London-Glasgow train journey record bid fails by just 21 seconds

Train driver Neil Barker (PA Wire)
16:39pm, Thu 17 Jun 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

An attempt to break the 36-year-old record for the fastest train journey between London and Glasgow failed by just 21 seconds.

Avanti West Coast’s Royal Scot train arrived at Glasgow Central three hours, 53 minutes and one second after its departure from London Euston, according to the operator.

The firm wrote on Twitter: “In the words of So Solid Crew, we missed it by 21 seconds.”

Rail expert Mark Smith, who was on board, said a temporary speed limit on the track at Carstairs, South Lanarkshire, “cost us 90 seconds”.

Bagpiper (PA Wire)

He added: “It was a known risk but they thought we could still do it. But it’s still the fastest train I’ve ever taken from London to Scotland.”

The nine-carriage Pendolino train travelled non-stop at an average speed of 103mph on the 401-mile route.

Driver Neil Barker told the PA news agency: “We’ll just have to come back and try again.”

The failure means the record remains three hours, 52 minutes and 40 seconds.

That was set by a British Rail prototype Advanced Passenger Train in December 1984, which was allowed to travel in excess of today’s mainline speed limit of 125mph.

Phil Whittingham, managing director of Avanti West Coast, said: “While we’re disappointed we’ve not broken the record today, we are proud to have worked with industry partners to showcase the vital role rail can play in enabling cleaner, greener travel and connectivity across the United Kingdom.

“We want to connect people and places to opportunity, so we’re pleased to champion the railway’s part in this with our record attempt, while supporting Action for Children and Railway Benefit Fund whose work supports families and individuals along our route.”

Avanti West Coast collaborated with Government-owned Network Rail, which manages rail infrastructure, to plot the train’s path around passenger and freight services on the West Coast Main Line.

The train carried rail industry VIPs and subscribers to The Railway Magazine, who made a charitable donation.

The money raised will go towards Avanti West Coast’s charity partner, Action for Children, and the Railway Benefit Fund, which supports people involved in the railway and their families.

Sign up to our newsletter