British Railways’ Last Steam Train
It was the 11th August 1968 when British Railways operated their last steam train, the 1T57 Special, before a ban on main line steam locomotives came into force the following day.
The Fifteen Guinea Special as it became known went from Liverpool to Carlisle and back using several locomotives. An important part of the trip was a stop at the Huskisson memorial, just off the Parkside Road railway bridge, here at Newton-le-Willows.
William Huskisson was an important MP for Liverpool and cabinet member who, despite a successful political career, is usually remembered today as being the first person to be killed by a railway train. This was on the 15th September 1830,
Huskisson, a keen supporter of the railway, was on the inaugural train for the official opening along with the Duke of Wellington when the train stopped at Parkside to take on water. Huskisson got out of his carriage to approach the Duke’s carriage and was in discussion with the Duke when he failed to notice the Rocket approaching on the other track. He tried to climb into the Duke’s carriage but fell on to the track and was hit by the Rocket.
He was taken by the train, driven by George Stephenson himself, to Eccles where he was taken to hospital but died a few hours later.
When the Special stopped here in 1968 it was hauled by ex LMS (London Midland & Scottish Railway) 4-6-0 number 45110. Designed by LMS Chief Engineer Sir William Stanier these were introduced in 1934 and became known as “Black Fives”.
A total of 842 were produced and appropriately enough 45110 was manufactured locally at the Vulcan Foundry (locomotive works) at Newton-le-Willows in 1935. The locomotive still exists and was used on the Severn Valley Railway until its boiler certificate expired. It is currently stored near Chesterfield awaiting restoration.