Rugby stop for train to mark 50th anniversary of the end of steam

The Railway Touring Company is running a steam special to mark 50 years since the end of BR steam passenger services. Picture Derek Phillips
The Railway Touring Company is running a steam special to mark 50 years since the end of BR steam passenger services. Picture Derek Phillips

A special train to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of British Rail steam passenger services in 1968 is to stop at Rugby.

50 years ago on August 11 the now legendary ‘15 Guinea Special’, so called as the pre-decimal price of a ticket was 15 guineas, went down in rail history as the last standard gauge steam hauled passenger service.

Now, 50 years on heritage rail operator The Railway Touring Company has organised a steam special on August 11 travelling over the Settle & Carlisle Line, part of the final route taken.

“In 1968 thousands, sad to see the end of steam, gathered along the Settle & Carlisle route to watch the passage of the BR ‘15 Guinea Special’,” said The Railway Touring Company’s MD Nigel Dobbing. “Fortunately, a number of fine steam locomotives were saved from the scrapyard and it’s wonderful to see these magnificent feats of British engineering still at work on our railways hauling steam specials,” he said.

The Cumbrian Mountain Express will depart from London Euston hauled by an electric locomotive for a speedy journey north stopping at Milton Keynes, Rugby, Nuneaton, Crewe and Preston before reaching Carnforth where an historic steam locomotive, expected to be No. 45690 Leander or No. 45699 Galatea, will take over for the dramatic Cumbrian Fells crossing to Carlisle.

After a break the commemorative train will leave this ancient border city by steam to cross the Settle & Carlisle Line, which includes steep, challenging climbs, long tunnels through hillsides, views of the Three Peaks and the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct.

“This rail excursion commemorates the end of regular BR passenger steam services, but also celebrates the fact that we continue to be able to experience the ‘Golden Age’ of mainline steam travel today,” added Nigel Dobbing.

The Railway Touring Company has a busy programme of over 65 steam trains this year, including other Rugby departures, involving around ten preserved steam locomotives, including famous No. 60103 Flying Scotsman.

Booking is necessary. For details visit The Railway Touring Company at www.railwaytouring.net or call 01553 661500 for a brochure.