That first railtour 80 years on

SEPTEMBER 11 will mark the 80th anniversary of what is thought to have been the first enthusiast railtour, which ran from King’s Cross to Peterborough and return in 1938.

The LNER had decided to briefly return to service preserved Stirling Single No. 1 to promote its new high-speed service from London to Edinburgh.

An engine of this type had been used on in the 1888 Race to the North trains when there was an outbreak of fierce competition between the east and west coast routes to provide the fastest service between London and Scotland.

Stirling Single No 1 displays the RCTS headboard at a special photo shoot at the National Railway Museum in July. It should be so adorned again for one week from September 11. RCTS

The return to use of No. 1 came as a surprise to many enthusiasts. Not wanting to miss the chance of a ride behind the veteran, the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society used its influence in high places to persuade the LNER to run a one-off special from London to Peterborough.

The trip, which used appropriate vintage carriages, was a great success with a maximum speed of nearly 70mph being achieved.

No. 1 is today housed at the National Railway Museum and it is planned to display the engine, complete with the original RCTS headboard, at the
York museum for one week from September 11.

To mark both this anniversary and the 90th anniversary of the founding of the RCTS, the society is offering free membership for 2018, details of which can be found at

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