Reading to Paddington record

Peter Mugridge

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northernbelle

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Sub 22 minutes Paddington-Reading is relatively common with the IETs. I've also experienced several IET runs between Swindon and Bristol Parkway that are faster than the HST record of 21m 20s.
 

davetheguard

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The 1977 timetable has the Bristols timed non-stop to Reading in 23 mins. The HST services which do call at both Reading and Didcot are timed 14 mins between the two. Though those are of course public timings.
Ah, thanks for the update; just shows how the memory plays tricks! Perhaps it was 11 mins from passing Reading to stop at Didcot for the couple of HST's from Paddington which were first stop Didcot in the evening peak?
 

reddragon

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When I worked in Reading in a rail office in the late 90s a colleague claimed Paddington - Reading had been done in 17 minutes pre-ATP. Take this with a dollop of salt, of course.
I used to commute out of Paddington morning peak in early 2000 and used to time the trains. The HST+7 often did it in under 20 mins, with full power off the blocks, clearly over 125 and heavy braking at Reading. The only issue was being held for a space at P4, then I'd miss my shuttle bus!
 

coppercapped

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I used to commute out of Paddington morning peak in early 2000 and used to time the trains. The HST+7 often did it in under 20 mins, with full power off the blocks, clearly over 125 and heavy braking at Reading. The only issue was being held for a space at P4, then I'd miss my shuttle bus!
Are you sure about the date?

The Ladbroke Grove crash occurred in 1999 - a year earlier than you give - and as a result the track arrangements were changed. Line 1 was effectively taken out of use and all Down Main trains used Line 2 with a kink back to the Down Main over a (IIRC) 50mph turnout at Ladbroke Grove This change added at least a minute and a half to the time to Reading and in addition sometime about then the running brake test came in which also added several seconds.
 

trebor79

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More Northern prices than Central London for sure, but that low?! I do like Reading as well though and I'm sure I've made it into London in 22-23 minutes before. The Thames Valley Ranger is excellent for zipping up and down all day!
I paid northern prices in central London in March. £1.45 a pint in the Red Lion near Liberty's.
 

hexagon789

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I used to commute out of Paddington morning peak in early 2000 and used to time the trains. The HST+7 often did it in under 20 mins, with full power off the blocks, clearly over 125 and heavy braking at Reading. The only issue was being held for a space at P4, then I'd miss my shuttle bus!
Pretty sure that ATP became mandatory in operation pre-2000 (post Southall and Ladbroke Grove). I don't doubt a sparkling run on many occasions but not any significant overspeed and even pre-ATP being compulsory as outlined above 132 is the absolute maximum before the limiter kicks in and on most sets it would kick-in lower.
 

Jamesrob637

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A 120mph average is quite high
Quite?! What would have to have been the maximum?! I averaged 68 or 69mph on a long motorway run just before lockdown, my top speed being only high-70s, but obviously a car accelerates to 70-odd in a matter of seconds rather than minutes! Plus there are a couple of brief 50 sections to consider, so my speed would have been no higher than 54-55 through these, and a brief 60 section, so no higher than 65-66.
 

trebor79

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Pardon me asking, does that mean that it was 4 mins 100 to 125mph?

Or am I doing a case of thinking 2+2=5 :oops:
Correct. Kinetic energy increases with the square of speed. Therefore the energy input between 100 and 125mph is more than 50% of the energy input to get from 0 to 100mph. And that's before we factor in rolling and aerodynamic resistance which will be eating up a considerable portion of the power output at 100mph.
 

hexagon789

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Pardon me asking, does that mean that it was 4 mins 100 to 125mph?

Or am I doing a case of thinking 2+2=5 :oops:
Correct, 4 mins to accelerate from 100 to 125. Full motor current is only available to about 37mph after which it drops off. The prototype HSTs were built with a field divert but it was deemed unnecessary for the required performance and so not carried into the production design.

