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11 August 2011

On this day in history: Last steam-hauled mainline passenger train on British Railways, 1968

On 11th August 1968 a special train set off from Liverpool Lime Street station on a return trip to Carlisle. The train, known as the 'Fifteen Guinea Special' because of the cost of the fair, was the last steam-hauled passenger service on British Rail's standard gauge tracks. The next day saw a start of a ban instituted by British Rail management, from then on only diesel and electric locomotives were to be used.

Around 450 enthusiasts set off at 9:10 am on the 314-mile round trip, and thousands more gathered at the stations and other points along the route to wave at the train as it passed. Four locomotives were used to haul the train over various stages: on the first leg, between Liverpool and Manchester, the LMS Stanier Class 5 locomotive 45110 was used; between Manchester Victoria and Carlisle, the BR standard class 7 70013 'Oliver Cromwell' provided the power; from Carlisle back to Manchester two more Class 5s - 44781 and 44871 - were used; 45110 hauled the final leg back to Lime Street where it was greeted as it steamed in at just before 8 pm by a large crowd.

© D. Harvey, 1968

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