British Rail Class 390
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|British Rail Class 390 Pendolino|
Newly liveried 390 016 stood at Lancaster in the snow.
The interior of Standard Class aboard a Class 390
|In service||23 July 2002 – present|
(Fiat Ferroviaria tilting system)
|Built at||Washwood Heath, England|
|Constructed||2001 – 2004|
2009 – 2012
|Number built||57 trainsets|
|Number scrapped||1 trainset|
(due to the Grayrigg derailment)
|Operator(s)||Virgin Trains West Coast|
|Depot(s)||Longsight Electric TMD|
|Line(s) served||West Coast Main Line|
|Car body construction||Aluminium|
|Car length||23.9 m (78 ft 5 in) intermediate cars, 25.1 m (82 ft 4 in) cab cars|
|Width||2.73 m (8 ft 11 in)|
|Height||3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)|
|Doors||Hinged Plug, electrically driven|
|Weight||390/0: 466 tonnes (459 long tons; 514 short tons)|
390/1: 567 tonnes (558 long tons; 625 short tons)
|Traction motors||2 × Alstom ONIX 800 (per motor car)|
|Electric system(s)||25 kV 50 Hz AC Overhead|
|Current collection method||Pantograph|
|Braking system(s)||Regenerative, Rheostatic, Disc|
|Multiple working||No multiple facility, within class only|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Class 390 Pendolino is a type of electric high-speed train operated by Virgin Trains in the United Kingdom, leased from Angel Trains. They are electric multiple units using Fiat Ferroviaria's tilting train Pendolino technology and built by Alstom. Fifty-three units were originally built between 2001 and 2004 for operation on the West Coast Main Line (WCML). The 8-car units were all later lengthened to 9 cars, then an additional four trains and also a further 62 cars were built between 2009 and 2012. The trains of the original batch were the last to be assembled at Alstom's Washwood Heath plant, before its closure in 2005. The remaining trains in the fleet were built in Italy.
The Class 390 is one of the fastest domestic electric multiple units operating in Britain, with a design speed of 140 mph (225 km/h); however, limitations to track signalling systems restrict the units to a maximum speed of 125 mph (200 km/h) in service. In September 2006, the Pendolino set a new speed record, completing the 401 miles (645 km) length of the West Coast Main Line from Glasgow Central to London Euston in 3 hours, 55 minutes, beating the 4-hour-14-minute record for the southbound run previously set in 1981 by its ancestor, British Rail's Advanced Passenger Train. The APT retains the ultimate speed record for this route, having completed the northbound journey between London Euston and Glasgow Central in 3 hours 52 minutes in 1984 which included a 5-minute delay due to a signal fault. The fleet is maintained at Longsight TMD near Piccadilly station.
- 1 Background
- 2 Design
- 3 Operations
- 4 Problems and incidents
- 5 Fleet developments
- 6 Fleet details
- 7 Alliance Rail Holdings
- 8 Models
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
During 1997, private operator Virgin Rail Group commenced operations of the InterCity West Coast franchise, taking over from state-owned operator British Rail; it had been awarded the franchise having made a commitment to replace the existing locomotives and rolling stock used on the route, namely the British Rail Class 86, 87 and 90 electric locomotives and Mark 2 and Mark 3 coaching stock, with brand new tilting trains. Following negotiations with several different manufacturers, Virgin placed an order with Alstom/Fiat Ferroviaria to produce the envisioned tilting train, which were known by the name Pendolino and was subsequently designated under TOPS as the Class 390.
From the onset, the Pendolino was designed to be a tilting train, a technique which is largely employed to maintain passenger comfort levels while traversing curves at high speed by reducing the sideways forces that the train's occupants are subjected to, minimising the tendency to otherwise slide around the carriage. In addition to its functionality, the train was designed to be visually impressive; the concept design for the Pendolino was originally produced by industrial design firm Priestman Goode in cooperation with JHL and Start Design; many aspects of the finished product, such as the shaping of its aerodynamic nose and much of the train's interior areas, can be attributed to their work.
