What would have happened if...

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Temple Meads

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...the APT had gone into mainstream service?

Would anything revolutionary happened to journey times/passenger satisfaction?

Would they still be in service today?

Would HST's have stayed in service, or been consigned rapidly to the dustbin?

Would enthusiasts have loved them?

What do we think, any other views?

All very hypothetical and speculative of course, but I'm sure we can still have an interesting discussion, by the way, I will give my views on these questions later on ;)
 
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Class377/5

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...the APT had gone into mainstream service?

Would anything revolutionary happened to journey times/passenger satisfaction?

Would they still be in service today?

Would HST's have stayed in service, or been consigned rapidly to the dustbin?

Would enthusiasts have loved them?

What do we think, any other views?

All very hypothetical and speculative of course, but I'm sure we can still have an interesting discussion, by the way, I will give my views on these questions later on ;)

Maybe the plan to built the Euston - Victoria link would have been built and the APT would have made it to Brighton as BR planned.
 

hairyhandedfool

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Would anything revolutionary happened to journey times/passenger satisfaction?....

Journey times would have been reduced on some routes, but not to the extent they have since Pendolinos have been introduced (because of trackwork changes). Passenger satisfaction may have improved if they sorted out the issues with tilt.

Would they still be in service today?....

Almost certainly, but then Virgin may have dumped them for the Pendolinos anyway.

Would HST's have stayed in service, or been consigned rapidly to the dustbin?....

The plan from the start was that the HST would be short term, so it really depends what budget the programme would have stretched to. I rather suspect HSTs would have found work on XC still, possibly working all routes and preventing the conversion of 47/8s, and the GWML, probably the MML too.

Would enthusiasts have loved them?....

As with all classes, some would, some would not, some would be indifferent

What do we think, any other views?....

I think APT would've met with budget cuts quite early on even if they had got all it's faults sorted. I doubt they would have been built for other lines as BR searched for something cheaper and we'd still be stuck with the Pendolinos and Voyagers/Meridians
 

Bald Rick

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...the APT had gone into mainstream service?

Would anything revolutionary happened to journey times/passenger satisfaction?

Would they still be in service today?

Would HST's have stayed in service, or been consigned rapidly to the dustbin?

Would enthusiasts have loved them?

What do we think, any other views?

All very hypothetical and speculative of course, but I'm sure we can still have an interesting discussion, by the way, I will give my views on these questions later on ;)

1) yes, journey times would have dropped to something close to those today. Passenger satisfaction - again probably as today for train environment, just with more sick bags.

2) assuming they were reliable, yes they would still be in front line service. Approaching their 30th birthday a discussion would be underway as to whether they could last till HS2 opened.

3) HSTs would still be with us, on the lines they are on now, except the MML.

Other views.

The MML would have been electrified in the mid 80s to cascade some of the rolling stock from the WCML, this was the BR plan. Many fewer Class 90s and dvts would have been required. The stock cascaded to the MML would have been replaced about 10 years ago, possibly with something like a Pendolino.

The ECML electrification would have been delayed by 3-5 years, and completed just in time for privatisation. The subsequent improvement in services would be seen as an outstanding success for privatisation.

The WCML modernisation would still have happened.

We would still have voyagers on XC, just not quite as many as the HSTs that in the real world went to the MML would have gone to XC.
 

Failed Unit

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I am not sure if the APT programme would have made much difference to the HST. We would probably have not seen the 91s and mk4s. But the HSTs we already committed before the APT project was finally killed off. In fact the ecml electrification was not approved until after the APT was killed.
 

dangie

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The plans and technology would not have been sold abroad and maybe we would not now be buying foreign Pendolino's.

Just a pipe dream..........
 

Schnellzug

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I don't suppose it would have made any difference to the HSTs, since BR was hardly carrying out large scale electrification around that time, so it would only have replaced hauled stock on the WCML.

How did the APT compare with Pendos? Would they have offered a superior Travelling environment? Were the windows bigger? The Pendo has the benefit of many years experience behind it, of course, but would BR have made the APT reliable enough eventually? I mean, they still have enough problems with the Class 91s, which according to what they say were dervied from the APT power acrs, weren't they?
 

sprinterguy

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Apart from the Pendolino predating the APT...
The Italian Pendolino family of trains only entered production (With the ETR 450) after FIAT had assimilated the tilt technology from the APT. Their exploits before that had been basically experimental, it was the patents for the APT tilt technology that allowed the Italians to create the production trains.
 

RyanB

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...the APT had gone into mainstream service?

