Any first person anecdotes of the APT

Simon E

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Burton on Trent
Hi if you've read my other (few) posts you may have noticed I'm interested in the APT. I asked if you could see it from a public accessible place... and got some cracking accurate replies complete with a Google street view link So I went to Crewe... and then I posted a link to my blog with a few of the 80 odd photos I took.

Now to break cover as it were, I'm a freelance features writer (Writing speculatively then selling to a magazine I've been in Cycling magazines, Writing Magazine and most recently a 4 page article complete with photos on Stone Circles in Derbyshire Life) I've got an article about a major WW2 event hopefully going in a national magazine in November) I'm currently working on an article on the APT and have had a pitch accepted by a major nostalgia magazine subject to a suitable article.

Has anybody got any first hand stories of the APT (either APT-E or APT-P) were you on the development side, were you part of the crew on the service in the 80's. perhaps you were a V.I.P on its first passenger run in December 1981? Got to be your own experiences not hearsayplease.

PM me for details. What I can offer is an accurate use of your words, what I can't offer is payment for your story (as feature writing doesn't pay as much as you'd think!) I can be as vague or as accurate as you want with your name in the article.

So what's your story?
 
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Gloster

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Two minor stories that I have told before:

I travelled from Euston to Crewe on one of the runs that were available to interested staff who pre-booked on the understanding that if the train was cancelled, there was no entitlement to alternative transport. (As the sets were still somewhat unreliable, by limiting it to staff who had to sign a disclaimer (although there may have been a few invited guests) BR avoided the sort of, ”I travelled on the new super train and it broke down and I missed my dinner/daughter’s birthday/last orders”, type of newspaper headline.

Just after we started from Euston someone came round and handed out a questionnaire: I suspect that who received it was based on previous-selected random seat numbers. Bearing in mind that this was for BR staff, the first question was: “Have you travelled on the APT before? Yes/No/Don’t know.”

I was sitting on the off-side, back to traffic in a single seat. When we stopped at a signal somewhere in the Trent Valley, I turned round to look forwards. I had completely forgotten that the windows were angled inwards and banged my head on the glass.
 

Simon E

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12 Oct 2020
Messages
50
Location
Burton on Trent
Two minor stories that I have told before:

I travelled from Euston to Crewe on one of the runs that were available to interested staff who pre-booked on the understanding that if the train was cancelled, there was no entitlement to alternative transport. (As the sets were still somewhat unreliable, by limiting it to staff who had to sign a disclaimer (although there may have been a few invited guests) BR avoided the sort of, ”I travelled on the new super train and it broke down and I missed my dinner/daughter’s birthday/last orders”, type of newspaper headline.

Just after we started from Euston someone came round and handed out a questionnaire: I suspect that who received it was based on previous-selected random seat numbers. Bearing in mind that this was for BR staff, the first question was: “Have you travelled on the APT before? Yes/No/Don’t know.”

I was sitting on the off-side, back to traffic in a single seat. When we stopped at a signal somewhere in the Trent Valley, I turned round to look forwards. I had completely forgotten that the windows were angled inwards and banged my head on the glass.

Hi @Gloster Thank you for your reply, I'm hoping to write the article to submit for approval in January next year, would you be happy for me to use the above (either in full or part) if required (not sure what replies I'll get on here and shout outs elsewhere) if so what name can I attribute them to. your user name on here or perhaps your first name.
 
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54
I made only one journey by APT, in the short time they were in public service (was it early 1980s?) in the up direction from Glasgow to Euston on the service that left, I think, between 0800 and 0900. It was the first day of a fortnight's railroving, travelling first class. I was quite sleepy as I had travelled overnight down from Warrington to Glasgow to catch it. There was no catering because someone had mislaid a key to the buffet car, so I was very glad that I had had time for a butty and coffee on Central Station before departure.

The overall timing from Glasgow to Euston was, I recall, exactly five hours, so that the service had no advantage over that provided by the 87s. Some of the running was very impressively fast, especially around the many curves between Carstairs and Gretna. The tilting did not bother me at all. Some running was (I'm sure for timetabled reasons) slow. The station stops were quite long, especially that at Crewe (in platform 3, it was not then 11). At Polesworth we crossed from fast to slow line and then went very slowly to Nuneaton on jointed track; this was noticeably uncomfortable. After Nuneaton it was mostly a very fast and comfortable whizz. An enjoyable journey, but I was sleepy.

