Published 21st February 2013
The World steam locomotive speed record was achieved on July 3 1938 by an LNER ‘A4 Class’ locomotive Number No. 4468 Mallard. The 75th anniversary will be marked by a line-up of the six remaining A4s at York.
The National Railway Museum (NRM) in York has confirmed that the line-up with record breaker Mallard with its Doncaster-built classmates will take place on July 3, 2013 for 14 days. This will be a spectacular international family reunion as two of the locomotives were given to museums in Canada and North America by British Rail when their working life ended in the mid 1960s.
The six streamlined steam giants will be exhibited around the Great Hall turntable in the NRM for two weeks, a unique sight never seen before and entry is free!
The two locomotives donated by British Railways have returned to the UK for the first time in almost half a century. They are No. 60010 Dominion of Canada and No. 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower which arrived in the UK last October after a difficult repatriation process. This included extraction from their home museums and a transcontinental ride on rail flat cars across North America followed by a 2,527 mile journey across the Atlantic.
The two engines are on loan to the NRM for two years, from the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA and Exporail, the Canadian National Railway Museum in Montreal.
Jacqueline D Frank, Executive Director at the National Railroad Museum, speaking last year said about the loan: “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.”
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 National Railway Museum to help them mark 75 years since Mallard broke the world speed record. “
Anthony Coulls Senior Curator of Railway Vehicles at the NRM said: “On the third of July 1938 Mallard became the world’s fastest steam locomotive and it marked a pinnacle in British engineering that became a significant marker in global history. In 2008 we marked 70 years by reuniting Mallard with its operational UK-based sisters and now for the 75thanniversary we’ve organised an historic homecoming to UK soil for the transatlantic travellers.
The three operational A4s, No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, No. 60009 Union of South Africa and No. 4464 Bittern will be taking a two-week break from rail tours around the UK to help the Museum celebrate the 75thanniversary in style. Sir Nigel Gresley is the World’s post war steam record holder when she managed 112mph in 1959 on the same stretch of line as Mallard’s record was created.
Mallard and Dwight D Eisenhower have been cosmetically restored at York in The NRM by experts from Lancashire-based Heritage Painting along with the Museum workshop team. Dominion of Canada is currently receiving a Mallard-style makeover into characteristic garter blue at the National Railway Museum at Shildon.
On the third of July 1938, the blue streamlined ’A4’ No. 4468 Mallard, was recorded running at 126mph descending Stoke Bank just south of Grantham and captured the world steam speed record crown. The engine had recently entered service and was chosen because it was the first of the class to be fitted with a double chimney improving its steaming.
UK Railtours is operating a special charter train to the event on July 6 using a former InterCity125 trainset running from London’s St. Pancras and will allow about five hours in York.
The Friends of the National Railway Museum has made a £50,000 donation towards the cosmetic overhaul of the repatriated A4 locomotives estimated at about £60,000. This includes the supply of paint, asbestos removal to make the vehicles safe for sanding and painting, the removing and refitting of the motion and body work repairs.
“Although fundraising towards the cosmetic restoration phase of the Mallard75 project is still ongoing, we are delighted to officially announce the Friends’ generous donation towards the work necessary to display the repatriated A4s alongside their sister locomotives in the Great Hall.
It is a significant contribution towards the cosmetic restoration work on the two vehicles and we hope the spectacular sight of all six surviving Gresley A4s around the Great Hall turntable will be a suitable reward and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks for the Friends’ support.”
The Bishop Auckland Radio Amateurs Club (BARAC) has obtained a Special Event radio transmitting licence from OFCOM to celebrate the A4 reunion at York in July. This was made possible after the owners of No. 60007, the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Group (SNGLPG) endorsed the application for the special license by BARAC.
They are attempting to join in with amateur radio clubs in Green Bay USA, and Montreal Canada, where the visiting A4s have permanent homes, to enable them to join in with the celebrations.
The UK broadcasting will take place from Warcop Station on the Eden Valley Railway which has a permanent Special Event Station GB2EVR and the first broadcasts for GB75SNG have already started and will carry on to September. The Bishop Auckland Radio Amateur Club web site for Railways on the air (ROTA) is http://rota.barac.org.uk