Record Breaking runs

Failed Unit

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As we have an attempt to break the record today between London - Glasgow, which is having its challenges on an busy operational railway (overcoming them so far)


How easy was this to do in BR days?

I remember the Tees - Tyne Pullman (0700 Newcastle - London) doing this to get the HST top speed record and it was agreed to attempt to do this between Northallerton and York and Grantham - Peterborough. This was an overspeed of the track speed limit, but remember this was a scheduled train. People on this train probably didn't have a clue about this attempt. I assume this would not be allowed now. I don't recall the train was shortened either.

A few others I remember was "top of the pops" - HST London - Bristol

BR shortened class 91 and mk4 did between Edinburgh and London in 3h30 (guest only)

GNER did a 91 and mk4 again on Edinburgh - London (I think this was also a special.)

I assume now with the safety systems in place, a lot of these records will be in place for along time.
 
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WesternLancer

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As we have an attempt to break the record today between London - Glasgow, which is having its challenges on an busy operational railway (overcoming them so far)


How easy was this to do in BR days?

I remember the Tees - Tyne Pullman (0700 Newcastle - London) doing this to get the HST top speed record and it was agreed to attempt to do this between Northallerton and York and Grantham - Peterborough. This was an overspeed of the track speed limit, but remember this was a scheduled train. People on this train probably didn't have a clue about this attempt. I assume this would not be allowed now. I don't recall the train was shortened either.

A few others I remember was "top of the pops" - HST London - Bristol

BR shortened class 91 and mk4 did between Edinburgh and London in 3h30 (guest only)

GNER did a 91 and mk4 again on Edinburgh - London (I think this was also a special.)

I assume now with the safety systems in place, a lot of these records will be in place for along time.
Been London to Brighton record runs at various times - not looked up the info yet.
 

43096

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I remember the Tees - Tyne Pullman (0700 Newcastle - London) doing this to get the HST top speed record and it was agreed to attempt to do this between Northallerton and York and Grantham - Peterborough. This was an overspeed of the track speed limit, but remember this was a scheduled train. People on this train probably didn't have a clue about this attempt.
People on the train did know - it was a press and invited guests run! It certainly wasn’t a scheduled service as it ran as a shortened formation with specially selected power cars in top mechanical condition and maximum size wheel sets, over speed limiters modified etc etc.
 

zwk500

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This was an overspeed of the track speed limit, but remember this was a scheduled train. People on this train probably didn't have a clue about this attempt. I assume this would not be allowed now.
Been London to Brighton record runs at various times - not looked up the info yet.
For a London-Brighton run in 2005 special speed limits were agreed and some TPWS grids were deactivated for the run:
 

Bald Rick

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London - Cambridge via Bishops Stortford in 2011; authorisation for going up to 10mph over some speed limits, but not on approach to any Level crossings that were not controlled by the signaller, (some footpath level crossings were manned or temporarily locked up) and TPWS was fully active.
 

Bertie the bus

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London - Cambridge via Bishops Stortford in 2011; authorisation for going up to 10mph over some speed limits, but not on approach to any Level crossings that were not controlled by the signaller, (some footpath level crossings were manned or temporarily locked up) and TPWS was fully active.
You really do have to ask what is the point in that. I can see the PR value in breaking speed record on the WCML between London and Glasgow and between London and Edinburgh on the ECML but London – Cambridge? Does anybody really care?
 

Statto

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There's been a few Manchester-Euston in under 2 hours attempts, even tried it with HST stock, always ended up failing by a few minutes, only the Pendo managed to eventually break it.
 

Bald Rick

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You really do have to ask what is the point in that. I can see the PR value in breaking speed record on the WCML between London and Glasgow and between London and Edinburgh on the ECML but London – Cambridge? Does anybody really care?

It was to celebrate the introduction of the 379s. A good news story locally. Local dignitaries got their name in the paper. And it did break the record so the RPS were happy.
 

Failed Unit

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People on the train did know - it was a press and invited guests run! It certainly wasn’t a scheduled service as it ran as a shortened formation with specially selected power cars in top mechanical condition and maximum size wheel sets, over speed limiters modified etc etc.
Age makes me forget details, I thought it was actually a service train, oh well it was a long time ago.
 

Pinza-C55

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I was the guard on the first train in the UK authorised to run at 140 MPH from Kings Cross to Grantham. I think it was 1988. The driver and I were given printed forms authorising the run nut sadly I didn't keep mine. All the BR top brass were on the train and took a group photo at Grantham.
 

Failed Unit

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I was the guard on the first train in the UK authorised to run at 140 MPH from Kings Cross to Grantham. I think it was 1988. The driver and I were given printed forms authorising the run nut sadly I didn't keep mine. All the BR top brass were on the train and took a group photo at Grantham.
How many trains did make the 140mph on that section, I know the sign is in the national rail museum, I remember seeing it an 135mph boards as a child on that section.
 

