Published 11th September 2012
YORK - The LNER ‘A4’ Class reunion of 2012 and 2013 is now well and truly underway the National Railway Museum has announced.
The reunion is to mark the 75th anniversary of No. 60022 Mallard creating the world steam record of 126mph which still stands today, 74 years later. Good progress is being made on the project to temporarily repatriate two A4 class locomotives from the North Americas to the UK.
When the class was withdrawn in the early to mid 1960s, two were donated to the USA and Canada as they carried names linked with these countries. These were No. No 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower, which left the National Railroad Museum, Green Bay, Wisconsin on August 4 and arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on August 19.
The second ‘A4’, No 60010 Dominion of Canada, has been loaded onto flat freight rail-cars at Exporail, the Canadian National Railway Museum in Montreal. This consist is now awaiting clearance before travelling by rail to the docks at Halifax.
Once both locomotives are there, they will travel on the next available shipping date and it is thought the pair will arrive at Liverpool docks by the end of this month.
Both locomotives will be loaned to the National Railway Museum for two years in exchange for remedial works being carried out before they participate in a celebratory programme of events in 2013 at the National Railway Museum York and Shildon.
These will mark the 75thanniversary year of Mallard officially becoming the fastest steam locomotive of all time and this anniversary will have as its centrepiece, a never-seen-before line up of all six of the remaining A4s.
When the two expat locos arrive at Liverpool, they will be taken by road to the National Railway Museum at Shildon by Moveright International, who has coordinated all aspects of the locomotives’ historic journey across the Atlantic.
Both locomotives will receive a fresh new look in preparation for the 75thanniversary year. No. 60010 Dominion of Canada will receive a full cosmetic overhaul into the original 1930s garter blue livery with single chimney and commemorative bell at the National Railway Museum in Shildon. This work will be taking place in the Shildon on-site workshop where the public can watch as Darlington-based M-Machine carry out the work.
Dwight D Eisenhower will travel to the workshops at York, where visitors can see Lancashire-based Heritage Painting refresh the locomotive’s BR Brunswick green livery from early October.
Experts from the company have already successfully given Mallard a fresh coat of characteristic garter blue paint in keeping with its world-famous status in time for the festivities.
Steve Davies, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: “We wanted to do something really special to mark the 75th anniversary and what could be more spectacular than an international family reunion for the A4s? When these mighty machines were exported across the Atlantic in the Sixties, no one thought they would ever come back.
The sheer scale of this project to move these locomotive back to home soil is immense and it is testament to the vision of the National Railway Museum and our transatlantic colleagues that we are able to make this happen.”
Steve Davies has spoken exclusively to rail.co.uk about the project and he wanted to thank Moveright International for their sponsorship and help in many other areas using their experience in bringing steam locomotives ‘home’ from far away countries.
He also said that when he took the position of NRM Director, he was aware that the anniversary was looming and something spectacular had to be arranged, so what better idea than bringing all six ‘A4s’ together?
He had to ask the owners of 60007, 60009 and 60019 if they would be available and swear them to secrecy while negotiations were ongoing abroad.
It looks to be a great occasion for all rail fans from later this year.