During the 1980s and 1990s, British Rail had developed several plans to introduce new trains upon the West Coast Main Line; in fact, the concept of deploying tilting trains was not an original one, having pursued development of the revolutionary, but ultimately unsuccessful, Class 370 Advanced Passenger Train (APT) for a protracted period. Some years following the cancellation of the APT, British Rail had intended to replace the existing fleet of trains on the West Coast Main Line (in conjunction with a planned route modernisation) as part of the InterCity 250 project, but this was cancelled by the government shortly before the Privatisation of British Rail during the late 1990s.
The original order, costing £500 million, was for 54 eight-carriage sets. As originally planned, a pre-series test train was scheduled to be completed and to be in active testing by July 2000, while the first Pendolino was to enter revenue service during March 2001. It was expected that the whole fleet would be delivered by May 2002.
The Pendolinos were intended to be run at service speeds of up to 140 mph (225 km/h); to enable this, Railtrack embarked upon the West Coast Main Line modernisation programme, which was intended to modify the route's infrastructure to allow for the faster line speeds. However, the programme ran into serious difficulties, by the end, it was almost four times over-budget, had been delayed by a number of years, and had failed to advance the infrastructure as much as had been planned. Consequently, the work were scaled back, and in a manner reminiscent of the introduction of the InterCity 225, the lack of signalling upgrades resulted in the maximum line speed, and therefore then Pendolino services, being restricted to 125 mph (200 km/h). Although the Penolino's in-service top speed is well below British Rail's hopes for the APT, which was to reach up to 155 mph (249 km/h), it does match the maximum speed of 125 mph (200 km/h) for the APT in passenger service (although one APT set reached 162 mph (261 km/h) in testing).
During the 1970s, Fiat Ferroviaria had introduced its first tilting trains, these had been first operation upon the Italian railways in 1976. Fiat Ferroviaria supplied much of the content of the Class 390, including the unit's bodyshell and the bogies, while final assembly was carried out at Washwood Heath. The tilting technology was developed by SIG Switzerland (later Fiat-SIG, today Alstom). Each car uses a pair of electromechanical actuators to achieve the desired tilting angle on curved stretches of track. The train can tilt to a maximum of eight degrees, at which point one side of the cabin train is 380 mm higher above the track than the other. In contrast to other Fiat Ferroviaria tilting trains which use hydraulic tilting actuators, the electromechanical systems offers lower maintenance cost and higher efficiency.
The Pendolino is a high-speed electric multiple unit train, which incorporates Fiat Ferroviaria's tilting train Pendolino technology. According to Ian Scoley of the design firm Priestman Goode, the design of the Pendolino is "more reminiscent of an aircraft than a train". It has a maximum design speed of 140mph, which requires compatible infrastructure to do so. An eight-carriage Pendolino reportedly weighs around 471 tonnes, which is equivalent to a dozen fully laden lorries. The structure of the Pendolino is largely composed of extruded aluminium panels; allegedly, this material is responsible for the train’s exterior surface being considerably smoother than its steel counterparts. The cross-section of the bodyshell is deliberately tapered; this shaping is a necessary requirement imposed by the train’s ability to tilt around corners. To avoid the risk of striking passing trains or static structures whilst a carriage is being tilted, it necessitates that the body be narrower towards the top than it is at wheel height.
The nose of the Pendolino is manufactured out of composite materials and moulded in a similar fashion as has been used to produce the shells of racing cars. This construction methodology has been claimed to have been readily compatible with the aerodynamic contouring techniques practiced while also retaining considerable structural strength. Allegedly, at one stage of development, the nose was intended to taper as far forwards as seven metres, similar to the noses of Japanese bullet trains. However, as the design was refined, this was reduced to a tapering length of just 3.5 metres due to design constraints, while a roof fairing extends the curvature rearwards by a further three metres, located directly above and behind the driver's windscreen. To validate its performance, the forward section of the trains was subject to considerable aerodynamic testing to prove its suitability for high-speed operations.
In preparation for a possible change of franchise operator, Class 390 Pendolinos are being re-liveried into a neutral white with red 'Flowing silk' design on the driving cars, recalling the planned Virgin Azuma Class 800 livery operated by the then-Virgin Trains East Coast franchise. The trains are being re-liveried in Alstom's new train maintenance facilities in Widnes.
