The Royal Train (and the foiled plot)

The history of British monarchs and other members of the royal family using trains goes back to the 1940s, with Queen Victoria holding the title of first reigning monarch to via rail. This started a long tradition of purpose-built rail carriages made for the royal family.

The Royal Train has made numerous visits to the Wensleydale Railway, including an armoured version that stayed overnight at Bedale during WWII. Queen Elizabeth II herself visited the line in the Royal Train on a few occasions, once again staying over at Bedale in May of 1970. However, one planned visit from the royal train was almost met with disaster…

In the early 1980s, the Royal Train was scheduled to travel along the Wensleydale line carrying Queen Elizabeth, including the usual stop off at Bedale overnight. In the days prior to the visit, the crossing keeper at Scruton Station, along with vigilant locals, had spotted a suspicious man loitering near to the railway line. This was during The Troubles in Ireland – an era of heightened terrorist threat. The suspicious man was arrested, and it was later revealed that the Bomb Disposal Unit had extracted a device, believed to be a bomb. While the visit did continue, it was accompanied by heightened security and limited public access.