Performance: 0 to 60!

Just how nimble are today’s locos and units, and what’s the quickest off the mark?
A Virgin ‘Pendolino’ is this month’s target for Neville Hill in the shadow of the Jodrell Bank radio telescope.

Nine-car Class 390 ‘Pendolino’ No. 390047 calls at Wilmslow on February 21, with the 11.55 Manchester Piccadilly to Euston via Crewe. In our test, a similar classmate set off from here and hit 60mph in just over 70 seconds. Paul Bickerdyke

COULD Britain’s most sophisticated squadron service InterCity set, the Class 390 ‘Pendolino’, challenge the EMU leaders of our 0-60 table? Well no, not really, because they are geared to race through the higher speed ranges rather than for quick getaways, and it was never the intention they would make too many station stops.

However, southbound starts from Wilmslow with xx.55 departures from Manchester to Euston give an opportunity to establish their performance. The initial stretch is level, followed by a couple of miles that average around 1-in-900 uphill.

The chief impediments to clear runs are late running Alderley Edge terminating trains, but the ‘Pendolino’ runs I used all started on green aspects. The first two yielded unexpectedly different results. Both were 11-car sets, which have a slightly lower power/weight ratio than the nine-car originals, but the first took 76.36sec to 60mph, whereas the second took only 72.26sec.

Read more in the April issue of RE – on sale now!

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