival France's TGV and Japan's bullet train, but negative press and complaints about motion sickness helped scupper the project before it could get going.




BBC FOUR Broadcast 13 September 2012

In 1976 a new high-speed train, the Inter-City 125, helped save British Rail, an unfashionable nationalised industry suffering from a financial crisis, industrial relations problems and a poor public image. The train was launched with the help of a memorable advertising campaign, fronted by Sir Jimmy Savile, which announced that the 1980s would be the 'age of the train'. BR had an energetic new boss, Sir Peter Parker, who was determined to revive the railways. The result was a typically British success story, full of surprises and setbacks, as this documentary shows.


TIMESHIFT The Nation's Railway: The Golden Age of British Rail

Alan WickensKit Spackman

BBC FOUR Broadcast 24 February 2015

Timeshift revisits Britain's railways during the era of nationalisation. For all its bad reputation today, the old British Rail boldly transformed a decayed, war-torn Victorian transport network into a system fit for the 20th century. With an eye firmly on the future, steam made way for diesel and electric, new modern stations like Euston were built, and Britain's first high-speed trains introduced.

Made with unique access to the British Transport Films archive, this is a warm corrective to the myth of the bad old days of rail, but even it can't hide from the horror that was a British Rail sandwich.



BBC The One ShowBBC The One ShowBBC The One ShowBBC The One Show

BBC1 Broadcast 19 July 2016

Was the APT an expensive white elephant, or the future of public transport? Nick Hewer investigates…


INTERCITY 125: The Train That Saved Britain's Railways

INTERCITY 125: The Train That Saved Britain's RailwaysINTERCITY 125: The Train That Saved Britain's Railways - Kit SpackmanINTERCITY 125: The Train That Saved Britain's Railways - Kit SpackmanINTERCITY 125: The Train That Saved Britain's Railways - Kit Spackman

Channel 5 Broadcast 15 May 2018 and 22 May 2018

Programme 1 looks at the birth of the 125 project and the APT, examining the design of both and the state of BR in the sixties and early seventies.

Programme 2 picks up in the mid seventies with BR backing two horses - the APT and the 125. The 125 becomes a runaway success but the APT project could still steal the intercity crown. We look at the catering make over and the inaugural run of the APT from Glasgow to London. We also look at the legacy of both designs.


If you know of any more Film or Video of the APT - Please let me know !

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Last Revised: 29.07.2019 17:05
by R G Latham
© 1998