BrianW

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The killjoy in me is asking why there are speed limits.
It will also be interesting to see if the Euston-Glasgow record attempt reaps the hoped for reward.
The old git in me would be hoping for a comfortable ride, on time arrival and at a good price ;)
 

randyrippley

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Does make me wonder what went unrecorded in the past.
Back in 1990 I'd been in London for the day and when I got back to Euston was directed to a Carlisle-bound special at 17:00 rather than the timetabled 17:05 - it had been laid on for a Women's Institute party at Buck House, but the gate staff were loading it with everybody with a Lancashire ticket.
As far as I can remember it was a 87/mk3 combo and the driver set off like a scalded cat, non-stop to Wigan. I forget the actual details but as we went through Crewe we were close to fifteen minutes up on the normal schedule, with a few more gained by Wigan. Preston-Lancaster was 14 minutes start-to-stop which at the time was remarkable. I presume the driver was under instruction to keep out of the way of the normal service.
I wish I'd kept accurate details, but I'm convinced that journey would rank as one of the fastest non-tilting on the route. But how often did such things happen?

==edit==
corrected typo: replaced 97 with 87
 
Last edited:

Fleetwood Boy

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Does make me wonder what went unrecorded in the past.
Back in 1990 I'd been in London for the day and when I got back to Euston was directed to a Carlisle-bound special at 17:00 rather than the timetabled 17:05 - it had been laid on for a Women's Institute party at Buck House, but the gate staff were loading it with everybody with a Lancashire ticket.
As far as I can remember it was a 97/mk3 combo and the driver set off like a scalded cat, non-stop to Wigan. I forget the actual details but as we went through Crewe we were close to fifteen minutes up on the normal schedule, with a few more gained by Wigan. Preston-Lancaster was 14 minutes start-to-stop which at the time was remarkable. I presume the driver was under instruction to keep out of the way of the normal service.
I wish I'd kept accurate details, but I'm convinced that journey would rank as one of the fastest non-tilting on the route. But how often did such things happen?
Had a similar experience mid 1980s. Wanted to leave Glasgow just after 0900 but forgot it was Glasgow Fair Saturday. The 0910 Royal Scot was booked solid but then was told a relief was running at 0918.

Turned up to find an 85 on a rake of Mark 1s. Away on time like a bat out of hell, stormed up Beattock and an interesting run down the other side before grinding to a halt for a few minutes outside Carlisle.

Off again, up and over Shap, interesting ride again! Past Carnforth and Lancaster in a blur. Checked to a halt outside Preston, then rolled into Platform 5 to find the Royal Scot in Platform 4 “right time”.

The old roarer had basically gained 8 minutes against the Royal Scot schedule which by then was based on a Class 87 and 110mph running.

One of my favourite ever runs.
 

Trackman

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There's been a few Manchester-Euston in under 2 hours attempts, even tried it with HST stock, always ended up failing by a few minutes, only the Pendo managed to eventually break it.
I was on a HST one, 2h3m I think. EUS-MAN
 

Justin Smith

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As we have an attempt to break the record today between London - Glasgow, which is having its challenges on an busy operational railway (overcoming them so far). I remember the Tees - Tyne Pullman (0700 Newcastle - London) doing this to get the HST top speed record and it was agreed to attempt to do this between Northallerton and York and Grantham - Peterborough. This was an overspeed of the track speed limit, but remember this was a scheduled train. People on this train probably didn't have a clue about this attempt. I assume this would not be allowed now. I don't recall the train was shortened either.

A few others I remember was "top of the pops" - HST London - Bristol

BR shortened class 91 and mk4 did between Edinburgh and London in 3h30 (guest only)

GNER did a 91 and mk4 again on Edinburgh - London (I think this was also a special.)

I assume now with the safety systems in place, a lot of these records will be in place for along time.
Like so much else (and I'm not just talking Covid), more's the pity.
 

Jimbob52

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Slightly off topic but worth mentioning is the run by a ‘Castle’ hauled Paddington to Cardiff express in 1938. It cleared the Severn Tunnel (4 miles, 624 yards) in 3 minutes 7 seconds, an average speed of 84 mph.

At the bottom of the dip it was clocked at 98 mph over a half mile and may have touched three figures.

(Source: British Locomotive Practice and Performance, Railway Magazine, September 1938.)
 

Harvester

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Slightly off topic but worth mentioning is the run by a ‘Castle’ hauled Paddington to Cardiff express in 1938. It cleared the Severn Tunnel (4 miles, 624 yards) in 3 minutes 7 seconds, an average speed of 84 mph.

At the bottom of the dip it was clocked at 98 mph over a half mile and may have touched three figures.

(Source: British Locomotive Practice and Performance, Railway Magazine, September 1938.)
Also worth a mention is the run by MN 35003 Royal Mail on the 18.15 Weymouth-Waterloo on 26 June 1967. It ran Basingstoke to Woking start to stop in 18m 48s, and covered milepost 38 to 37 in 34 seconds (105.88mph).

(Source: The Twilight of Southern Steam - Don Benn, and The Great Steam Chase - Keith Widdowson).
 

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