Preston-based train driver will attempt to break fastest London to Glasgow rail journey record

An attempt to break the 36-year-old record for the fastest train journey between London and Glasgow will be made on Thursday (June 17).

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:01 am

Avanti West Coast is collaborating 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.

Preston-based driver, Neil Barker, will be in the driver's seat of the Pendolino train being used for the record attempt. He'll be joined by his manager, Darran, who is from Lancashire.

The existing record for the quickest train journey between the two cities is three hours, 52 minutes and 40 seconds.

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The attempt at setting a new record will be made by a nine-carriage Pendolino train named Royal Scot. (Credit: Chris Milner)
The attempt at setting a new record will be made by a nine-carriage Pendolino train named Royal Scot. (Credit: Chris Milner)

That was set by British Rail in December 1984 using a prototype Advanced Passenger Train.

"After almost 40 years it’s time for this record to be broken, and I wish everyone the best of luck as they attempt this impressive feat," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

"Our rail network binds our Union together, and today's attempt underlines why our clean, green railways is a great way to see the UK."

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The existing record for the quickest train journey was set by British Rail in December 1984 using a prototype Advanced Passenger Train. (Credit: Chris Milner)

The quickest modern regular services on the route take around four-and-a-half hours.

The attempt at setting a new record will be made by a nine-carriage Pendolino train named Royal Scot.

It will run at 125mph - the maximum permitted speed on Britain's mainline railway - for as much of the 401-mile route as possible.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy said the event will be a "brilliant collaboration across the railway industry".

He added: "It shows how the clean, green railway of today can cement economic growth, jobs, housing and social cohesion through better connectivity across the United Kingdom."

Sir Peter has been asked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to examine how UK transport links can be improved, and will publish his final report this summer.

Steve Montgomery, managing director of Avanti West Coast’s parent company First Rail, claimed the record attempt "shows how effectively rail can deliver cross-border connectivity".

He added that trains have an "essential role" in connecting major cities, driving economic growth and combating climate change.

The Railway Performance Society will be the official timekeeper for the record attempt.

Regular train tickets will not be valid for the service, which departs at 10.36am on Thursday.

The train will carry rail industry VIPs and subscribers to The Railway Magazine who have 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 support people involved in the railway and their families.

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