On 3 July 1938 Mallard made history when it became the fastest steam locomotive in the world. The locomotive reached 126mph on the East Coast main line, a record which still stands today, 75 years later.
Mallard is a streamlined A4 Pacific, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to be the flagship locomotive for the London & North Eastern Railway’s Silver Jubilee services. In total 35 A4s were built at Doncaster Works, with only 6 surviving the end of steam in 1968.
To mark the 70th anniversary of the record, the National Railway Museum brought together the four UK-based A4s in York.
For the 75th anniversary of the record, we decided to do something even more special – reunite all six survivors, including the two A4s which had been given to America and Canada in the 1960s.
In summer last year work began to bring the North American locomotives from their respective homes, back to the UK. Both locomotives were moved, appropriately enough, by rail to Halifax, Nova Scotia ready to be shipped to Liverpool.
In October 2012, after a 2,527 mile journey by sea, both locomotives arrived back on English soil for the first time in over 40 years.
Both of the North American locomotives have been cosmetically restored to their former glory by the National Railway Museum, and have been on display in both York and Shildon.
Today is the first day of a fortnight-long celebration of Mallard’s record, and the first time that all six of the A4s will be seen together, which really is a once in a lifetime event.
To find out more about how you can join us to celebrate Mallard’s remarkable world record, visit nrm.org.uk/mallard75.