Record breaking Mallard in A4 reunion at York's National Railway Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 28 March 2013

On the 75th anniversary of the Mallard becoming the world's fastest train, the National Railway Museum has pulled off a comparably impressive locomotive feat by uniting the great engine and its five surviving sister designs for the first time.

A photo of a large brown steam train inside a museum
The Crewe-built Duchess of Hamilton (left) meets her one-time rival, the Dominion of Canada, at the National Railway Museum© Anthony Coulls, National Railway Museum
Hurtling down Stoke Bank, near Grantham, in 1938, the No.4468 Mallard became the fastest train in the world, hitting 126mph on the East Coast Main Line to narrowly eclipse the existing German record of 124mph, set two years earlier.

Two of its Doncaster-built locomotives, the Dominion of Canada and Dwight D Eisenhower, have been repatriated from the National Railroad Museum, in Wisconsin, and Exporail, the Canadian National Railway Museum in Montreal. They will gather in the museum’s Great Hall as part of a comprehensive season of events spearheaded by The Prince of Wales.

A photo of a large yellow locomotive inside a museum
The Dominion is on a two-year loan from Canada© Anthony Coulls, National Railway Museum
“We’re so excited about showcasing all six survivors of the A4 class,” says Anthony Coulls, the York venue’s Senior Curator of Railway Vehicles, calling the unification “the icing on the cake” for a year of events including a fortnight long reunion in July – the Great Gathering – which planners say will fulfil rail enthusiasts’ dreams.

“We hope people will join us to mark this milestone in railway history.”

Jacqueline D Frank, of Coulls’ US collaborators, said the Eisenhower occupied “a special place in the hearts of the American people”.

Restoration work is continuing on the Dominion in the workshop of the National Railway Museum in Shildon. Visitors are being invited to assist the cosmetic embellishments as part of the season.

The Mallard was deemed ripe for the world steam speed bid due to possessing the first double chimney of the class.

  • The Great Gathering takes place July 3-17. Visit nrm.org.uk/mallard75 for more details and the full programme of events.
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