The Pendolino features an actively-actuated tilt system. Each of the carriages can tilt up to eight degrees from the horizontal; this is done for the purpose of better managing the forces imposed between high speed trains and the track while traversing corners. On top of this, the lines of the National Rail network are often canted up to six degrees, akin to a shallow-banked cyclodrome; when combined with the Pendolino's tilt system, the train can reportedly comfortably take curves at a 20 per cent greater speed than it otherwise would be able to do so.
The active tilting mechanism is achieved using electrically operated tilt activators, which are situated under each carriage. Unlike some alternative systems, which are pre-programmed to tilt at sections of a pre-determined route, the Pendolino's tilt system actively detects the upcoming corners using sensors and tilts appropriately to correspond. As tilting may not be appropriate or possible at some locations along the route, such as when travelling close to bridges and tunnels, the tilt mechanism can be disabled by an on-board system, called the Tilt Authorisation and Speed Supervision (TASS). This system relies upon trackside beacons, which are typically spaced around five miles from one another, to transmit data to the train; this information, as well as temporarily locking-out the tilting mechanism from being used on relevant stretches of track, also relays the maximum permissible speeds for the adjacent corners.
The Pendolino incorporates several different onboard safety systems, including the Automatic Warning System (AWS) and the Train Protection Warning System (TPWS); it was also planned to install compatible equipment for the European Train Control System (ETCS). These systems automatically deliver situational warnings regarding the relevant signals and speed limits to the driver and, if not reacted to appropriately, are able to bring the train to a complete halt. Unlike most trains, it also features a Tilt Authorisation and Speed Supervision (TASS) system, which is used to control the onboard tilting mechanism. In the event of an accident, each Pendolino also incorporates a black box data recorder; another structural measure, designed to help dissipate the forces involved in an incident involving a severe collision, are the crush zones, which can reportedly absorb three times the forces of existing High Speed Trains.
The Pendolino features relatively slim windows in comparison to trains such as the Voyager; visually, the windows are linked by a black livery line to form a continuous band running along the length of the train. A combination of structural constraints and internal configuration selections had determined the narrowness of the windows; the adoption of larger windows would have intrinsically weakened the bodyshell of each carriage. Reportedly, consideration was given to the adoption of asymmetric window layout during the design process, but this was ultimately discarded in favour of the arrangement used in service instead.
Due to these design choices, the Pendolino has a very high level of structural integrity. In the Grayrigg derailment incident, where the unit involved was travelling at a speed of 95 mph (153 km/h) and derailed at a set of points sending the carriages off the track and off a bank, only a single person perished. Furthermore, the majority of passengers were not even seriously injured due to the carriages' structual properties. 
The Pendolino's propulsion system incorporates Alstom's Onix traction drive system, which controls 12 separate traction motors, each capable of providing up to 570 horsepower. Combined, they are capable of producing a rate of acceleration of up to 0.43 metres per second, which enables the train to accelerate from nought to 60mph within the space of 60 seconds. Power for each Pendolino is supplied in the form of 25,000 volts AC, and is delivered via the overhead catenary infrastructure installed across its route. A particularly unusual measure, which was adopted to account for the train's tilting ability, is incorporated into the pantograph, the roof-mounted mechanism which connects the train to the overhead wires; it also features an active tilting system, which moves the pantograph to a precise angle in opposition to the direction of the carriages' tilt, allowing contact with the overhead catenary to be smoothly maintained.
To provide both convenience and comfort, the Pendolino features a number of amenities and innovations, such as a walk-in shop in place of the traditional buffet/restaurant car and the extensive presence of passenger visual information systems, which are installed on both the inside of the car ends and upon the outside of the doors themselves. In response to criticisms of the pressure-operated automatic gangway doors that had been installed upon the older Mark 3 and Mark 4 carriages (which could easily be held open by items of luggage resting on the floor sensor, allowing draughts into the passenger saloon), the gangway doors of the Class 390 deliberately make use of push-button "open on demand" actuation instead. To assist the boarding process, the doors incorporate automatically extending steps, which are deployed upon the opening of the doors; this feature is claimed to have been first used on the APT-P. If there are too many standard class standing passengers, coach G (MFO) can be re-classified as a standard class coach, providing additional standard-class seating capacity when this is required.