John Prytherch.
 

Simon E

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12 Oct 2020
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Location
Burton on Trent
I made only one journey by APT, in the short time they were in public service (was it early 1980s?) in the up direction from Glasgow to Euston on the service that left, I think, between 0800 and 0900. It was the first day of a fortnight's railroving, travelling first class. I was quite sleepy as I had travelled overnight down from Warrington to Glasgow to catch it. There was no catering because someone had mislaid a key to the buffet car, so I was very glad that I had had time for a butty and coffee on Central Station before departure.

The overall timing from Glasgow to Euston was, I recall, exactly five hours, so that the service had no advantage over that provided by the 87s. Some of the running was very impressively fast, especially around the many curves between Carstairs and Gretna. The tilting did not bother me at all. Some running was (I'm sure for timetabled reasons) slow. The station stops were quite long, especially that at Crewe (in platform 3, it was not then 11). At Polesworth we crossed from fast to slow line and then went very slowly to Nuneaton on jointed track; this was noticeably uncomfortable. After Nuneaton it was mostly a very fast and comfortable whizz. An enjoyable journey, but I was sleepy.

John Prytherch.
Thanks for your reply @john prytherch Okay to use this in my feature? and can you recall did the tables have a lip around them to stop cups sliding off when the train tilted or did I imagine hearing that? (Just to say I never travelled on it... and can't even get on it at the moment at the heritage centre.
 
Joined
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Yes of course you can use my bit. Sorry I can't remember about the tables - I think they have a lip. I think Crewe Heritage Centre is still closed due to the virus. I'm one of the Exeter West operators but have not been there this year at all. Quite extraordinary times!

John Prytherch.
 

CW2

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Crewe
I had a couple of APT runs. The first run was in September 1984, from Glasgow Central to Preston. My impression was that the interior design was a bit quirky, with tartan fabric on the seats, and the inward-sloping walls clearly visible. It was more like an aircraft than a train in some ways.

The second was Euston to Glasgow in April 1985. By that stage the train was operating as a relief service open to the public, so I just turned up on the day and struck lucky. All went well until north of Lockerbie, when the coach in front of mine suffered a tilt failure. The coach got stuck in full right-hand tilt position. We carried on at full speed with the coach in that condition - there were no passengers in it in any case. I travelled in it for a while - my notes recorded "Better than a fairground ride".

You can credit me as CW2 if you decide to use this.
 

pdeaves

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Thanks for your reply @john prytherch Okay to use this in my feature? and can you recall did the tables have a lip around them to stop cups sliding off when the train tilted or did I imagine hearing that? (Just to say I never travelled on it... and can't even get on it at the moment at the heritage centre.
As an aside, any lip on the tables would be to stop liquids dribbling off, rather than to stop cups sliding off. After all, the tilting would make the cup 'think' it was level and have no need to move.

My recollection (sort-of...) of APT was in 1985. I was travelling with a group of enthusiasts passing a depot near Glasgow. My 'friends' were hogging the window space so I looked out the other side and shouted 'APT!'. Everyone else rushed over to look at what was only a class 20 in reality, clearing the way for me to see the depot. Even in 1985, near the end of its life, the idea of APT was 'new! exciting!' to youngsters and the disappointment that there wasn't really an APT there was palpable.
 

Taunton

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Mine is the shortest recollection of all. Never saw it until one time, returning south on the WCML at speed one afternoon early 1980s, sat on the right, suddenly WHAM! and a flash of the novel red-striped livery going the other way. Gone. Thought "that must have been the APT". And that was it. Next time I saw it was in the museum at Crewe.
 

randyrippley

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Saw a variant of the APT-P once............in fact it was two APT-P power cars, with one of the prototype HST power cars leading, in a train including four test cars. All three power cars appeared to be providing power and it was heading north at speed (and I mean speed) at Galgate - just north of M6 junction 33. Would have been around 1979, sunny day

==edit==
Correction - probably autumn 1978
 
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Ash Bridge

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Regarding interior detail I have this shot of APT-P 2nd class seating, I also have from 30+ years ago a slide of the original 1st class interior shortly after the unit was delivered to Crewe Heritage Centre. I think currently all this 1st class seating upholstery has been covered with protective materials as the trim had begun to wear quite badly during its time at Crewe.
 

