APT-P Inaugural Run

Press Release 7 December 1981

INAUGURAL RUN Glasgow - London


INAUGURAL RUN London - Glasgow

British Rail's Advanced Passenger Train (APT) entered experimental passenger carrying service today (Monday 7 December) on the electrified Glasgow/London route.

The first service left Glasgow Central station at 0700 to make the 401 mile journey to London Euston in a scheduled 4 hours 15 minutes – an average speed of 94.3 mph including stops at Motherwell and Preston.

The train – a pre-production prototype built to evaluate the new design in experimental service – carried 250 passengers, mainly rail enthusiasts – some having applied for their places more than two years ago – and journalists.

APT will run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the two weeks before Christmas and daily Mondays to Fridays from 11 January 1982. It will provide an additional breakfast time service from Glasgow at 0700, arriving Euston at 1115 and an additional afternoon service from Euston at 1630, arriving Glasgow 2045. The train will call at Motherwell and Preston on each run.

Scheduled trains are timed to leave Glasgow at 0710 and London at 1645, soon after the APT departure times, so that in the event of the APT having to be withdrawn for any reason passengers can be transferred to these services.

The APT is designed to exploit the curving nature of Britain's main line railway network and achieve significant journey time reductions by cornering at speeds up to 40 per cent faster than trains of conventional design. A coach tilting system ensures passenger comfort when the train corners at speed.

The soundness of the train's advanced technology was proven during the first phase of the commissioning trials held about a year ago. Since then, modifications to improve performance of the trains have been carried out and the success of these led to the decision to start the first public service.

British Rail plan to build a fleet of 60 APTs to take over Inter-City services on the West Coast Main Line between London, the Midlands, the North West of England and Glasgow.

Train Crew

Two drivers from the Polmadie depot in Glasgow, Mr Robert Harper (52) and Mr Wolsley Gilmour (42), will be on the footplate of the first passenger carrying service of the Advanced Passenger Train.

At the controls when the train leaves Glasgow Central Station will be Mr Harper, who – in his 24-year driving career – has driven all types of locomotives from steam, diesel and electric to the new technology of the APT. His railway career started in 1946 as a cleaner at Aberdeen. The following year he moved to Montrose as a fireman and then to Polmadie in 1950 where he was passed for driving in 1957.

Mr Gilmour joined the railways in Glasgow in 1951 as a cleaner and like Mr Harper experienced the full range of locomotives before undergoing conversion training for APT.

Guard on the first APT will be Mr Gordon Epps (61). He joined the railway service as a guard at Rutherglen in 1946 and has been a passenger guard at Glasgow Central since 1951.

In charge of the Catering staff of seven on the APT will be Chief Steward Mr Len Howcutt. A 59 year-old he started his career with Travellers Fare as a pantry boy in 1936 and has worked on Inter-City services for more than 45 years.

Souvenir Certificate


30th Anniversary (2011)

Thirty years later Kit Spackman travelled by Virgin Trains 'Pendolino' from Glasgow Central to London Euston.

40th Anniversary (2021)

Kit once again rode on the modern day equivalent service an Avanti West Coast 'Pendolino' from Glasgow to London.

Return to APT-P home page


Last Revised: 14.12.2021 8:54
by R G Latham
© 1998