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Tilting train

negotiating tight curves at high speeds ,

APT-E travelling at speed.
APT-E travelling at speed. British Rail

Tilting mechanisms allow trains to negotiate tight curves and travel at high speeds along our rail network. Trains with active tilting systems were first demonstrated at British Rail Research by the Advanced Passenger Train Experimental (APT-E) around 1970.

There had been tilting trains before this but these worked on a pendulum arrangement where the coach was supported by a high-up pivot and the body just swung out on curves. While this was fine for passenger comfort it was far from safe.  

The APT-E was the pioneer of the active tilt to negotiate tight curves at higher speeds than previous passive tilting trains. Following this three prototypes went into brief service on the Euston-Glasgow line, eventually leading to the design of the Pendolino, now Virgin’s flagship train on the West Coast Main Line.

Royal Academy of Engineering

Key Individuals
British Railways,