In August 1968, the last British Rail operated steam train ran on the national network. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the end of BR steam, the East Lancashire Railway, in collaboration with Steam Railway magazine, is honouring this milestone by repeating that legendary ‘1T57 Fifteen Guinea Special’ run of August 11th 1968.
A one-off gala weekend at the ELR on Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th July 2013 will see ‘Britannia’ Pacific 70013 Oliver Cromwell* (by kind permission of the National Railway Museum and the 5305 Locomotive Association) headlining a special 1968 themed event with other guest locomotives from that year.
One of the weekend’s highlights will be the re-enactment of the 1T57 special and the ELR is hoping to go one better than previous re-runs by assembling a train of appropriate Mark 1 rolling stock in the correct livery and formation – the transitional combination of three maroon and seven blue/grey Mk 1 coaches.
The East Lancashire Railway is proud to have in its possession the only two remaining coaches from the original train 1T57: Mk 1 TSOs, Nos. M4933*and M4937*. The railway is so determined to make it look right, that the coaches are planned to be re-painted back to their blue/grey livery as carried in 1968.
East Lancashire Railway’s General Manager Andy Morris commented:
“There are few events in the history of the railways in Britain that evoke such memories as the last day of proper steam on BR. The significant date of 11th August 1968 drew a line under the reign of steam as the prime mover of the nation. The ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’, so called as the fare was, for the time, a hefty price, represented the last chance for those with a keen passion for steam haulage of trains on BR to ride on it and whilst we know we can’t come anywhere near properly re-creating those scenes, we want to do our best in reminding everyone of what a spectacle 1T57 was. There is still a great deal of planning to bring this event to fruition but we are very confident of pulling this off”.
This one-off event will be one of the principle events marking the ‘End of Steam’ in this anniversary year. It will be the ultimate celebration of BR steam’s demise, with the theme of 1968 echoing throughout the railway during the weekend. With 70013 currently due for overhaul before the 50th anniversary comes around, this might be the last chance for some time to re-enact that sad day that many still remember.
*Subject to availability.
Note to Editors
The East Lancashire Railway operates a 12-mile heritage railway between Heywood and Rawtenstall, with steam and diesel hauled services running every weekend throughout the year and from Wednesday to Friday from April to September.