Tilting trains only get as far as Carlisle

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The Independent Online

Passengers on Virgin's new Pendolino trains experienced major delays yesterday - just hours after the 125mph tilting trains began running on Britain's busiest rail route.

Passengers travelling on the 5.28am between Holyhead and London were delayed by at least 30 minutes following technical problems. A further 85 passengers were forced off Virgin Trains' flagship Royal Scot 9.49am Glasgow to London train at Carlisle because of possible "wheel flattening".

Allan McLean, Virgin Trains spokesman, said the nine-coach Royal Scot train developed a possible fault in the wheel set of its lead carriage. The potential fault was picked up by a track-side detection system at Carstairs, Lanarkshire - after it had travelled only 28 miles.

Mr McLean said: "The train was instructed to proceed to Carlisle at the precautionary speed limit of 50mph instead of 110mph. He described the timing of the hitch as unfortunate."It is very disappointing that this has happened to the flagship service on the inaugural day of the timetable."

Engineering work to upgrade track and signals has been completed between London and Manchester as part of a £7.6bn package of improvements on the West Coast Main Line. The majority of the new trains did arrive at their destination on time or with delays of no more than 10 minutes.

The Virgin Pendolino had been expected to cut 30 minutes off the journey from Glasgow to London. Virgin Trains said despite the delays to the two services, they were "encouraged" by their performance.