Train robberies

Gloves, tea strainers and a game of Monopoly… how the Great Train Robbery unfolded

We don’t know if the two teenagers who attempted a train robbery in Scotland this week knew that it was the 60th anniversary of the most famous one in British history. Given their failure – nothing was stolen and the charges include ‘malicious mischief’ – it seems unlikely. Either way, the train robbery of August 1963 remains secure in its title of ‘Great’. Why did it fascinate us so much in the first place? Partly it was the zeitgeist timing (that year also saw Profumo, Beatlemania and JFK’s assassination); partly the amount stolen (£2.5 million, worth more than £40 million today); and partly the narrative of ‘plucky underdogs vs the