Published 16th October 2012
The transatlantic sisters of the world’s fastest steam locomotive Mallard are on display to the British public for the first time at the National Railway Museum (NRM) at Shildon.
The Sir Nigel Gresley designed, LNER ‘A4’ Doncaster-built pair returned to the UK after over half a century on display in North America. The two engines were presented to Canada and the USA respectively at the end of their active life with British Rail.
The two engines, No. 60008 Dominion of Canada and No. 60010 Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Port of Liverpool last week after crossing the Atlantic on a 2,527 mile voyage after a transcontinental rail journey across North America. The iconic streamlined pair are on display at the NRM’s northern base at Locomotion, Shildon in Co Durham.
Dominion of Canada was withdrawn at Darlington shed on May 29, 1965 while Dwight D. Eisenhower was donated to the Canadian Railroad Historical Association (CRHA) by British Rail a year later in May 1966.
The engines will be cosmetically restored by the NRM’s team at Shildon alongside Ian Matthews of Darlington-based M-Machine who will be carrying out the cosmetic restoration work on Dominion of Canada in the Museum workshop.
The engines are classmates of the world’s fastest steam locomotive No. 4468 Mallard , and were put on display to the British public for the first time in over half a century.
Both engines are on loan to The NRM for two years, from the National Railroad Museum in Wisconsin, USA and Exporail, the Canadian National Railway Museum in Montreal. They form a key part of the July 2013 75th anniversary celebrations of Mallard securing the world speed record of 126mph which has never been broken.
The mastermind behind the repatriation is Steve Davies, Director of the National Railway Museum, who is to step down in a few weeks.
Steve Davies, Director of the NRM said:
“What could be more spectacular than an international family reunion to mark the 75th anniversary of Mallard breaking the world speed record in 2013? The sheer scale of this transcontinental project to move these locomotives back to home soil was immense and it is testament to the vision and expertise of all those involved.
When these mighty machines were exported across the Atlantic in the Sixties, no one thought they would ever come back, now they are finally here at the spiritual home of the railways and on display to their adoring public.
Our thanks go to our UK and North American partners who made this historic homecoming happen.”
Marie-Claude Reid, Executive Director General of Exporail the Canadian Railway Museum said:
“Dominion of Canada has been an important part of our collection at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum, since the late sixties and we are thrilled to be loaning her to the NRM to help them mark 75 years since Mallard broke the world speed record. We are very proud to be working in partnership with the NRM in offering the world the chance to see the six surviving A4s together in 2013. We will watch with interest as our locomotive is transformed into 1930s garter blue splendour and we look forward to seeing it return to Canada in 2014.”
Jacqueline D Frank, Executive Director at the National Railroad Museum said:
“We hope the British public enjoy the chance to see Dwight D Eisenhower, which although built in Doncaster, now occupies a special place in the hearts of the American people due to it being re named after one of our presidents. When it returns sporting a fresh coat of BR Green paint, it will become the centrepiece of a brand new exhibition located by the WWII command cars here at the National Railroad Museum.”
The due travelled more than 150 miles north east on low-loader from the Port of Liverpool Seaforth docks. Heavy haulage specialists Moveright International have overseen all aspects of the move across North America, from their removal from the Museums, through to their historic homecoming.
After a short period of display, Dwight D Eisenhower will move to York to be given a fresh coat of green paint in the Museum workshop by experts from Lancashire-based Heritage Painting. Meanwhile Dominion of Canada will be painted the same iconic shade of blue as Mallard in the workshop at Shildon by Darlington-based M-Machine.
The centrepiece of the celebrations will be an international family reunion to remember. All six of the surviving A4 locomotives in the world will be lined up at the NRM - a sight never seen before.
Thanks go to Moveright International, CN, Ceres, Peel Ports, ACL and TTX for their generous support in the repatriation of Dominion of Canada and Dwight D Eisenhower