Consequently high-speed performance is relatively sluggish in some respects, though still vastly superior to anyhing else of the time.
 

hexagon789

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Correct. Kinetic energy increases with the square of speed. Therefore the energy input between 100 and 125mph is more than 50% of the energy input to get from 0 to 100mph. And that's before we factor in rolling and aerodynamic resistance which will be eating up a considerable portion of the power output at 100mph.
BR stated that for 125mph twice as much power was required as for 100mph hence an HST on one power car can manage about 105mph or so flat out (ETS of course takes more out of the functioning power car otherwise the speed would probably be closer to 110mph on one power car).
 

hexagon789

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Quite?! What would have to have been the maximum?! I averaged 68 or 69mph on a long motorway run just before lockdown, my top speed being only high-70s, but obviously a car accelerates to 70-odd in a matter of seconds rather than minutes! Plus there are a couple of brief 50 sections to consider, so my speed would have been no higher than 54-55 through these, and a brief 60 section, so no higher than 65-66.
For a maximum running speed of 125, am average of 120 would be almost impossible for a train to maintain without extremely high acceleration rates, very keen brakes and a long distance at a sustained 125mph. The GWML from Paddington-Reading is 125 for most of its run but the average non-stop booking when HSTs were new was 23 mins an average of 93.5mph considerably below the 125 ceiling.

Road traffic can maintain closer averages to its maximum speed because if the vastly quicker acceleration times and very short braking distances. Braking from 125mph to a stand at a station the driver will be cutting off the power and putting the brake it at least 1.5 miles away.

Paddington-Reading is 35.84 miles, accounting for the acceleration out of Paddington and the approach to Reading, acceleration up to 125mph and then braking for Reading I reckon that when the HSTs were new 125mph cruising was possible for about maybe 14 to 15 miles out of the ~36mi run.
 

Fast Track

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I'd say it would be quicker Paddington to Reading than Reading to Paddington due to the TPWS etc approaching the blocks at Paddington. Unfortunately as a Plymouth driver there is no point trying to break any record in the paddington to reading direction as we are timed to leave 2 minutes behind the Bristols and so any speedy running would always lead to catching the train up in front.
I wondered about ICE speeds now on the Hants/Berks Reading - Newbury and down to Exeter how do records compare with HST times?
 

paul1609

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Quite?! What would have to have been the maximum?! I averaged 68 or 69mph on a long motorway run just before lockdown, my top speed being only high-70s, but obviously a car accelerates to 70-odd in a matter of seconds rather than minutes! Plus there are a couple of brief 50 sections to consider, so my speed would have been no higher than 54-55 through these, and a brief 60 section, so no higher than 65-66.
The fastest recorded Ashford to Ebbsfleet Class 395 performance was 17m 37 secs the distance is 33 miles 38 chains and equates to an average of 115.57 mph.
Thats with a lot better power to weight ratio and a 140 mph max. I'd say 120 mph average on a HST Paddington to Reading is impossible.
 

Jamesrob637

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The fastest recorded Ashford to Ebbsfleet Class 395 performance was 17m 37 secs the distance is 33 miles 38 chains and equates to an average of 115.57 mph.
Thats with a lot better power to weight ratio and a 140 mph max. I'd say 120 mph average on a HST Paddington to Reading is impossible.
Yep a Javelin is one hell of a speedy domestic train and even that couldn't average 120.

A Northern 331 in 3-car guise might be quicker off the line but it's restricted to 100mph not 140.
 

datdad

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Notable that with a King, if stopping at Reading (not all did), 40 minutes was a typical time Reading to Paddington. With diesels in the 1970s it was 30 minutes. Now it seems to be pushing 20 minutes.
Not at all doubting the 40 minutes with a King, but I thought I remembered commuting in the mid 1960s & the trip taking 35 minutes steam of course. My last season ticket was 1966 sometime.
 

