Railways remember August 1968 and the ‘end of steam’

AUGUST marked 50 years since BR’s final withdrawal of standard gauge steam and a number of heritage lines held events or operated trains to commemorate the anniversary.

The Great Central Railway was in full-on re-creation mode during the weekends of August 4-5 and 11-12, which half a century earlier had seen both BR’s last steam-hauled service trains (August 4) and the running of the ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ (August 11).

The star of 1968, No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell departs Rothley with a 1L50 reporting number on August 4, 50 years since BR’s last use of steam on timetabled service trains. ROBERT FALCONER

Appropriately, the RCTS’ ‘End of Steam Commemorative Railtour’ on August 4, 1968 was remembered during the first weekend, with both ‘Britannia’ No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell and BR ‘5MT’ No. 73156 (running as 1968 classmate No. 73069) carrying the 1L50 reporting number.

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Plans to have ‘8F’ No. 48624 in operation were thwarted by the continued fire risk, but the Stanier 2-8-0 did join the party for the following weekend, running in the guise of No. 48476.

The August 11-12 weekend was the big one at the GCR, with No. 70013 taking centre stage just as it had done 50 years before. Once again the 1L50 reporting number was carried, notably by the ‘8F’ as it and the ‘Standard 5’ double-headed a
special departure from Loughborough to Leicester.

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