Mallard is painted Black, an iconic York railway sign goes yellow and 150 year old tracks are uncovered

Published 6th August 2012

Mallard is painted Black, an iconic York railway sign goes yellow and 150 year old tracks uncovered

York - The National Railway Museum and Network Rail paint famous railway relics as conservation plans are announced for York’s 150 year old engine shed.


The National Railway Museum will be repatriating the two world famous LNER Streamlined A4s in September in preparations to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Mallard achieving the world steam speed record next year.

Two of the class were given to America and Canada respectively when they were withdrawn by British Railways nearly half a century ago. No. 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower and 60010 Dominion of Canada have been on display in museums on the other side of the Atlantic ever since.

World Record Breaker in all-over black for 24 hours only!

Mallard has been prepared for the reunion by being repainted in August and for 24 hours only, appeared in all over black livery. The NRM Director, Steve Davies invited to take exclusive pictures of the repainting in the NRM’s workshop.

He said that the engine would have carried this livery in wartime but without some of the lower streamlining. The locomotive was to be repainted into fresh garter blue livery in time for the arrival of the two exported classmates.

The NRM has also now reliveried and outshopped its 1961 built diesel shunter No. 09017 into maroon livery and is used for shunting around the NRM complex.

Famous York Railway Sign repainted

On the approach to York from the south, the LNER created a YORK sign on the lineside and was historically painted black letters on a white background. In recent years the sign had become weather-worn and overgrown by vegetation.

Local Network Rail management found some money in June and set a trackside gang to work cutting back the vegetation and renovating the sign. In June, it was initially repainted into Olympic colours but ‘did not look right’ according to the gang that did the work. So they repainted it black on a yellow background and on July 31, declared the job finished to everyone’s satisfaction.

Victorian York Railway Relics to be conserved

York, as now, has always been an important railway centre and groundworks for a proposed Network Rail railway development on the land to the south of the station has uncovered the remains of the Victorian steam locomotive sheds and roundhouse.

The buildings, which were known as York South Roundhouse, were demolished at the end of steam in 1964 and the remains at ground level were covered with the resulting rubble. This subsequently became grown over by vegetation and largely forgotten about.

The excavations commenced at the beginning of 2012 and as the remains became uncovered, it was realised that some historic railway history was literally being uncovered. It has now been decided to conserve the fully excavated area and these were being surveyed in late July and early August.

The remains reveal high quality building work carried out in 1864 and also showing the design of and how the steam sheds operated.

Triangles and Turntables

The land also contains a turning triangle used for steam locomotives and this is due to be removed up as part of the Network Rail development of the area. A turntable is likely to be installed at York to enable locomotives to be turned to face the correct way for their next train.

This has been proposed to be located adjacent to the York North Yard on the west side on a spur from the station avoiding line. The turntable currently located at Ferme Park, six miles north of Kings Cross in London, may be relocated to York for further, if unexpected use.

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