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Simon E

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Yes of course you can use my bit. Sorry I can't remember about the tables - I think they have a lip. I think Crewe Heritage Centre is still closed due to the virus. I'm one of the Exeter West operators but have not been there this year at all. Quite extraordinary times!

John Prytherch.
Thanks for the reply. hoping to use most in the article, thanks for your time!

As an aside, any lip on the tables would be to stop liquids dribbling off, rather than to stop cups sliding off. After all, the tilting would make the cup 'think' it was level and have no need to move.

My recollection (sort-of...) of APT was in 1985. I was travelling with a group of enthusiasts passing a depot near Glasgow. My 'friends' were hogging the window space so I looked out the other side and shouted 'APT!'. Everyone else rushed over to look at what was only a class 20 in reality, clearing the way for me to see the depot. Even in 1985, near the end of its life, the idea of APT was 'new! exciting!' to youngsters and the disappointment that there wasn't really an APT there was palpable.

Good point! I'm over thinking the tilting!

Saw a variant of the APT-P once............in fact it was two APT-P power cars, with one of the prototype HST power cars leading, in a train including four test cars. All three power cars appeared to be providing power and it was heading north at speed (and I mean speed) at Galgate - just north of M6 junction 33. Would have been around 1979, sunny day
Thank you for your reply, are you happy to include this if I need to?

Regarding interior detail I have this shot of APT-P 2nd class seating, I also have from 30+ years ago a slide of the original 1st class interior shortly after the unit was delivered to Crewe Heritage Centre. I think currently all this 1st class seating upholstery has been covered with protective materials as the trim had begun to wear quite badly during its time at Crewe.

Hi @Ash Bridge Would you mind if I used this photo! I really wanted to get interior shots but obviously can't. I can't offer payment but would make sure you get a picture credit in the magazine.
 
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Ash Bridge

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Yes no problem. If I can locate the first class interior 35mm slide I'll get it scanned and post it alongside the current shot, will try but can't guarantee it will be today though.
 

randyrippley

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Thank you for your reply, are you happy to include this if I need to?

Yep, no probs if you think it useful
There used to be a youtube video showing the same oddball formation - possibly the same run - heading through Preston, but it seems to have been deleted
 

32475

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This APT ticket is all I have to show for a planned trip from Glasgow Central to Euston in November 1982. My father worked for BR and so we used to get family privilege rate travel including the opportunity to travel on the APT. I was so excited as a teenager to have this opportunity so I took an overnight sleeper from Birmingham New Street to Glasgow Central (Mk 1 sleepers hauled by 85012) in order to travel to Euston early the following morning. Imagine my disappointment on arrival at Glasgow to find a hand scrawled notice at platform 1 to say the APT wasn’t running because it had technical problems. Well I still had my ticket to London so with little enthusiasm I boarded the next InterCity hauled by 87016. On the approach to Euston, there was an APT lurking sorrowfully in a siding.
 

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WesternLancer

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Hi if you've read my other (few) posts you may have noticed I'm interested in the APT. I asked if you could see it from a public accessible place... and got some cracking accurate replies complete with a Google street view link So I went to Crewe... and then I posted a link to my blog with a few of the 80 odd photos I took.

Now to break cover as it were, I'm a freelance features writer (Writing speculatively then selling to a magazine I've been in Cycling magazines, Writing Magazine and most recently a 4 page article complete with photos on Stone Circles in Derbyshire Life) I've got an article about a major WW2 event hopefully going in a national magazine in November) I'm currently working on an article on the APT and have had a pitch accepted by a major nostalgia magazine subject to a suitable article.

Has anybody got any first hand stories of the APT (either APT-E or APT-P) were you on the development side, were you part of the crew on the service in the 80's. perhaps you were a V.I.P on its first passenger run in December 1981? Got to be your own experiences not hearsayplease.

PM me for details. What I can offer is an accurate use of your words, what I can't offer is payment for your story (as feature writing doesn't pay as much as you'd think!) I can be as vague or as accurate as you want with your name in the article.

So what's your story?

