UK

Great Train Robbery: Legacy 'Albatross' For Bruce Reynold's Son Nick

08/08/2013 07:25 BST

For the son of the man behind the Great Train Robbery, its legacy has been an "albatross" hanging over him throughout his life.

Nick Reynolds, 51, said growing up as the son of the mastermind behind the famous crime had been both "a blessing and a curse".

great train rbbery nick reynolds

"To be honest it's been a bit of an albatross really," he said.

"I've been fortunate enough in the nature of my work as an artist and a musician, I've done many many interviews and I think the first time in my life was about six months ago and it was the first time they never mentioned 'son of' or the band that I'm in and I thought, 'I'm 50 years old and I'm finally a man in my own right.

"To be honest it's been a bit of a pain and it's something I've tried to come to terms with and escape from."

Bruce Reynolds died in February this year, aged 81, and his son said: "I wouldn't be here now if my dad was alive, this is his job not mine.

"As I said at his funeral, whenever he was wanted for questioning, true to form he would always split the scene.

"I felt it was my duty in a way, seeing as I had an opportunity, while the world - or England at least - was focused on the 50th anniversary, to put the record straight."

great train robbery

The robbery caused sensational headlines for its audacity

Artist and musician Mr Reynolds, whose group Alabama 3 produced The Sopranos theme tune Woke Up This Morning, said: "It's been a blessing and a curse to be quite honest, and it cost me and my mum dearly, the 10 years that he spent in prison.

"Their relationship broke down, then she had a series of mental breakdowns and when he came out of prison he dedicated his life to looking after her which really really wasn't easy.

"It's had its ups and it's had plenty of downs but what can you do? Life's too short to complain about it. You play the cards you're dealt."

Asked about his father's claims that he had become "an old crook living on handouts from other old crooks", Mr Reynolds said his father had found "gold at the end of his own personal rainbow".

"My dad always was saying he was chasing his Eldorado.

great train robbery

Bruce Reynolds is said to have masterminded the raid

"When he came out of prison he found his Eldorado was through sociology and writing, he became a writer, and he realised that all the thing's he'd chased when he was younger were pretty meaningless and the most important things in life are love, friendships and relationships.

"So in a way he found gold at the end of his own personal rainbow."

Mr Reynolds, who has written a book about the robbery, published to coincide with the 50th anniversary, along with Ronnie Biggs' autobiographer Chris Pickard, said his father's crime had become a significant moment in British history.

"From film-makers to books, it's become a moment in history.

"The train robbery has really affected how films have been made, without the Great Train Robbery there would never have been the Italian Job.

"The whole criminal genre you could say from the 60s onwards was influenced and inspired by the train robbery, there's been countless books written about it.

"It has become deeply ingrained in the British consciousness really."

And he said its reputation would live on for another 50 years.

"The train robbers have etched their way into British folklore.

"People have stolen a lot more money but it's earned its place in history and I think, yeah, in 100 years time, people won't remember Tony Blair but they'll remember Ronnie Biggs."