Event: The Great Gathering, National Railway Museum, York, until July 17 2013
It has been billed as the Great Gathering, and now the first of thousands of visitors to the National Railway Museum in York have caught a glimpse of the iconic A4 steam locomotive Mallard, alongside all the remaining A4s in the world.
© Courtesy the NRM
The Celebrations began as part of the 75th anniversary of the iconic Mallard setting the world steam speed record – 75 years ago today.
Mallard set the record at Stoke Bank near Grantham in Lincolnshire, reaching 126mph - a record which still stands to this day.
The event, which is arguably one of the biggest days ever in the steam enthusiast’s calendar, has seen all of the remaining A4 locos reunited under the great canopy of the York Museum, where they will be displayed to the public for free until July 17.
The A4 was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, the man behind that other icon of British steam locomotive history, The Flying Scotsman. A total of 35 A4 locomotives were built in Doncaster between 1935 and 1938.
Six surviving engines - Dwight D Eisenhower, Mallard, Bittern, Union of South Africa, Dominion of Canada and Sir Nigel Gresley - have been brought together in York for the first time.
Like many of the rail enthusiasts now flocking to the museum from all corners of the globe, two of the locos made long journeys.
Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada traveled from America and Canada respectively for the momentous occasion. They have been undergoing restoration to bring them back to their original liveries by teams from the NRM.
Amid the celebrations, it also emerged that the York mecca for rail enthusiasts is to remain open after reports earlier this year said the National Science Museums consortium would have to axe one or all of its northern museums – the others including the National Media Museum in Bradford and MOSI, (Museum of Science and Industry) in Manchester.
According to reports in today’s York Press, which mounted a petition to save the museum, Culture Minster Ed Vaizey has confirmed that “we have secured the future of these museums.”
- Follow the Mallard celebrations on twitter via the #mallard75 hashtag.
© Courtesy NRM