|R333||Last Main-Line Steam - The Fifteen Guinea Special||£10.95||Buy Now|
Issue Date: 11/08/2018
Issue Name: Last Main-Line Steam - The Fifteen Guinea Special
Producer: Buckingham Covers
This cover celebrates the 50th anniversary of the last main-line steam - the Fifteen Guinea Special, and features a stunning image of two locomotives by rail artist John Wigston - of a BR Standard Class 7 70013 Oliver Cromwell which was selected to operate the last steam passenger train, and the Fifteen Guinea Special, which ran between Liverpool and Carlisle on the 11th August 1968 and which 70013 hauled on the Manchester to Carlisle leg of the trip.
Last Mainline Steam – the Fifteen Guinea Special
By the 1960s, the steam locomotive that had played such a vital role in the development of 19th century Britain, was being phased out. They would be replaced by diesel engines which were considered faster, easier to maintain, and cleaner. From 12 August 1968, British Railways imposed a ban on all mainline steam traffic.
The 1T57 ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ was the last main-line passenger train to be hauled by steam locomotive power on British Rail. It ran on 11 August 1968, before the introduction of the ban. It was a special rail tour excursion train organised for the occasion from Liverpool via Manchester to Carlisle and back, and was pulled by four different steam locomotives in turn during the four legs of the journey, with two engines sharing the third leg.
The railtour started from Liverpool Lime Street station hauled by LMS Class 5 locomotive 45110, (a last minute replacement for 45305, which had failed the night before with a collapsed firebox brick arch). From Manchester Victoria Britannia Class 70013 Oliver Cromwell took over the journey to Carlisle – the last steam locomotive to be overhauled by British Rail. For the first part of the return leg, two LMS Stanier Class 5 locomotives, 44781 and 44871, double-headed the train back to Manchester Victoria. Re-joining the train at Victoria station, 45110 then worked the remainder of the journey back to Liverpool Lime Street. All but one of the locomotives that hauled the train were immediately purchased straight from service and passed into preservation.
Demand was high for passage on the last British Rail steam-hauled mainline train and the Fifteen Guinea Special was named because of the high cost of tickets.
The decline in the use of steam gave rise to a desire to preserve and restore. Enthusiasts raised funds to buy, repair and return them to their former glory. The ban on steam was lifted in 1971, paving the way for the many heritage specials now operating on the railways. In 2008, Peppercorn A1 locomotive, 60163 Tornado, the first brand new steam locomotive to be built in Britain in nearly 50 years, rolled off the line.
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