martes, 10 de septiembre de 2013


Hi again my dear followers. Today I'm going to start an English  reading. This is a story about a robbery, a train robbery.
Many of us love reading about crime and robberies in the newspapers and reading stories about Sherlock Holmes and the other great detectives.
This story  is about a famous train robbery which happened in 1963.

Hola otra vez mis queridos seguidores.  Hoy voy a empezar una lectura en Inglés.  Es una historia sobre un robo, el robo de un tren.
A muchos de nosotros nos encanta leer sobre  crímenes  en los periódicos y leer historias sobre Sherlock Holmes y otros grandes detectives.
Esta historia trata sobre un famoso robo a un tren que sucedió en 1963.

"THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY"  by John Escott - OXFORD BOOKWORMS - Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-422850-9)

Chapter 1.
In the early hours of August 9, 1963, the night mail train from Glasgow to London's King's Cross Station was making good time.  But for the driver, 58-year-old Jack Mills, and his assistant, 26-year old David Whitby, this would be a night that they would remember for the rest of their lives.  Mills, especially, would always be a sick man and, indeed, would die young, after what was about to happen!

Nearly all the train's  12 coaches (vagones)  were used as offices for the ROYAL MAIL, for sorting (clasificar)  the letters and packets into groups for different towns and cities.
One special coach -for valuable packets- was carrying 128 bags of old money.
The money was old banknotes (billetes)which were on their way to the Royal Mint (La Fábrica de la Moneda) -the place where banknotes are made- to be destroyed.

At 3.03 a.m., almost 80 kilometres from London and near the small village of Cheddington, Jack Mills suddenly saw a red signal.  He immediately brought his engine to a stop.  It was unusual to find a red signal here, so David Whitby got out of the engine to walk to the emergency telephone, which was behind a signal box.  But two men in black balaclava helmets (pasamontañas)  came out of the darkness and pushed him down on the ground at the side of the railway.  One man told Whitby: "If you shout, I'll kill you"!

Two men climbed into the engine and Jack Mills tried to fight them.  One of the men hit Mills over the head.  Meanwhile, others in the gang (banda) quietly and efficiently unfastened the ten sorting coaches at the back of the train, leaving just the front two fastened to the engine.  The valuable packets coach was the second of these.

David Whitby was brought back and the robbers made Jack Mills drive the train very slowly to Bridego Bridge, 600 metres down the railway.  They left the other ten coaches behind -the 70 sorters (tipos) still working inside them did not realize waht was happening.

Other gang members wearing balaclavas and army uniforms were waiting at the bridge whith Land Rovers and a three-tonne army lorry (camión).  They had tied (atado) something white to a stick by the railway to mark the place where they wanted te engine to stop.

They broke the windows of the valuable packets coach and made the Post Office sorters lie down (tumbarse) on the floor.  Next, the robbers passed 120 bags of old banknotes out into the darkness.

Fifteen minutes later, the rain robbers put handcuffs (esposas) on Mills and Whitby and warned (advirtieron) them not to try to escape for at least half an hour.  Then, leaving 8 bags behind, they disappeared into the night.

The robbery had taken a total of 24 minutes.  The 120 mailbags contained 2.5 million pounds in old notes.  It was at the time, the biggest robbery ever!
The newspapers were soon calling it "the crime of the century", and the Post Office quickly offered 10,000 pounds for information that would lead (conducir) to the arrest of the robbers.

How did the robbers change the railway signal from "GO" yo "STOP"?  was one of the first things detectives wanted to know.  They soon had the answer.  The robbers had covered the green "GO" signal with a glove (guante), then used their own red light which they had brought with them.


Weeks before, the gang had bought an old farmhouse -called Leatherslade Farm- about 50 kilometres from the bridge.  They went there after the robbery to count their money.  Each man would get more than 150,000 pounds.

They had planned to stay at the farmhouse for four days, but during the afternoon of Thursday, August 8,  they heard something on the radio news that  made them change their plans.  Buckinghamshire Police announced that they were sure the gang were hiding not more than 50 km from Bridego Bridge.  In fact, the police were only guessing this because Mills and Whitby had been told not to try to get help for 30 minutes.  The gang would have needed longer than this to go more than 50 km to a hiding-place (lugar para esconderse).

The gang left Leatherslade Farm on Friday, August 9.
By the following Monday  the police had found the farmhouse where they were hiding.  Inside were Post Office mailbags.  Before long detectives had found the fingerprints (huellas dactilares) of several people in the gang, some of whom were well-known criminals -Bruce Reynolds, Buster Edwards, Ronnie Biggs, Bob Welch, Roy James, John Daly and Charlie Wilson.


Roger Cordrey, who had fixed the railway signal to show red instead of green, and Bill Boal, another of the robbers, tried to find a garage for their van (furgoneta) in  Bournemouth.  But they picked the wrong person to ask.
The owner of the garage was the widow (viuda) of a policeman, and she immediately suspected something when the robbers paid her from a thick (grueso) packet of banknotes.  She phoned the police while the two men were putting their van into the garage.  The police caught them and found 78,892 pounds in the van.

More of the money was found in four suitcases in a wood (bosque) in Surrey, on August 16.  Then another 30,000 pounds was discovered in the ceiling (techo) of a caravan parked near the wood.

By the end of the year most of the gang had been caught.  Charlie Wilson was arrested without any trouble at his Clapham home.
Roy James was more difficult to catch.  He was hiding in a house in St John's Wood in north London.  But when he saw the police, James took a bag containing 12,000 pounds and climbed up on to the roof (tejado) to try and escape.  He jumped and ran along neighbours' roofs, but more than 40 policemen were in the surrounding streets and James finally jumped down into the waiting arms of one of them.

John Daly was arrested the same day.
Buster Edwards, Bruce Reynolds and Jimmy White were not found.  And so was 2 million pounds.
The trial (juicio)  of the others began on January 24, 1964.  The police did not want the trial to take place at the Old Bailey -the famous London criminal court - because they were afraid powerful London criminals might frighten people on the jury.

All the prisoners were tried (juzgados) together, and all but Roger Cordrey pleaded not guilty.  The trial took two months.

Neither Jack Mills nor David Whitby could be sure which had been the men behind the balaclavas and nobody had seen the robbers at the farm.  But the lawyers brought in a total of 200 witnesses, the judge took six days to talk to the jury, and the jury took two days to decide that all the robbers except John Daly were guilty.
The guilty men were sent to prison for up to 30 years.

Jimmy White was finally ...

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