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Hornby ‘APT-P’ Class 370 EMU (1980 Release)

Hornby ‘APT-P’ Class 370 EMU (1980 Release)Score 80%Score 80%

Hornby APT-P Class 370 EMU ‘Advanced Passenger Train’

Around the late 1970’s three APT-P tilting train consists were undergoing testing on the WCML mainline. Under test in 1979, one APT-P unit recorded a new speed record for electric traction at that time, reaching 162-MPH (260-K/mh).  The political pressure to get these tilting train sets into service was part of its undoing. On 7th of December 1981 whilst on the first APT-P public service, the APT-P tilting mechanism sporadically failed sporadically with an issue on the water turbine braking system, which froze-up due to adverse December temperatures. These failures which the news-press, reporting & giving the train bad press, ultimately led to four days later the APT-P’s being removed from active service. It wasn’t until mid-1984 that the APT-P train was deemed fit to re-enter active service. Sadly by then Politicians, BR Management had tired of the project & wanted rid of the three APT-P sets. No further APT-P trains were produced and by 1985 the three non-standard APT-P trains sadly being permanently withdrawn.

Thankfully a shorten APT-P set survived into preservation plus a second power car & can be found at the Crewe Railway Heritage Center. Well worth a visit!

Hornby was quick to get a model version of the APT-P to market with it appearing in Hornby’s 1980 catalogue & also being released as set number R543. The 1980 set contents included a large oval of 2nd radius track with a rerailer, a variable controller, power clip, card tunnel, and catalogue. The APT-P in the set came with a center power car, two TBF coaches & two DTS coaches. The driving trailers have working headlights operating in the direction of travel. Dummy working pantograph which can be manually raised or lowered. The train as per the rea thing tilts when running around curves. 

Like the real thing, the driving trailers & TBF coaches share bogie on the inner end, which Hornby cleverly designed to split into two to allow the train to be assembled or taken apart.  The couplings on both ends of the central power car & one end of the TBF coaches are the same as what is used on Hornby’s Pacer DMU model. This made the supplied uncoupling ramp surplus as the APT-P model could only be coupled/uncoupled by hand. The models have a basic moulded interior, with the flush glazing & standard wheels. The power car features a three pole ringfield motor with the driving wheelsets having rubber traction tires. The power car on the train set version is named City of Derby, whilst the driving trailers feature the plain front yellow sloped ends. The set cost around £67 on the first release & was produced from 1980 to 1984 where it had risen to a cost of around £79.95.

A five-car pack version was also released from 1981 onwards, this featured the yellow & black front ends with APT branding on the nose ends which gave the train quite a different look compared to the pain yellow front ends. Sadly Hornby never produced the missing coaches to make up a full consist of this original release. Both versions are highly collectible & hold their value well.

Moving on to this year, Hornby is currently working on releasing an all-new super-detailed tooled version of the APT-P, this time all the coaches & power cars are being produced which will allow for a full 14 car consist to be created. The expected release is looking at early/mid-2021. 


Key Features:

  • Standard Hornby Silver Seal wheelsets
  • 5 car consist
  • working tilt system
  • 3 pole motor
  • Dummy working pantograph
  • Basic moulded interior detail
  • Working headlamps
  • Train set version & train pack version
  • Era Late 1970’s to 1984
  • Liveries: BR APT Grey plain yellow nose end & also yellow/black nose end

1980 to 1984

R543 & R794

  • R543 Train Set plain yellow nose ends
  • R794 Train pack with yellow/black nose ends

[wordbay]Hornby APT Class 370 [/wordbay]

Have one of these in your collection?

Let us know what you think, or share your photos via the comments below.

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Summary Highly sort after model on the collectors second-hand market, Tooling basic by today's standards, but features a working tilt system. All new super detailed version due for release shortly by Hornby.

Model rating


  1. justin evans

    Good article, I have the APT Hornby set with the yellow ends, it’s in very good order runs well and the pantograph is still in working order, the story of the APT is a lamentable tale indeed many people feel as I do that the train received unfair press and just wasn’t given the trials and running time that it truly deserved, whilst the HST was a decent loco that served the country very well, I think the APT would have been even better than the HST

    • Iain

      Thank you. Great to hear you have one of these models as well. Looking forward to the all-new tooled version which we’ll feature here in the club in due course.

  2. wicky0570

    Excellent article. I always wanted one of these as a kid but was not lucky enough to pick one up. Stunning looking model on your stunning layout.

    One thing I have noticed is that every time I look at pictures of your snow-covered layout it makes me shiver and I have to zip up my hoodie to the neck!! LOL! A beautiful layout that looks so real.

    • Iain

      Hi Martin,
      Thank you. The APT seen in the photos has now been sold & with it’s new owner at Finnerton Central. I’m now looking forward to the new retooled version coming later this year. The snow scene was great fun to do, with it being my first attempt at doing a snow scene. The layout is still work in progress, but slowly getting there with it.

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