Avanti West Coast Pendolino 28/03/2020
New images released of Hornby's forthcoming Avanti West Coast Pendolino.
Expected Late 2020 / Early 2021
The R3952 Avanti West Coast, Class 390 Pendolino Train Pack comprises a motorised DMRF, along with PTF, MF and non-motorised DMS cars and is joined in the 2020 range by five additional coach models; R40015, R40016, R40017, R40018 and R40019, allowing a full Avanti West Coast nine-car set to be completed.
During the 1970s, British Railways had pursued the concept of tilting train technology for the West Coast Main Line through the Class 370 Advanced Passenger Train concept, allowing for higher speeds to be taken through curves. By minimising lateral forces on the passengers, the tendency to slide sideways was reduced, which in turn allowed passenger comfort levels to be maintained at higher speeds. Even with the cancellation of the APT project, the idea of train tilt was still being considered in the 1980s for the InterCity 225 project, and again during the 1990s for the aborted InterCity 250 concept. In 1997, when Virgin Trains were awarded the franchise to operate the West Coast Main Line following the privatisation of British Rail, it was on the proviso that new rolling stock was to be introduced, replacing the ageing Class 86/87/90 locomotives and Mark 2/3 coaches. Consequently a £500 million order was placed with Alstom/Fiat Ferroviaria to construct fifty-four, eight-car tilting train sets, later increasing to nine and then eleven car sets.
The Pendolino, named after Fiat Ferroviaria’s tilting train Pendolino technology and built by Alstom for Virgin Trains West Coast, set a new speed record for the southbound West Coast Main Line of three hours, fifty-five minutes in September 2006 (compared to the six hours, thirty minutes that the ‘Coronation Scot’ took). The first Class 390 Pendolino launched into passenger service on 23 July 2002 and following this, train sets numbered up to 390 034 were initially delivered as eight-car units, with the TS coaches being added during 2004-5 to make nine-car sets. Thirty-one sets were then increased to eleven-car capacity between 2010 and 2012, with four additional eleven-car sets being delivered from Italy, these all being identified in the 391 xxx range. The current Pendolino fleet of 52 sets comprises of 31 eleven-car sets and 21 nine-car sets and all have been transferred to Avanti West Coast, the operating name for the new West Coast Partnership between FirstGroup plc and Trenitalia UK that took over the operation of the existing West Coast Main Line services on 8 December 2019, from Virgin Trains.
The agreement with FirstGroup plc and Trenitalia UK to replicate the complex Avanti West Coast livery was only concluded in mid-November 2019, which meant that Hornby's graphic artist was left with very little time to complete the artwork before the December 8th catalogue deadline. Since then, the finer details have been completed and the stunning result are now available to view on our website.