My memory is from early 80s - will check my ticket which I found in a cupboard at my mum and dad's house earlier this summer - prob dates from c1984 - feel free to use any of this if you like - if you want more info please PM me.
------

I was in my early teens at the time. The station staff at my home station, Berwick in Sussex, knew that I am my dad were interested in railways. The station master (probably not his job title by then but that was what he was regarded as by me!) had become aware of the APT running in public passenger service as a relief train, and suggested he could book us on it with reserved seats if we were interested. We certainly were. A good example of staff promoting sales of BR travel.

My dad booked the tickets with our family railcard, and travelling north as far as Preston allowed a quick change onto a return train and the ability to get back to the south coast at a reasonable time of night. The tickets were issued on standard Edmonson card ticket stock. I kept the tickets and some literature from on board which I recently re-discovered in my parents house.

I'd already 'cabbed' the APT, thanks to a friendly driver, when seeing it on the platform at Euston, no doubt on the occasion of a different test or relief run.

Of course with hindsight it would have been better to have travelled through to Glasgow and returned the next day, but at the time we had no idea the APT would not be rolled out in full service in due course, so there didn't seem to be any need to have anything other than a 'sample run'.

Memories that stand out to me include the tartan upholstery, the sleek, modern interior, tapered cabin interior to facilitate the tilt, rapid acceleration and smooth running at speed. I had rarely travelled on other then modern trains like HSTs so my general benchmark was Southern Region Mk 1 EMUs so this really seemed like the future.

We stepped off the APT at Preston and almost immediately joined a rather busy 'conventional' Inter City train back to Euston. It seemed to have none of the futuristic panache of the APT.

We must have enthused about the trip when we got home as my mum, who was a documentary film maker, was inspired enough to come up with the idea to do a short film about the APT that would promote it. She made a number of enquiries to the BR public relations office to pursue this idea. Clearly their unspoken reluctance must have been down to the uncertainty about the prospects of a full service launch.

Mum also came home from work one day with a Hornby APT model, which we ran on my childhood train set, but she always refers to the model as "her APT".

It's a great shame the Government were not prepared to back the development of the APT with the resources the project needed. A recession and negative political attitudes to nationalised undertakings in the 1980s probably put paid to that, but it seemed to me that if things had been just a little bit different the train would easily have captured the public's imagination, just as the HST did. Our family's imagination was certainly captured.

Edit - date of travel was Friday 24 August 1984. Price of ticket seems to have been £15.15 half fare for my dad, £1 for me (Family Railcard Rate). Basically day return Berwick Sussex to Preston.
I kept a timetable that shows between 8 aug to 31 aug 1984 weds and Friday only - dept Euston 16.30, arr Preston 18.59, dep Preston 19.02, Motherwell 20.54 Glasgow Cntl 21.12
I also kept a folded A4 leaflet which styles the train as APT-P The Intercity Development Train.
 
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Simon E

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12 Oct 2020
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Burton on Trent
This APT ticket is all I have to show for a planned trip from Glasgow Central to Euston in November 1982. My father worked for BR and so we used to get family privilege rate travel including the opportunity to travel on the APT. I was so excited as a teenager to have this opportunity so I took an overnight sleeper from Birmingham New Street to Glasgow Central (Mk 1 sleepers hauled by 85012) in order to travel to Euston early the following morning. Imagine my disappointment on arrival at Glasgow to find a hand scrawled notice at platform 1 to say the APT wasn’t running because it had technical problems. Well I still had my ticket to London so with little enthusiasm I boarded the next InterCity hauled by 87016. On the approach to Euston, there was an APT lurking sorrowfully in a siding.
That's great can I use that image in the article! a real piece of history
 

Simon E

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My memory is from early 80s - will check my ticket which I found in a cupboard at my mum and dad's house earlier this summer - prob dates from c1984 - feel free to use any of this if you like - if you want more info please PM me.
------

I was in my early teens at the time. The station staff at my home station, Berwick in Sussex, knew that I am my dad were interested in railways. The station master (probably not his job title by then but that was what he was regarded as by me!) had become aware of the APT running in public passenger service as a relief train, and suggested he could book us on it with reserved seats if we were interested. We certainly were. A good example of staff promoting sales of BR travel.

My dad booked the tickets with our family railcard, and travelling north as far as Preston allowed a quick change onto a return train and the ability to get back to the south coast at a reasonable time of night. The tickets were issued on standard Edmonson card ticket stock. I kept the tickets and some literature from on board which I recently re-discovered in my parents house.

