Mail train incidents – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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Mail train incidents

From its inception to the present day, the transportation and delivery of the Royal Mail has experienced quite the evolution. Its vehicles for transportation have, over the years, made headlines. Sadly, they were not necessarily good headlines to make; from accidents to robberies, our newspapers tell it all.


The infamous Great Train Robbery of 1963 received particular attention in the newspapers. The robbery was the largest of its kind, with more than £2 million stolen from a Royal Mail train. The Illustrated London News provided detailed photograph spreads outlining the case and how the thieves were apprehended.

train robbery 1963
The Sphere | 24 August 1963

‘The mail train robbery early today was the biggest and the most audacious that has ever occurred in Britain. A hold-up by a gang of 20 to 30 armed men brings a new and alarming dimension to organised robbery. It provides lurid evidence that there are in our midst men who will stop at nothing. In this case they have got away with a huge haul of loot and have succeeded easily. […] This robbery sets the authorities the urgent task of guarding the mail and organising security to an extent that has not been necessary in the past’.

Mail train robbery
Coventry Evening Telegraph | 8 August 1963

‘The great mail train robbery of August 8 must surely result in more realistic measures to deter the Moriartys of successful crime. The losses in recent years incurred by banks and other businesses which handle large sums of money and by insurance companies have reached a staggering total; and the success and immunity of the master criminals show clearly that the Moriartys are usually a jump ahead of the Holmeses’.

great train robbery

great train robbery
Illustrated London News | 24 August 1963
great train robbery
Illustrated London News | 24 August 1963

great train robbery

great train robbery
Illustrated London News | 17 August 1963

Accident to mail train
Illustrated Police News | 3 March 1877

Mail train disaster
The Graphic | 6 May 1922

 

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