1949 Car vs Bike vs Train - Top Gear
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Clarkson on the 60163 Tornado train races James May in a 1949 Jaguar XK120 and Richard Hammond on a 1949 Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle

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The journey from London to Edinburgh is about 400 miles (640 km).   Authenticity: For various reasons, it was not possible to run a historically accurate recreation of how the race would have gone in the 1950s. Instead, according to Graeme Bunker, the race was "done just for fun and entertainment". A major restriction was Tornado's maximum speed limit of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h), set as a condition of its current main line certification (although the A1 Trust was planning to have Tornado certified to a higher speed over time). The 'Flyers' of the 1950s would have gone on to speeds of 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) and beyond. A further difficulty was due to water troughs having been removed from the rail network, meaning it was not possible to achieve the post war steam timings of 6 and a half hours. According to Steam Railway magazine, if Tornado had been able to use troughs, the train would have won the race easily. On the plus side for the car and bike, they had the speed advantage of not having to travel through towns and villages exactly as the old Great North Road would have, but instead benefitted from the use of modern bypasses, and the faster A1(M) sections of the A1, where it has been upgraded to motorway standards. However, speed restrictions outside of built up areas were only introduced in Britain in 1965. So if this had been in 1949 neither the car or motorbike would have been subject to any speed restrictions for most of the journey. Ref:
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