Railnews November 1980 - Quotes & Messages

"She'll be a world beater"

"HERE is something to show we still lead the world in scientific and engineering innovation. Something to offer that is the best of its kind. Something for British Rail and for Britain to be proud of.

I welcome APT for that reason, but also for many others.

This pioneering development is proof of the imagination and strong nerve that it takes to keep the railways running. And it is in that sense of past achievement, current performance, and the future that the APT will take us forward.

Yes, its many new features are in themselves advances that show BR's world- ranking knowhow in rail technology. Its speed is revolutionary and breathtaking, and its performance without precedent.

Already the whole concept is beginning to catch the public imagination: it is drawing enquiries from other rail administrations all over the world who may want to adapt its features to their own needs.

But it is not simply a technological extravaganza. It is an essential component in our strategy for success in the 80s end 90s and into the next century.

It is not an extra, it is an essential if we are to modernise our network in a way which will leave an efficient legacy to our successors.

Expenditure on APT is, as we see it, essential for the future inter-city service, that's the point.

We need a decision on the APT as soon as possible so that we can get on with the back-up works to launch this elegant machine into service up the West Coast main line by the mid 80s.

That decision - and the big decision on more electrification for BR are glittering prizes for the whole railway community to work towards.

That we can do, if we show we are giving service throughout the system which is value for money. There is an inter-dependence on all parts of our great service to the public in winning our case for more investment.

I congratulate all those who, with skill and stamina, have striven to put the APT into revenue-earning service. We are into a new dimension of speed and change and flexibility - let's make the most of it."

Sir PETER PARKER, Chairman, British Rail.

Why we believe the investment was justified

"IF YOU want to go to Manchester there is a good choice of ways to get there. A motorway links Manchester with London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds and even Bristol and Exeter.

If you have a car you can drive, if you haven't then there are express coaches.

And Manchester is linked to both London and Glasgow by air services.

This range of choice is available on most inter-city journeys.

So why does anyone travel by train?

As railwaymen, we may think we know the answer. But a substantial section of the population never travel by train, so it is essential to answer the question accurately and use market research.

A series of systematic interviews and analysis of available information has shown that our strongest selling points on Inter-City are journey time and price.

To meet the challenge of the competition we must exploit and improve these points.

To reduce journey time means running trains faster, but in doing so we must not incur so much extra cost that we price ourselves out of the market.

So we have looked for the cheapest way of running at 125mph.

On the Western main line and the East Coast main line the cheapest way of doing that in the short term was HST.

The routes are relatively free from curves and, by some re-alignment, potential for 125mph running was achieved over long distances.

The West Coast main line, however, poses a problem. There are lots of curves, not least further north where the line follows valleys and re-alignment is simply not possible.

Elsewhere re-alignment could be done, but only at enormous cost which would have to be reflected in fares - and at such a high price the service would have attracted very few customers.

The answer was APT.

The tilting coach mechanism enables curves to be taken faster, and without the expense - and disruption - of re-alignment.

There is no doubt in my mind of the value of APT to the West Coast main line. All our research and examinations of alternatives lead to the same conclusion.

The large investment - over £250m - can be seen as a measure of our confidence in the scheme.

The introduction of APT is financially justified: it gives a commercial rate of return on the investment.

It is a sound business decision which will help us to beat our competitors and meet our financial targets in the inter-city sector.

The "do-nothing" alternative would lead to a gradual decline in our services, as competitors pinched our traffic, and a rapid decline in the financial fortunes of the West Coast main line.

Unless you invest and compete, you wither away and die."

BOB REID, Chief Executive, Railways.

Dr Alan Wickens DR ALAN WICKENS, BRB's director of research, who has played a leading role in the development of APT:

"Many people have made valuable contributions to the vast amount of work involved in getting the train from drawing board to the track."

"It is especially gratifying for those of us involved in the development from the earliest days to see commercial application of our work."

Ken Taylor KEN TAYLOR, who is BR's chief mechanical and electrical engineer:

"APT is a prime example of successful collaboration between Research and CM & EE departments, and is a tribute to all concerned"

"I am confident that squadron service trains will fulfill passenger expectations and keep BR in the forefront of high quality inter-city travel."

Robin Stables ROBIN STABLES, BREL's chief production manager, who has been responsible for construction of APT power cars and coaches at Derby Loco and Litchurch Lane Works:

"Our work will be rewarded when the preproduction APTs begin earning revenue."

"We look forward with eager anticipation to building APTs for squadron service."

Roy Howard ROY HOWARD, APT vehicle design engineer, who has been involved with the project since 1970, initially in the power systems section and for the last six years on vehicle design:

"My main priority has been to minimise the weight of the train by using new design features."

"I shall be especially interested in reaction to the major steps forward in lightweight design."

Alan Beacon ALAN BEACON, the APT project engineer who has been actively concerned with the development from the time he joined BR 11 years ago:

"We had a few bad moments, particularly in 1972-3 when the E train finished its trials and there was political wrangling about the train's future."

"But we never lost confidence in its capabilities."

Dr David Boocock DR DAVID BOOCOCK, Inter-City engineer, who has worked on mechanical design aspects of APT since its inception in 1967, firstly in the Research Department and from 1973 with BRB's CM & EE:

"APT has been my major project for BR and represents the culmination of my achievement."

"I shall be delighted to see the train in passenger service and earning revenue to offset its research and development costs."

Julian Marshall JULIAN MARSHALL, APT mechanical design engineer, who has been responsible for development of brakes, transmission, tilt systems, bogies and suspension of the train since the early 1970s:

"After many years of living with technical challenges associated with APT's advanced technology we have been getting excellent feedback from a wide variety of sources during the trials."

"I am looking forward to its entry into passenger service and confident of its success."

RAILNEWS November 1980 Special Souvenir Extra
© RAILNEWS November 1980.

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