This ordinary-looking railway bridge is in fact the site of one of the biggest robberies in English history.
On an August night in 1963, 16 men waited for the Glasgow-to-London royal mail train, which was loaded with banknotes destined to be burned by the royal mint.
The gang hotwired the signal light to show red and hung a glove over the green “go” signal in order to stop the train at the bridge. No guns were used, but the driver was beaten in the head with a metal bar causing injuries he would never recover from.
Once the robbers had taken control of the train, the men threw 120 postal sacks of used banknotes—a value of £2.6 million (approximate £50 million today)—from the bridge. The bags were caught and hurried into cars ready to race them to a farmhouse hideout—allegedly listening to Tony Bennett’s ”Good Life” along the way.
Once at the safe house, the robbers shared out the loot and played monopoly with real money while listening to the police radio. Having to leave in a hurry, the gang did not burn the farmhouse as planned, and so left enough evidence that the police were able to catch most of the group in the years following. They were sentenced to 30 years each for their part in the heist.
One member of the gang, Ronny Biggs, escaped from prison and fled to Brazil where he avoided justice for 35 years. While there, he recorded a record with the Sex Pistols. On his return to England in 2001 he was sent to prison but was freed again in 2009 on medical grounds.
The overall sum of money was the largest ever stolen in England until the Brinks Matt robbery in 1983. Today the bridge is rarely visited, and is only marked with a small sign.