The Great Train Robbery

Rights Contact Login For More Details

More About This Title The Great Train Robbery


£2.6 million stolen in 46 minutes, prison sentences totalling 378 years, 23 criminals, countless victims. In the early hours of Thursday, August 8, 1963, at Sears Crossing near Cheddington in Buckinghamshire, £2.6 million (£45 million today) in unmarked £5, £1 and 10-shilling notes was stolen from the Glasgow to London mail train in a violent and daring raid which took forty-six minutes. Quickly dubbed "the Crime of the Century," it has captured the imagination of the public and the world's media for fifty years, taking its place in British folklore. Ronnie Biggs, Bruce Reynolds, and Buster Edwards became household names, and their accounts have fed the myths and legends of The Great Train Robbery. But what really happened? This definitive account dismantles the myths and strips away the sensational headlines to reveal a flawed, darker, and more complex story. The crime, the police investigation, the trial, two escapes from high-security prisons, and an establishment under siege are all laid bare in astonishing detail for an epic tale of crime and punishment. Fifty years later, here is the story set out in full for the first time—a true-life crime thriller, and also a vivid slice of British social history.


Nick Russell-Pavier is a writer, dramatist, TV and film composer, and producer. Stewart Richards has worked as a film producer, television executive, and audio book publisher.


"Our fascination with The Great Train Robbery shows no sign of fading. It's Britain's real-life Wizard of Oz—no matter how familiar the tale, we can never resist savoring it just one more time... This well-written book also tackles the question of why the crime still holds our attention." —The Spectator

"This racing read reveals a strangely seductive lost world." —The Independent on Sunday

"For the robbers who lost their liberty, all they had left was the myth of a brilliant crime. But that myth is comprehensively blown away by this thorough and often gripping book." —The  Sunday Times"With hindsight, the irony is that The Great Train Robbery was not a harbinger of the Swinging Sixties, but rather, with its cast of cops and criminals in matching trilbies, a reminder of the old Britain—class-bound and violent yet still strangely innocent—that was about to be swept away." —Mail on Sunday"A cool analysis of a violent and daring raid that still frustrates investigators and fascinates aficionados of big-time crime." —Saga Magazine"The idea that the great train robbery was a masterpiece of planning and execution by the cream of Britain's villains has been strangely persistent. In fact, as Nick Russell-Pavier and Stewart Richards' fascinating, if mildly obsessive, new book proves, this was always a myth that handily suited everybody involved: police, media and the criminals themselves." —Daily Mail"compelling...reveals failings in the initial investigation, but also in the execution of the robbery."— Choice