Would anything revolutionary happened to journey times/passenger satisfaction?

I suspect that passenger satisfaction would have improved greatly under BR

Would they still be in service today?

I'd like to think so, and we would likely be seeing a new train built upon the APT idea with modern technology

Would HST's have stayed in service, or been consigned rapidly to the dustbin?

I think that the HSTs would have remained in service, albeit with the formations cut down to 5 coaches plus 2 power cars. They'd probably work most cross-country routes

Would enthusiasts have loved them?

I reckon they would've loved them, and close to their retirement there would be a major effort to preserve at least a quarter of the fleet for mainline running and at least another quarter would go to museums

What do we think, any other views?

If APT had been successful then I think that old Maggie would have thought twice about privatisation, and there would likely have been calls for greater investment in the railways to bring it in to the modern age.

All very hypothetical and speculative of course, but I'm sure we can still have an interesting discussion, by the way, I will give my views on these questions later on ;)

As to what I've said, I highly doubt that any of that would have happened even if APT was successful, but what is above is an ideal world
 

ainsworth74

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If APT had been successful then I think that old Maggie would have thought twice about privatisation

You do realise that Thatcher was opposed to railway privatisation and it was John Major that undertook to privatise the railways? I also don't see how one train would have prevented privatisation...
 

phil8715

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This is an interesting debate. I think when the APT P ran its very brief revenue service in December 1981 too soon. If they ran the revenue service a year later they may have ironed out any problems they were having. They also built too many APT sets, they should have only build the 1 set and waited till they got the prototype correct.

The APT project I think was scrapped in 1985 by the Tory goverment because they spent too much money, and they had just got the APT running without any problems.

Whether the APT would have been in service now is open for debate. I think they would have built the pendolinos and probably started to take the APT's out of service.

What they could have done was buy the patents for the pendolino and built it in Britain.


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Wyvern

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The Italian Pendolino family of trains only entered production (With the ETR 450) after FIAT had assimilated the tilt technology from the APT. Their exploits before that had been basically experimental, it was the patents for the APT tilt technology that allowed the Italians to create the production trains.
What generally went before was so-called pendular , or passive, tilt, generally speaking. The APT pioneered active tilt. It relied heavily on sensing g forces rather than using balises.

Had more been done with the APT the amount of tilt would have been reduced. Even the Pendolino can you make feel queasy the first time. you experience it.

The later Pendolinos were also able to take advantage of more modern miniatiure electronics, plus advances in balise technology.
 

tbtc

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I don't suppose it would have made any difference to the HSTs, since BR was hardly carrying out large scale electrification around that time, so it would only have replaced hauled stock on the WCML

True - the ECML wasn't electrified in the '80s, so there was nowhere really for the 81-87s to go - maybe the Mk3 coaches would have moved onto other routes (to be hauled by diesels), but I don't know where 200+ electric locos would have gone (they can't all have worked freight!) if APT had replaced the 81-87s on the WCML.
 

DXMachina

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^That seems to be a problem universally faced by railways - there's popular pressure for electrification but little consideration of the effect this has on existing assets and whether work can be found for them.
 

starrymarkb

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What they could have done was buy the patents for the pendolino and built it in Britain.

They were built in Britain at Washward Heath and they don't use the Fiat Tilt system, instead they use the Swiss SIG system.
 

sprinterguy

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I don't suppose it would have made any difference to the HSTs, since BR was hardly carrying out large scale electrification around that time, so it would only have replaced hauled stock on the WCML.

How did the APT compare with Pendos? Would they have offered a superior Travelling environment? Were the windows bigger? The Pendo has the benefit of many years experience behind it, of course, but would BR have made the APT reliable enough eventually? I mean, they still have enough problems with the Class 91s, which according to what they say were dervied from the APT power acrs, weren't they?
Much of the electrical equipment incorporated into the class 91 is indeed derived from the APT-P power cars. The mark 4 carriages also incorporate some lessons learned from experience with the APT-Ps although there are very few, if any, features that were directly carried over to the mark 4s.
 

tbtc

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^That seems to be a problem universally faced by railways - there's popular pressure for electrification but little consideration of the effect this has on existing assets and whether work can be found for them.

This is a problem.

The current wave of electrification around Manchester/ Reading etc (and suggestions on here for places like Cardiff) are partly the result of Thameslink/ Crossrail displacing over a hundred older EMUs that are still an improvement on a Pacer (which would need withdrawing by the end of this decade).

