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I would like to highlight that a group of volunteers and ex-employees of THL - Tracked Hovercraft Ltd, we raised over £10,000 to save the remains of RTV 31, plinth it and paint it over 20 years ago ... If we had not it would have disappeared, scrapped forever .. there is much interest in this machine now and at last we hope to gain ‘Heritage Lottery Funding’ to secure a covered home for this incredibly unique machine

Comments by Ted Tyndall – Former Chief Engineer on the Hovertrain Project

Please see below – Some Key ‘Hovertrain’ Facts 

1960 - Engineers at Hovercraft Development Limited, Hythe. began early studies into the design of a hovercraft guided by a track system.

1966 - A six-foot-long working model running on a 600-foot-long oval track was shown at that years HOVERSHOW '66 exhibition at Gosport. And it was propelled by a linear induction motor, developed by Prof. Laithwaite of Imperial College. TWO British "firsts”!

1967 - Tracked Hovercraft Limited was formed, with an initial funding of £5.25 million.

1968 - Test site alongside the Old Bedford River at Earith leased from Great Ouse River Authority. Site found in Ditton Walk Cambridge for Offices and Laboratories.

1969 (June). Construction of three-mile test track towards Sutton Gault began

1971. - One mile of test track completed, the RTV 31 test vehicle was delivered to Earith in August, was completed in the workshops and placed on track in November.  First movement under its own power was a test run of 400 yds early on 4th December.

Over the next 13 months trial runs were made at about two runs per week, culminating in 104 mph being achieved on 7th February 1973. 

1973 - Government select committee met on 14th Feb. And decided the project was to be terminated with immediate effect.

April 1973 to July 1974 - Test site used for feasibility study into aero engine noise research facility.

12 July 1974 - RTV 31 mounted on a 50 foot track beam taken by road to the Cranfield Institute, Bedford for storage on the airfield site.

September 1996 - 18th, ceremony celebrating placing on exhibition at the Railworld Wildlife Haven Peterborough, of RTV 31 (it had arrived a few months earlier and had been repainted by the team at Railworld - including my son and I, and - the Rev. Richard Paten.


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