By Cedric Johns
Fifty years ago – on Saturday, August 11, 1968 – the glorious history of British steam ended when a ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ running over the Settle & Carlisle line brought down the curtain on steam on the national network.
For the record, the special involved no less than four locomotives; ‘Black Five’ No. 45110 worked the first leg from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Victoria where Britannia 4-6-2 No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell took over for the run to Carlisle via the S&C.
Three ‘Black Five’s assisted on the return journey – No. 44781 and No. 44871 formed a double header from Carlisle back as far as Manchester where No. 45110 coupled on for the final leg, back to Liverpool.
With that standard gauge steam became extinct on the national network where diesel and electricity now fuelled British Railway’s modernisation plan…
To mark the occasion Pathfinder Tours has arranged to run two trains, the ‘Settle & Carlisle Golden Express’ – the first on Saturday, August 11, the very day that it happened 50 years ago, the second train on Wednesday, August 15.
On the Saturday the ‘Express’ departs diesel-hauled from Bristol Temple Meads calling at Bristol Parkway, Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Bromsgrove and after tackling the Lickey, Birmingham New Street, Stafford and Crewe.
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