I'd already 'cabbed' the APT, thanks to a friendly driver, when seeing it on the platform at Euston, no doubt on the occasion of a different test or relief run.

Of course with hindsight it would have been better to have travelled through to Glasgow and returned the next day, but at the time we had no idea the APT would not be rolled out in full service in due course, so there didn't seem to be any need to have anything other than a 'sample run'.

Memories that stand out to me include the tartan upholstery, the sleek, modern interior, tapered cabin interior to facilitate the tilt, rapid acceleration and smooth running at speed. I had rarely travelled on other then modern trains like HSTs so my general benchmark was Southern Region Mk 1 EMUs so this really seemed like the future.

We stepped off the APT at Preston and almost immediately joined a rather busy 'conventional' Inter City train back to Euston. It seemed to have none of the futuristic panache of the APT.

We must have enthused about the trip when we got home as my mum, who was a documentary film maker, was inspired enough to come up with the idea to do a short film about the APT that would promote it. She made a number of enquiries to the BR public relations office to pursue this idea. Clearly their unspoken reluctance must have been down to the uncertainty about the prospects of a full service launch.

Mum also came home from work one day with a Hornby APT model, which we ran on my childhood train set, but she always refers to the model as "her APT".

It's a great shame the Government were not prepared to back the development of the APT with the resources the project needed. A recession and negative political attitudes to nationalised undertakings in the 1980s probably put paid to that, but it seemed to me that if things had been just a little bit different the train would easily have captured the public's imagination, just as the HST did. Our family's imagination was certainly captured.

Thank you for your reply, are you happy for me to use this in the article if required? credit you as westerlancer?
 

SargeNpton

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Working in the Divisional Manager's Office at Euston at the time, I was able to get on one of the staff-only shakedown trips shortly before the first public run. Took it from Euston as far as Crewe. The suspension seemed strange at slow speed out of Euston but once up to speed it was good - until Watford Gap where a 20mph TSR right by the M1 saw Britain's fastest train at a crawl whilst all the road traffic zoomed past. Then, somewhere near Nuneaton, we had to slow again due to sheep on the line.

As attached: RAP_445 & 446: Front and back of postcard carried as a Railway Letter on 7th December 1981.
RAP_447: the reservation ticket from my run on the 4th. Though it says non-dining I did managed to blag a meal thanks to one of my office colleagues
RAP_448 & 449: Front cover and inside of souvenir leaflet that was given out to passengers

RAP_445.jpgRAP_446.jpgRAP_447.jpgRAP_448.jpgRAP_449.jpg
 

Cowley

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Really enjoying reading this. I’m finding myself wondering who on here had the best (fastest or maybe fastest over a normally slow curved section) run..?
 

GusB

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The thread certainly has been a fascinating read. Sadly my own memories of the APT are sparse. I can vaguely remember spotting one on the platform at Glasgow Central, but other than that I just recall seeing them stabled at the depot (was it Polmadie?) as we passed on another train. I'd probably have been travelling to Largs for the Millport ferry and would only have been about eight or nine.
 

CW2

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Really enjoying reading this. I’m finding myself wondering who on here had the best (fastest or maybe fastest over a normally slow curved section) run..?
Not first hand (alas) but I was working in Glasgow Control when the record London - Glasgow run took place. Unfortunately I was unable to wangle a change of Rest Days to allow me to travel on it. One of my friends in the Train Planning Unit did do it, and carefully produced an accurate log. Alas he's not in the country any more - long term work exile. I was always rather envious of him for having been on that trip.
 

nlogax

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+1 for this entire thread. Envious that the APT came and went long before I started exploring the network but I love reading the different experiences here.

Fwiw I always liked the look of the APT interiors. Nice and airy with big windows, and I even like the seat patterns. Reminds me of old Golf GTis :D
 

Bletchleyite

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+1 for this entire thread. Envious that the APT came and went long before I started exploring the network but I love reading the different experiences here.

Fwiw I always liked the look of the APT interiors. Nice and airy with big windows, and I even like the seat patterns. Reminds me of old Golf GTis :D

I dunno, I always thought it looked cramped and claustrophobic and quite narrow.
 

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