All of the seats were originally fitted with an integrated on-board entertainment system; this system featured several radio stations, which included Virgin Radio and multiple BBC stations, along with a number of pre-recorded music channels. Up-to-date information on the available channels was provided via listing booklets, which were freely available onboard; headphones would be necessary to listen in, which could be purchased at the shop. During March 2010, this feature was permanently disabled, having been withdrawn to make way for new on-board WiFi, provided by mobile operator T-Mobile. First class passengers were provided with a 240 volt mains power socket at each seat, enabling them to power a single item of their own choosing.
The Pendolino is fitted with a digital seat reservations system, allowing traditional paper reservation tickets to be dispensed with entirely. Akin to the Voyagers, each seat is provisioned with a small dot-matrix LCD installed near the top which, if is has been reserved, displays the name of the traveller, as well as where they are set to board and depart from their seat. The reservation information is provided via an onboard Train Management System (TMS), which downloads current data via mobile operator Vodafone’s wireless network from the national Customer Reservation System shared by all train operators and automatically appears above the corresponding seats. The TMS is also used to provide route information to the passenger visual information systems; in the event of a train being rescheduled, the TMS can rapidly be updated and the displayed information automatically changes to reflect the newly-acquired data.
The unit formation as of January 2015 is described in the table below, with vehicles listed in the order they are formed in the unit:
|69101-69157||DMRF||Driving motor: first class open with kitchen||K||18||-||-|
|69401-69457||MF||Intermediate motor: first class open (with disabled seating)||J||37||-||1(D)|
|69501-69557||PTF||Intermediate trailer with pantograph: first class open||H||44||-||1|
|696xx||MF||Intermediate motor: first class open
11 car sets only. Last two digits (xx) = set number.
|696xx||MS||Intermediate motor: standard class open
9 car sets only. Last two digits (xx) = set number.
|653xx||TS||Intermediate trailer: standard class open
11 car sets only. Last two digits (xx) = set number.
|689xx||MS||Intermediate motor: standard class open
11 car sets only. Last two digits (xx) = set number.
|68801-68857||TS||Intermediate trailer: standard class open||E||-||76||1|
|69701-69757||MS||Intermediate motor: standard class open (with disabled seating)||D||-||62||1(D)|
|69801-69857||PTSRMB||Intermediate trailer with pantograph: standard class with shop/buffet & train managers office||C||-||48||-|
|69901-69957||MS||Intermediate motor: standard class open (with disabled seating)||B||-||62||1(D)|
|69201-69257||DMSO||Driving motor: "Quiet Zone" standard class open (with cycle storage)||A||-||46||1|
The service introduction of the Pendolino was repeatedly delayed, a fact which has been attributed to the bad project management and collapse of infrastructure owner and maintenance company Railtrack. The fleet was introduced into passenger services from Birmingham International to Manchester Piccadilly on 23 July 2002 to coincide with the opening of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. During the Games, they operated a daily return service between the two cities, however, it was not until 27 January 2003 that the first Pendolino carried passengers between Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston.
For some time, a return trip was worked by a Pendolino on Thursdays only, but over the following months, the type took over the Manchester services, and was soon introduced on routes from London to Liverpool Lime Street, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton and Preston. By late 2003, the last of the elderly Class 86 locomotives had been withdrawn from the route.
During 2004, the fleet's sphere of operation was expanded further. Pendolinos started to operate services to Glasgow Central, and by the end of summer, in theory all services north of Preston were worked by Class 390 units. This allowed the final Class 90 locomotives to be withdrawn, and inroads were made into the main Class 87 fleet. It was expected that all locomotive-hauled trains would have been replaced by the end of 2004, but the Pendolinos suffered from several technical problems, which granted the Class 87s a temporary reprieve. By January 2005, only eight locomotives remained, for use on peak London Euston-Birmingham New Street services.
Another development during 2004 was the clearing of the units for the North Wales Coast Line from Crewe to Holyhead. This line is not electrified, so Virgin's Class 57/3 Thunderbird diesel locomotives were used to haul the Pendolinos. After Virgin's loss of the CrossCountry franchise, the company decided to allocate its remaining Class 221 "Super Voyagers" to the coastal line, ending the practice of hauling Pendolinos from Crewe and thus making several Class 57 locomotives redundant. These locomotives have special Dellner coupling adaptors and electrical systems to make them compatible with Pendolino trains, allowing failed units to be rescued quicker. The Class 57s are also used when engineering works force Pendolino services to run over non-electrified diversionary routes.