Taunton

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Having done a bit of Googling it seems 130 was normal, 135 not uncommon and there were indeed drivers who were reputed to have touched 140
It's concerning enough being in the big exit queue/crush at the barriers at Slough (built out to impinge onto the Down Main platform) which spills right out to the yellow line if Relief Line passengers coming over the bridge and a Windsor Bay arrival happen to coincide, when one comes through on the Down Main at 125mph. Doing so at 140mph doesn't quite bear thinking about.
 

hexagon789

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It's concerning enough being in the big exit queue/crush at the barriers at Slough (built out to impinge onto the Down Main platform) which spills right out to the yellow line if Relief Line passengers coming over the bridge and a Windsor Bay arrival happen to coincide, when one comes through on the Down Main at 125mph. Doing so at 140mph doesn't quite bear thinking about.
While it doesn't excuse speeding - it would probably have been a bit quieter people-wise at Slough off-peak back in the late-1970s wouldn't it? You also only had three HSTs an hour each way then as well.
 

irish_rail

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I wondered about ICE speeds now on the Hants/Berks Reading - Newbury and down to Exeter how do records compare with HST times?
Reading to Newbury aside which is electrified, IETs are generally a little slower than HSTs Newbury to taunton especially if running none stop.
 

notadriver

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The fastest recorded Ashford to Ebbsfleet Class 395 performance was 17m 37 secs the distance is 33 miles 38 chains and equates to an average of 115.57 mph.
Thats with a lot better power to weight ratio and a 140 mph max. I'd say 120 mph average on a HST Paddington to Reading is impossible.
The longer the distance the better the average speed. Stratford to Ashford can yield the 2 mile a minute magical average.
 

notadriver

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Quite?! What would have to have been the maximum?! I averaged 68 or 69mph on a long motorway run just before lockdown, my top speed being only high-70s, but obviously a car accelerates to 70-odd in a matter of seconds rather than minutes! Plus there are a couple of brief 50 sections to consider, so my speed would have been no higher than 54-55 through these, and a brief 60 section, so no higher than 65-66.
But where the car comes into its own is the door to door journey time. A train users average speed drastically drops away from a train assuming they use public transport or walk/cycle to a destination many miles from the station.
 

PG

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Consequently high-speed performance is relatively sluggish in some respects, though still vastly superior to anyhing else of the time.
Thanks to both you and @trebor79 for your replies to my query.

As you mention the somewhat sluggish high-speed performance it reminds me of what seemed like an eternity to little-me being taken on a (then very new HST) trip up to London watching the in coach speed display slowly, slowly creeping up to the magic 125mph.
 

hexagon789

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Thanks to both you and @trebor79 for your replies to my query.

As you mention the somewhat sluggish high-speed performance it reminds me of what seemed like an eternity to little-me being taken on a (then very new HST) trip up to London watching the in coach speed display slowly, slowly creeping up to the magic 125mph.
At least you would often enough hit the 125, I feel as though high-speed trains on the continent love to trick you by getting with about 3km of linespeed then slowly drifting down then back up but never quite touching the magic 300 or 320! ;)
 

GregA

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For a maximum running speed of 125, am average of 120 would be almost impossible for a train to maintain without extremely high acceleration rates, very keen brakes and a long distance at a sustained 125mph.
I'm sure I read somewhere that the Highland Chieftain, when it was a HST, had an average speed of 123mph on the non stop York to London stretch, but that's around two hours with the majority at 125mph.
 

hexagon789

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I'm sure I read somewhere that the Highland Chieftain, when it was a HST, had an average speed of 123mph on the non stop York to London stretch, but that's around two hours with the majority at 125mph.
There's certainly a good amount of 125 track but an awful lot of 100, 105, 110, 115, 120 restrictions not to mention the fact that out of London you can't do 125 until around Knebworth.

I know the HC has had one of the best Edinburgh-London HST timings but there's no way you could average 123mph even York-London with a 125 ceiling, you'd need to be bang on the limit the whole time and that's not practical most of the time.

The fastest booked timing I'm aware of is 1h41 northbound for an InterCity 225 Scottish Pullman. No recovery margins and an average of 112mph.
 

sjm77

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I'm sure I read somewhere that the Highland Chieftain, when it was a HST, had an average speed of 123mph on the non stop York to London stretch, but that's around two hours with the majority at 125mph.
I think we can safely say this is complete and utter fake news. At 188.5 miles that would imply the journey being done in 1h31m57s which never happened. My best memory is that when the C91 was being tested a BR Record run was done in 1h37m but this was sanctioned to run at 140mph in places. I think the best a HST will have done was when BR ran some promotional Tyne-Tees pullmans in the mid 80s, one shortened HST completed Newcastle to London in ~2h20m but again with special sanctions to run above line speed in places.
 
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