Despite the present disarray, there are still plans to make the trains run faster on son-of-Railtrack's iron highway. Virgin has ordered 55 high-speed tilting trains from Italy's Fiat. The Pendolino trains - Italian for pendulum - are being tested and are due to begin service on the West Coast main line next year.
THE CHALLENGE: To go faster, trains need straight tracks, tilting carriages or a combination of the two. Virgin wants to slice 80 minutes off the London-Glasgow journey time over a route that in rail terms is more like a winding B-road than a motorway, so tilting trains are the obvious choice. Even a slight curve can make passengers feel odd in a conventional train, but by reducing the centrifugal force experienced by passengers, tilters can go up to 30% faster.