Pendolino passes million-mile landmark

A Pendolino high-speed tilting train, built by Alstom and operated by Virgin Trains, has passed the symbolic mark of one million miles covered in commercial service.

The milestone was passed during a trip between London and Glasgow on 8 January. Since the Virgin Pendolino entered into service in 2003, on the West Coast Main Line (WCML), one of the main railway arteries in the United Kingdom, the number of passengers on the route has increased by 40 per cent.

The popularity and intensive use of the Pendolino trains means that they will each clock up a million miles in around half the time trains took a decade ago. They can operate at a speed of 200km/h and each have a capacity of 439 passengers.

As well as incorporating tilting technology that enables passenger comfort to be maintained at high speed on winding lines, the trains have a regenerative braking system. Electronic control systems cause the traction motors to provide braking effort by generating electricity which is put back into the supply system, achieving an overall energy saving of 17 per cent compared with conventional braking.

Alstom provides a 24/7 maintenance regime for the 52-strong fleet. The trains are equipped with an 'e-train' system that anticipates maintenance interventions thanks to the transmission of data by GPRS, and thus improves train availability.

Image: Virgin's Pendolino trains are proving popular with passengers

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