Virgin Trains has named its entire fleet of Pendolinos. The majority carry promotional names such as "Virgin Valiant", "Virgin Crusader" and "Virgin King", while some trains have received traditional names, such as "City of London" and "City of Liverpool". The names are carried on the 696xx vehicle. However, during the repainting programme which commenced in September 2017 with 390010 most units are being de-named and their cast plates are being removed; some have received edited/new "nameplates" on vinyl transfers. Repainting of the nine car 390/0 fleet was completed in August 2018 (390002 was the last set to be treated).
The entire Pendolino fleet is allocated to the (Alstom) Manchester Traincare Centre at Longsight, where heavy maintenance is carried out. Longsight has a hoist on which an entire Pendolino set can be lifted. Lighter maintenance, cleaning and overnight stabling is carried out at Alstom's other centres: Wembley (London), Oxley (Wolverhampton), Edge Hill (Liverpool) and Polmadie (Glasgow).
On 5 April 2012, the first 11-car Pendolino entered service on the London-Birmingham-Wolverhampton and London-Manchester routes.
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|390001||Bee Together||Formerly Virgin Pioneer. Named on 20 July 2018 to mark launch of exhibition of over 100 sculptures of Manchester's worker bee emblem.|
|390002||Stephen Sutton||Formerly Red Revolution, then renamed Virgin Angel|
|Virgin Hero||Carries Royal British Legion World War I commemorative branding|
|Alstom Pendolino||Formerly "Virgin Scot", wears a unique co-branded livery in partnership with Alstom and Virgin Trains. In September 2010, Virgin Trains and Alstom launched the co-branded Pendolino which carries a Virgin/Alstom livery on coaches A and K in recognition of the partnership between Alstom and Virgin Trains. Additional branding added on coach A, G and K marking the 175th anniversary of Longsight depot.|
|390005||City of Wolverhampton|
|390006||Rethink Mental Illness||Formerly Virgin Sun, then Tate Liverpool. New name carried as a sticker.|
|Formerly Virgin Lady, then Independence Day Resurgence. Carried temporarily applied vinyls on each vehicle to promote the film for several months commencing June 2016.
First 11 Car Pendolino to have the Virgin Trains new white 'Flowing Silk' livery.
|390008||Charles Rennie Mackintosh||Formerly Virgin King. Named at Glasgow Central on 19 March 2018 as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of famed architect and artist|
|390009||Treaty of Union||Formerly Virgin Queen|
|390010||Cumbrian Spirit||Formerly Commonwealth Games 2002, then renamed Chris Green, then renamed A Decade of Progress at Wolverhampton in May 2007 after a book written by John Balmforth.
First 9 Car Pendolino to have the Virgin Trains new white 'Flowing Silk' livery. Cast The Cumbrian Spirit nameplates removed and name now carried by a sticker in the same style.