Were it not for the potential to cascade these units north/ west it'd be a lot harder to justify some of the electrification plans. Otherwise you'd end up with electrification like Stockport - Hazel Grove which only sees one EMU a day.

It's a bit like writing music and having no lyrics to go with it - got to try to match the infrastructure improvements to the stock available (and what happens to the displaced trains too)
 

moonrakerz

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You do realise that Thatcher was opposed to railway privatisation and it was John Major that undertook to privatise the railways? I also don't see how one train would have prevented privatisation...

.............maybe - but she was responsible for the winter of 1947, losing the world cup in 1970 and the drought of 1976...:roll: :lol: :roll: :lol:
 

sprinterguy

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I am not sure if the APT programme would have made much difference to the HST. We would probably have not seen the 91s and mk4s. But the HSTs we already committed before the APT project was finally killed off. In fact the ecml electrification was not approved until after the APT was killed.
The Intercity 225s were directly developed from the APT project. Even as early as 1973, the APT development team had created a proposal for a smaller, 125mph APT-S with a single power car, but at the time they were busy concentrating on the development of the twelve carriage, 155mph monsters that were the P-trains. By 1982 when some experience had been gained through the testing and operation of the APT-Ps technology had moved on and the power car for the proposed APT-S had been moved to one end of the formation: Essentially giving the Intercity 225 formation of loco, nine carriages and a DVT. At the same time the design for the "full fat" APT-U, featured power cars at both ends of the train sandwiching ten trailers for 140mph operation, and the idea of articulating the carriages had been dropped.

It is therefore clear to see that production APT sets would have had much more in common with the Intercity 225s than the APT-P sets. The project was not simply "killed off" and attention switched to developing the Intercity 225: Development from one to the other was continuous: When cessation of the APT project took place in 1985, one APT-P trainset was officially redesignated as "APT-D" for continued development work in connection with the creation of the class 91s.

It was quite early in the project that it was admitted that 155mph running offered very few benefits over running at 140mph, offering only a 3 minute time saving on a Euston to Glasgow run. And later on, by 1982, it was recognised that even 140mph running would only be possible if the old chestnut of "improvements in signalling" was achieved, and the production APT sets would probably be limited to 125mph to begin with, which sounds familiar on both the East and West Coast main lines at present...

If production APTs had been introduced on the WCML, then I could envisage that the class 90s would not have been introduced. Only "roarer" classes 81 and 85 really survived to the stage where they were replaced by new traction developments later than the 87s, with the 85s hanging on the longest until replaced on Speedlink duties by 90s. If APTs had been introduced on the West Coast in the mid to late eighties, then 36 class 87s, only 15 years old, would have been surplus to requirements, which could have handled the freight work that was taken on by the 90s. West Coast only really received a number of 90s for passenger work as recompense for the lack of investment in new rolling stock as a result of the cessation of the APT project.

After electrification through to Glasgow in '73, the West Coast rather seemed to miss the boat when it came to rolling stock modernisation: First with the cancellation of the APT project, then by missing out on a follow on order of tilting Intercity 225s (Tilt was never considered for the East Coast 225s, as it would only save 5 minutes on the London to Edinburgh journey time, but the trains were of course originally developed, as a follow up to the APT project, with the West Coast in mind), and then with the proposed Intercity 250 which re-introduced the idea of 155mph running that had been mooted 20 years before.

It is interesting to consider whether Virgin would have replaced a fleet of APTs that would have only been about 20ish years old: Surely one of the driving factors behind the replacement of both the Crosscountry and West Coast fleets was that there was such a hotch potch of different train types operated by both franchises (47s, 86s, HSTs and mark 2 coaching stock on XC, 86s, 87s, 90s, HSTs, mark 2s and mark 3s on West Coast) of which the oldest members of the fleet, the 47s, 86s and mark 2s, were all in the 30-40 years old age bracket.

Though Virgin did have big plans for new trains whenever they have bid for the East Coast franchise, which operates the even younger 225s!
 

Temple Meads

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OK, I'm very pleased with this debate so far, the replies have been very interesting, keep them coming :)

So my opinions..

Would anything revolutionary happened to journey times/passenger satisfaction? Yes, if the ride had been sorted out properly, passengers would be in love.

Would they still be in service today? Perhaps, I'm pretty sure they would've lasted until privatisation, it really depends on what the franchisees just after privatisation would've thought of the APT's, and how kind time had been to them.

Would HST's have stayed in service, or been consigned rapidly to the dustbin? Less would've been needed, but a good few would've found other work.

Would enthusiasts have loved them? In the end, yes, would have perhaps taken a bit of time though.
 

