At the start of July, Mallard 75, the two-week initial unification of six giant engines in honour of the breaking of the locomotive speed record in 1938, attracted more than 9,000 people to the National Railway Museum every day.
Almost 140,000 steam heritage fans visited The Great Gathering. One of them, the museum’s rail events co-ordinator Noel Hartley, is now attempting a feat of his own by laying out a gigantic model of the garter-blue steam Mallard and the track it flashed along in Doncaster all those decades ago.
© National Railway Museum
Crowds will be able to watch the re-enactment under Percy Main Bridge, in the museum’s Main Hall, where the Yorkshire Group of the Gauge One Model Railway Association will also run live steam scale model speed record attempts with specially-built locomotives, carriages and tracks.
“Bringing the collection to the widest possible audience is what it’s all about,” explains Anthony Coulls, the museum’s Senior Curator of Railway Vehicles, who will watch the tiny trains try to pip the 126mph target every half hour.
“Even though our anniversary Great Gathering exhibition is over until the Autumn, Mallard is still on display with its transatlantic travelling sisters Dominion of Canada and Dwight D Eisenhower.
“Visitors can see how Mallard and sisters look when in steam, cheer on the record-breaking run in miniature, and then get up close to the real thing.”
Families are being dared to build their own speed machine and race it down a custom-built track throughout the summer.
An exhibition, It’s Quicker by Rail, runs until October, with two follow-up events – an Autumn Great Gathering in York at the end of October and a Great Goodbye, in Shildon next February – planned to reunite the engines again.
- Takes place July 27-28 2013, 10am-4.30pm. Admission free.