|390011||City of Lichfield|
|Formerly Virgin Star. Wore temporarily applied Christmas-themed vinyls on each driving car during December 2014 and branded 'Traindeer'|
|390013||Blackpool Belle||Formerly Virgin Spirit. In December 2015 it was given the name 'Penguilino' and a special Christmas-themed livery designed by Amber Maxfield, a schoolgirl from Carlisle as part of a competition held by the Book Trust, a competition that also resulted in a Class 91 receiving a similar special livery. Named ‘Blackpool Belle’ in 2018 to celebrate the launch of pendolino services to Blackpool.|
|City of Manchester|
|Formerly Virgin Crusader|
|390016||Formerly Virgin Champion|
|Blue Peter||Formerly Virgin Prince. Current name unveiled in October 2018 to mark the 60th anniversary of the BBC children's TV programme of the same name.|
|Formerly Virgin Princess|
|Unknown Soldier||Formerly Virgin Warrior. Current name unveiled on 11 November 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.|
|390020||Formerly Virgin Cavalier|
|Penny the Pendolino||Formerly Virgin Hope.|
|City of Preston|
|City of Stoke-on-Trent||Wore temporarily applied vinyls on all nine coaches advertising Superman Returns during 2006 and temporarily applied vinyls on all nine coaches advertising Monkey: Journey to the West during 2007.|
|City of Edinburgh|
|City of Liverpool||Carries "Business in the Community" planter on 691 & 692 vehicles|
|City of Birmingham|
|390033||City of Glasgow||Crashed at Grayrigg on 23 February 2007. Formally written off on 30 November 2007 with the undamaged cars sent to Crewe Training Centre|
|City of Carlisle|
|City of Lancaster|
|City of Coventry|
|City of London|
|390039||Formerly Virgin Quest|
|390040||Formerly Virgin Pathfinder, then Virgin Radio Star. Wore branding on both driving cars advertising Virgin Radio from April 2016 until November 2017.|
|City of Chester|
|390042||Formerly City of Bangor|
Dinas Bangor Wore a different nameplate on each side, one in English and the other in Welsh
|390043||Formerly Virgin Explorer|
|390044||Formerly Virgin Lionheart|
|390045||Virgin Pride||Formerly Virgin Valiant, then 101 Squadron. Carries rainbow branding on coach A and #ridewithpride slogan.|
|390046||Formerly Virgin Soldiers After the novel The Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas|
|390047||Formerly Virgin Atlantic, then Heaven's Angels, then CLIC Sargent. From 2006 this set was named after the official nominated charity of Virgin Trains which was intended to change on rotation, Heavens Angels name applied after record attempt to cover Glasgow–Euston in the shortest ever time on 22 September 2006.|
|Flying Scouseman||Formerly Virgin Harrier. Renamed as part of the Liverpool Echo newspapers Train naming competition in June 2017.|
|390049||Formerly Virgin Express|
|390050||Formerly Virgin Invader|
|Virgin Ambassador||Carries Union flag branding and 'Business is Great' slogans on coaches A and K|
|Matthew Flinders||Named at Euston Station by HRH The Duke of Cambridge on 18 July 2014|
|X-Men: Days of Future Past||Named at Euston Station on 31 March 2014 to promote the movie of the same name|
|Stockport 170||Delivered to Manchester Longsight on 13 February 2012. First 11-car into service on 5 April 2012. Named to celebrate Stockport station's 170th anniversary.|
|Chad Varah||Carried the slogan '11 Car Pendolinos – Successful Project Completion' on the front of coaches A and K during Autumn 2012|
Problems and incidents
In October 2004, a train overshot the platform at Liverpool Lime Street station and collided with the buffer stops, and a similar incident occurred a few weeks later at the same station. The Rail Safety and Standards Board's inquiry into the incident identified a software glitch in the wheel-slip protection (WSP) system whereby the train's friction brakes were inhibited at low speeds after prolonged coasting (such as that occurring on approach to a station). The units were once again limited to 110 mph (180 km/h) for a short period until modifications to the software were made.
As a result of the smaller cabin dimensions necessitated by the tilting geometry, the higher floor needed to package the tilting mechanisms themselves, and the need to provide disabled toilets, the units have a lower seating capacity than the nine-car Mark 2 and Mark 3 rakes that they replaced. The result has been severe overcrowding on some services, something that Virgin has somewhat mitigated through the increased frequency of service.
The smaller size of the Pendolino windows has attracted comment and, in fact, the window size is unprecedented for British railway rolling stock. The wider window pillars mean that in some standard class carriages, 22.5% of the seats are parallel with either no window or only a limited portion of one, however the roll-over strength of the bodyshell was commented on regarding the crashworthiness performance of the train in the RAIB Accident Report into the derailment at Grayrigg.
On 23 February 2007, a faulty set of points caused a Virgin Trains Pendolino to derail near Grayrigg in Cumbria. The train, unit 390 033, named "City of Glasgow", formed the 17:15 departure from London Euston bound for Glasgow Central. 115 people were on board, one of whom died from trauma suffered in the crash. The train's excellent crashworthiness was credited with preventing more fatalities.
