Following months of rumour, York’s National Railway Museum has officially confirmed that A4s No. 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower and No. 60010 Dominion of Canada will be repatriated for two years.
The NRM has reached formal agreements with the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Exporail, the Canadian National Railway Museum in Montreal, to release Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada respectively for repatriation under the care of Britain’s NRM for two years. The pair will return to participate in celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of No. 4468 Mallard’s July 3 1938 world record breaking 126mph run down Stoke Bank.
No. 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower left Britain for the USA in May 1964 while No. 60010 Dominion of Canada went to Canada in May 1966. This will be the first time either has crossed back over the Atlantic.
“I am delighted that the two museums involved have shared in the National Railway Museum’s vision to make this happen and I have no doubt that what is being planned will be beneficial to all parties,” commented Steve Davies, Director of the NRM.
Plans for moving the locos back to Britain, potentially in the coming autumn, are being prepared with the NRM hoping to draw on direct industry sponsorship.
Three BR-liveried Gresley A4s - No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, No. 60009 Union of South Africa and No. 60019 Bittern - were lined up at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s Grosmont MPD on April 5 2008.
The NRM, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Mallard’s record, topped this over July 5-6 2008 when the three operational A4s (Sir Nigel Gresley, Union of South Africa and Bittern) joined No. 4468 Mallard (normally on static display in the NRM’s Great Hall) in the NRM’s north car park – the first time four A4s had been together in preservation.
Subsequent to this gathering, in May 2011 No. 60019 Bittern was unveiled following fitting of full streamlined casings in a newly applied LNER blue livery and has run since as No. 4492 Dominion of New Zealand.
Now, the stage seems to be set for a real once in a lifetime opportunity of seeing all six Gresley A4s reunited. The NRM aims to use Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada as a central feature of a series of events being planned to mark the anniversary of Mallard’s record, although full details of these events are still to be finalised.
The NRM says discussions with the owners of the UK-based trio are in progress with the intention of generating a number of line up opportunities involving all six A4s at several locations, of which York will be the principal venue.
“We hope that the entire UK railway enthusiast community will appreciate and applaud the ambition involved in taking forward this project, pay tribute to the willingness of the owners of these locomotives to be equal partners in this venture, and of course visit this never-to-be-repeated series of events in 2013,” added Steve Davies when the repatriation announcement was made.
Although industry sponsorship is plainly envisaged, the door has been left open for the possibility of a public appeal for cash to support the project being made if deemed desirable and/or necessary.
The two repatriated locomotives will have their asbestos removed while in the UK and Ian Riley Engineering at Bury is likely to be involved in this.