Matt Taylor

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The one and only Class 89 would not have been built as it was only a prototype for LHCS on the West Coast. the Class 90s wouldn't have been built either I don't think. Class 87s would have been cascaded to freight and Anglia duties. Enthusiasts would have hated the APTs in the same way they hated HSTs in the 1970s.
 

Failed Unit

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You need to remember re class 91s and Mk4s the project was not approved until long after the APT was cancelled. Although the technology was based on the apt I suspect the ECML would have had a follow on of APT if it had existed. It is only now we build new trains for every operator BR preferred follow on orders. It was 89s and mk3 planned initially for ECML.

The 87s and Mk3s would be on London to Norwich following displacing. Maybe even London - Northampton and Cambridge. BR did cascades better. The surplus mk3 would definately be on XC services.
 

Schnellzug

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The wierd thing about APT was that the power cars were in the middle, with no access through them, so every train was divided into two seperate halves. Which is no different from two Voyagers in multiple, of course, but still odd for one unit. Why didn't they put the Power cars at the end? That's one big advantage with the Pendoes.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The 87s and Mk3s would be on London to Norwich following displacing. Maybe even London - Northampton and Cambridge. BR did cascades better. .

Hmmm, I think I'd add a caveat, before Sectorisation. Sectorisation was the worst thing that happened to the railways (since Beeching, at any rate), it anyone was to ask me. That was the end of any ideas of a rational cascade programme, when Intercity (Sorry, INTERCITY) withdrew stock and scrapped it straight away because Regional Railways was so obsessed with two-car DMUs for everything.
 

Failed Unit

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The wierd thing about APT was that the power cars were in the middle, with no access through them, so every train was divided into two seperate halves. Which is no different from two Voyagers in multiple, of course, but still odd for one unit. Why didn't they put the Power cars at the end? That's one big advantage with the Pendoes.

The sets built were still prototypes, I don't know if they would have kept the half sets if it had hit production. Although non-gangwayed trains were common on BR at the time (115s) BR was moving away from it with through gangways on all new orders such as the 150/2. Saying that the changed that policy as well with the 321.
 

Wyvern

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THe problem with the electric APT was the discovery that it was not possible to have a pan up at each end of the train with the cataenary then (and still) in use, and the use of a bus along the train was not allowed. There was something of a battle with the Home Office (?) before the Pendolinos could be brought in.

TO say that the principles learnt in building the APT were used for the Class 91 is to include the fact that what Derby had learned since 1964 informed the design of all new trains including the HST - and goods trains that could travel at more than 40mph safely.

Two problems with the APT project were that the APT-E had very rarely run at speed on the network, except for the record breaking run on the GWML, because the operating side refused to provide the paths. Otherwise it was only at Old Dalby. Secondly when the CM&EE took over to build the APT-P, they changed quite a lot to make it cheaper and, perhaps, within the capability of the BREL workshops.
 

sprinterguy

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You need to remember re class 91s and Mk4s the project was not approved until long after the APT was cancelled. Although the technology was based on the apt I suspect the ECML would have had a follow on of APT if it had existed. It is only now we build new trains for every operator BR preferred follow on orders. It was 89s and mk3 planned initially for ECML.
It was indeed the intention for the East Coast to follow on from the West Coast in getting an order of APTs, but as I say the production APTs would not have looked much different from the 225s in terms of formation. Although yes, the IC225 project was a marked change in direction from the APT even if development continued from one another, although four years between the APT project being dropped (The Ford/Dain report apparently put paid to any notions of a production fleet of APTs in 1983 and from then on the APT-Ps were being used to develop the concept of the 225: So you were right that the project was officially killed off and the scope and focus completely changed; I overlooked that bit, sorry) and the 225s being approved is not a huge amount of time, and as I say development work was ongoing.
 
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starrymarkb

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THe problem with the electric APT was the discovery that it was not possible to have a pan up at each end of the train with the cataenary then (and still) in use, and the use of a bus along the train was not allowed. There was something of a battle with the Home Office (?) before the Pendolinos could be brought in.

It's a problem on high spec knitting as well. At high speeds the first pantograph will set a wave in motion in the contact wire and that means the second panto may struggle to stay in contact with the wire. TGVs on high speed lines will only have the rear power car's pantograph raised, the front being fed by the rooftop bus line. Eurostars are long enough for the initial wave to dissipate but you'll still see a lot of sparking from the rear powercar. 395s in multiple will use the Front on the leading unit and Rear on the trailing to put as much space as possible between them...
 
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