The train was formally written off on 30 November 2007, owing to the prohibitive cost of repair against the price of a new set; a driving car and carriage from the train have subsequently been put into use for training purposes at the Virgin Trains Talent Academy in Crewe. Virgin Trains then leased a Class 90, Mk3 coaches and a DVT (Driving Van Trailer), all painted in Virgin's new livery, and affectionately nicknamed the "Pretendolino" by Alstom maintenance staff, as a replacement for the train written off. The name made a resurgence in official communications when the "Pretendolino" was used instead of the usual Pendolino or Voyager stock, typically when there were stock displacement issues or the regular stock was unavailable. Subsequently, the set was handed back to the leasing company, and has since been transferred to TransPennine Express.
Following a very sharp increase in passenger numbers following the WCML modernisation, the Department for Transport announced a capacity increase by procuring additional sets (with one intended to replace the unit damaged at Grayrigg). Four new sets have been built with 11 cars, and 31 existing sets lengthened to 11 cars.
This required major infrastructure changes to allow stations and depots to accommodate the 11-car units. Virgin Rail Projects was set up to introduce these new trains with the new franchise winner as well as Alstom, Network Rail and the current franchise holder, Virgin Trains West Coast, to ensure the new sets were able to run from 1 April 2012.
The first new sets were built with 11 cars and delivered via Dollands Moor to Edge Hill. On 14 July 2011, Virgin Trains announced that chief operating officer, Chris Gibb, had accepted the train (as a 9-coach set) from Alstom Transport UK managing director Paul Robinson and Malcolm Brown, Angel Trains' chief executive, at Alstom's Edge Hill Traincare Centre in Liverpool on 12 July.
With the franchise process in place, and Virgin Trains' franchise extended until December 2012, the first 11-car set (390 156) entered service on 5 April 2012. The remaining new sets were brought into service, and 31 sets increased to 11 carriages, over the next eight months.
As part of the subsequent extension of the franchise until April 2017, Virgin Trains made further enhancements to the Pendolinos. The 21 nine-carriage sets each had one first class carriage converted to standard class. This work was completed by September 2015. (Coach G conversions - Virgin press releases, work underway, work complete)
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||Notes|
|Class 390/0||Virgin Trains||22||2001–2004||9||390001, 390002, 390005, 390006, 390008-390011, 390013, 390016, 390020, 390039-390040, 390042-390047, 390049-390050||390033 written off in the Grayrigg derailment|
|Class 390/1||31||11||390103, 390104, 390107, 390112, 390114, 390115, 390117-390119, 390121-390132, 390134-390138, 390141, 390148, 390151-390153||All units lengthened to 11 cars in 2012.|
|4||2009–2012||390154-390157||New sets purchased as part of extra 106 vehicle order.|
Alliance Rail Holdings
In its successful submission to operate services from London Euston to Blackpool North, Alliance Rail Holdings proposed purchasing four Class 390s for entry into service in 2018. However, as the 390s no longer met crashworthiness standards for new trains, a derogation would have been required. With Alliance Rail not able to obtain this, in June 2017 it dropped its plans to purchase 390s.
Rapido Trains has announced that it will be producing the Class 390 in 'N' Gauge. Various "train packs" are to be produced consisting of five-carriage, nine-carriage and eleven-carriage trains; extra carriages will be available separately.
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- "Virgin Trains Class 390 390009 'Treaty of Union' - Wigan North Western". Flickr. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
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- "390112 'Virgin Star' passing Barton & Broughton Loop working 1S62 12:30 London Euston to Glasgow Central". Flickr. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- "390013 "Virgin Spirit" is seen shortly after arriving on Platform 6 at Manchester Piccadilly working 1H72 17:40 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly". Flickr. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
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- "43013 (1Qxx, 0519 Craigentinny T&R.S.M.D. to Crewe C.S.) alongside 390121 `Virgin Dream`". Flickr. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- "390122 'Penny the Pendolino - Beth Tweddle MBE'". Flickr. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
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- "Virgin Trains Pendolino 390127 Virgin Buccaneer". Flickr. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
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Until the Cumbria crash there had been only minor incidents involving the Pendolino train. These included two incidents at Liverpool Lime Street Station where the train hit buffers at the platform.
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- The DfT accreditation process document specifies 31 lengthened sets, with options for lengthening a further 21 sets and procuring a further 23 full sets. Four lengthened sets were to be achieved within by 31 March 2012 (within the then franchise period) but not to see public use until the following franchise had been re-let from 1 April 2012.Department of Transport Pendolino lengthening and fleet expansion project Archived 24 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
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