The Great Train Robbery - how they pulled it off

Part of the £2.6 million loot from the robbery Photo: PA

The Great Train robbery was an enormous operation involving a gang of at least 15 men, mostly from South London, headed up by notorious criminal Ronnie Biggs and mastermind Bruce Reynolds.

Reynolds' plan was to hold up the Glasgow to Euston night mail train - which was carrying huge numbers of used bank notes - as it passed through the Buckinghamshire countryside.

The train appeared shortly after 3am and stopped at a set of fake signals the gang had put up. Driver Jack Mills, who got out to see what was going on, was bashed over the head.

Bruce Reynolds, left, and Ronnie Biggs in 1963 Credit: Pictures from PA

However, the gang had stopped the train near a sheer drop so found it impossible to unload the cash. Even worse, it quickly became apparent that the driver they had brought along couldn't work the controls. The men realised they needed Mills after all, so he was forced back into the carriage to move the train along.

The train was finally stopped a mile and a half down the track where the gang unloaded £2.6 million, worth around £46 million today.

However, the gang left fingerprints all over the train and even played Monopoly with some of the loot. After a joint investigation in Buckinghamshire and London, by December that year most of the men had been arrested

Despite this, two of the gang - Charlie Wilson and Ronnie Biggs - soon escaped prison. Biggs broke out of Wandsworth prison only 15 months into his 30 year sentence, and spent more than three decades on the run before he finally returned to face arrest in 2001.