Organisers in Durham are hoping to maintain the momentum of a steam heritage celebration sparked by a land speed record
Art-deco installations beamed upon the National Railway Museum and Durham Castle this week, lighting up the freezing February skies in front of the East Coast track Mallard is about to travel along between Yorkshire and the north-east.
Last July’s celebrations in York, held to mark the 75th anniversary of the train breaking the land speed record, reunited Mallard with its five surviving sisters. All the engines will be in tandem again when the Great Goodbye, at the museum’s Shildon site, hosts the Great Goodbye at the end of next week.
“We said a fond farewell to Dwight and Dominion last week,” said Anthony Coulls, the Senior Curator of Railway Vehicles, discussing the two American engines which will appear at the Barrow Hill Roundhouse this weekend – a working engine shed in Chesterfield where the A4 Bittern and the Tornado, Britain’s newest steam locomotive, will also appear alongside the resident locomotives.
“Mallard is now off display being prepped for the big move to Durham this week, so fans don’t have long to wait before they can once again get up close to the record breaker – with the added bonus of being surrounded by sisters in steam.
“Lighting up a frosty February evening demonstrates how our Mallard 75 events showcase our collection to new audiences and turn the spotlight on to the wonder of British engineering.”
Durham University students created the large-scale projections of the Mallard logo for the 11th century castle. Northern Rail have also announced they will be running an enhanced service to Shildon during the eight-day finale, operating one of their oldest trains, the Timothy Hackworth 156438, on the tracks.
The aim is to intrigue a new generation of railway heritage fans and capitalise on the success of the showcase in York, where more than 250,000 visitors are said to have seen the engines.
“The county is the cradle of the railways so it is only fitting that we host the final event in the Mallard 75 season,” said Melanie Sensicle, of Visit County Durham.
“We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mallard and sisters to tell the story of high-speed travel down the East Coast Mainline.”
- The Great Goodbye runs from February 15-23 2014. Visit the programme online for details.
© Nick Hughes
© Nick Hughes
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