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British Trains
Moore's Trains - Virgin's Fiat Ferroviaria Class 390 Pendolino

Virgin Train's Fiat Ferroviaria Class 390 Pendolino tilting intercity express train

British Trains - The tilting Class 390 Pendolino intercity express
My name is Craig Moore and I enjoy seeing trains thunder past, be they old restored steam engines to modern electric or diesel superfast intercity express trains. Many people have a fascination with trains from the child playing with his Thomas the Tank Engine Hornby railway set to the train spotting enthusiast. Britain is blessed with conservation groups who restore, maintain, preserve and run old steam engines, track, stations, points and signal boxes. They take the same care in restoring the passenger carriages as they do the wagons and trucks.

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Virgin Trains class 390 Pendolino powered tilting trains
The Virgin Trains class 390 Pendolino powered tilting trains built by the Italian company FIAT Ferroviaria were designed to run at 140mph (225Km/h) on existing track. The British Government did not have the political will or money to build new superfast straight railway lines in the UK. These new trains were still limited to the slower intercity express speeds of 125mph. To maximise the speed benefit of this new engine to obtain reduce travel times, improvements to the existing west coast main line (WCML) track were planed.

Virgin Train's WCML services are from London Euston to Glasgow Central, with intensive scheduled trains that go to Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Manchester and Liverpool. The railtrack infrastructure upgrade has had many problems. The lack of money meant that the signal system has not been upgraded. This has meant that the maximum speed potential of these new trains have not been able to be used operationally. Apart from the Eurostar which runs on new high speed track the Virgin Trains class 390 Pendolino remains the fastest train operating in Britain.

The class 390 trains are currently able to travel at 135mph. As improvements to track and signalling continue Virgin Trains hope to eventually be able to obtain journey times of four hours for the London Euston to Glasgow route. The Virgin Trains class 390 Pendolino’s coaches have a relatively narrow body which tapers at the top to enable them to cope with the limiting Victorian tunnel and bridge height clearances as well as the powered tilting.

Trains are now becoming quicker than Jet planes as a form of transport. I know that sounds stupid but when you include the time it takes to get to the airport, book in and go through security, it can take longer to go by plane. For example if you want to go to the centre of Paris from the centre of London it only takes 2 hours 30 minutes by Eurostar train. It would take about 30 minutes to get to Heathrow from central London. Booking in, security and passport control would take another hour. You have to be through the departure gate more than 40 minutes before the plane takes off. Yes the flight does not take long but if you add the aircraft taxiing time that is about an hour. Then in Paris you have to get through passport control and collect your luggage. That is another hour. You then have to get into central Paris from the airport which will take you another hour. Total time 5 hours 10 minutes. Taking the aircraft option has added three hours 20 minutes to your journey time.

Virgin Trains for journeys from London to Glasgow are currently offering return tickets booked in advance at half the price of the cheapest budget airline ticket. The Journey to Scotland takes 4 hours 30 minutes (soon to be reduced to only 4 hours). To go from the centre of London to the centre of Glasgow by plane takes the same time as the trip to Paris for the same reasons. Taking the aircraft option takes 5 hours 10 minutes. Yes it is only a saving of 40 minutes but there are no hassles. It can also be cheaper if you book in advance. The age of the train may be dawning for the second time. (Oh I forgot, it is also better for the environment!) Tell your friends about us. Send them an e-mail

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