From 1917 to the end of the First World War and again in the Second World the “Jellico Express” train ran between London Euston and Thurso calling nightly at Carlisle.
On its over 21-hour, 717-mile journey, the train carried military personnel, supplies and mail between southern England and the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow. Informally named after the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, who commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, these trains carried an estimated total of half a million military personnel.
To mark over 100 years since the train first ran and the role Carlisle played in its journey a special ceremony will take place at 1100 on Wednesday 31 October in the 301 Miles Café/Bar on Platform 4 at Carlisle Station, when a commemorative plaque will be unveiled by Capt. Chris Smith, Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The plaque has been jointly funded by the Cumbrian Railways Association (CRA) and the owners of the 301 Miles Café/Bar. Other similar plaques are being put up at stations between Euston and Thurso.
CRA Chairman Philip Tuer says; “These trains help to demonstrate the key role that Britain’s railways played in both World Wars, conveying military personnel, equipment, and coal throughout the country.
“The trains are also steeped in the emotions of what lay ahead for those travelling on them to postings and the relief of others returning to their loved ones. The CRA, as the key promoter of knowledge about the history of railways in Cumbria, is delighted to be associated with this commemoration which once again reinforces the historical importance of Carlisle on the railway network.”