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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 5 (September 1, 1927)

The “Great Western's” Crack Express

The “Great Western's” Crack Express.

There are few more far-famed passenger trains in Britain than the “Torbay Limited” express of the Great Western line, which runs between London and Torquay-the delectable seaside resort of the south-west. Each day, at twelve noon precisely, this crack train, with its load of happy holiday-makers, steams softly out of the Paddington Terminus, glides smoothly round the curve, and creeps up to somewhere in the neighbourhood of sixty miles an hour on the open road beyond.

The “Torbay Limited” actually runs to the fastest three-hour timing in Britain. Every seat in this aristocrat of passenger trains is numbered, and at the height of the holiday season advance booking is a necessity if seats are to be secured with certainty. In a recent issue of the “Great Western Railway Magazine,” there were given interesting details of a typical run of this giant among Home railway passenger trains.

Leaving London on time, with eight heavy 70-feet coaches behind the locomotive, a speed of 62 miles an hour was reached at Southall, 65 miles an hour at Newbury, 75 miles an hour at Savernake, and-hold tight, please-80 miles an hour down the Patney Bank. From Paddington Station to Exeter, the first stop of the “Torbay Limited,” is a distance of 174 miles, and on this particular occasion, the “Neath Abbey” locomotive drew with ease its 310-ton train between the two points in 177 1/2 minutes. This, it should be noted, was quite a normal run of the Devonbound express. Paddington is immensely proud of its “Torbay Limited”: even the “Flying Scotsman” and the “Harrogate Pullman” regard it as a privilege to stand alongside this Great Western flier in the list of Britain's outstanding passenger services.