Railworld is home to Britain’s Hovertrain prototype, Research Test Vehicle 31 (RTV31). which is clearly visible from the railway as you pass through Peterborough.(RTV31 website)
Tracked Hovercraft (RTV31) was an experimental high speed train developed in the United Kingdom during the 1960s. It combined two British inventions, the hovercraft and linear induction motor, in an effort to produce a train system that would provide 250 mph (400 km/h) inter-city service with lowered capital costs compared to other high-speed solutions. Substantially similar to the French Aérotrain and other hovertrain systems of the 1960s, Tracked Hovercraft suffered a similar fate as these projects when it was cancelled as a part of wide budget cuts in 1973.(Wikipedia)
A trip to Peterborough, and Railworld, is well worth it, if only to see how near, but yet how far away British technology was from developing high speed transit.
The two photographs above are the same photograph! The lower picture is of RTV31 on its original test track…and the top picture is the reverse side, with the signatures of all those involved with the project when it was cancelled!
So, is your signature amongst those seen in the top picture? Or do you know someone whose signature is here?
Brian Pearce at Railworld, and Rail Tube, would very much like to make contact with any surviving members of the THL RTV31 team with a view to arranging some kind of celebratory recognition of this aborted project!
(Peter S Lewis,Editor-Rail Tube)