Rail enthusiasts gather at stations as iconic steam locomotives Mallard and Union of South Africa pass through

Mallard pulls into Darlington Railway Station

Mallard pulls into Darlington Railway Station

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Shildon and Spennymoor)

A RECORD breaking locomotive turned back the years to travel up the East Coast Mainline where it became the world’s fastest steam engine 75-years ago.

Railway enthusiasts caught a glimpse of the famous blue engine as it travelled on the line from the National Railway Museum, in York.

Mallard, which cannot be put into steam anymore, was pulled by its sister A4 locomotive, the Union of South Africa.

The Northern Echo:

The engine headed to Locomotion: The National Railway Museum in Shildon today (Wednesday, January 5) to take part in The Great Goodbye exhibition.

The display is part of a series of events to mark Mallard’s historic feat.

Train enthusiast Tom Hutchinson, of Birtley, near to Gateshead, said: “I think it’s special because both of them are coming up together.

“Mallard is normally a static exhibit and it rarely moves so this is as good as it gets for that engine.

“I saw all 34 of the A4s in the 1950s and it’s unique to see them running now.”

The Northern Echo:
Union of South Africa

Fellow A4 class locomotives Dwight D Eisenhower, the Bittern, the Dominion of Canada and the Sir Nigel Gresley are also heading to Shildon.

Pam Porter, events officer at Locomotion, said: “It’s one of the museum’s most exciting exhibitions and we’re very proud that the engines are coming.

“It’s definitely the last opportunity for people to see these engines in together. We’re expecting about 75,000 visitors to Locomotion over the display.

“It should be the biggest event in Shildon since the 1975 cavalcade to mark the 150th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.”

On July 3, 1938, Mallard reached 125.88mph at Stoke Bank, south of Grantham, in Lincolnshire, to set the world record.

At the end of the steam age the Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada engines were shipped to museums in America and Canada.

They made the return 2,527-mile trans-Atlantic journey for the first time in 50-years to appear. All of the A4s are to disperse again after the exhibition.

The Northern Echo:

Last year about 250,000 visitors headed to two Great Gathering events featuring the A4s at the National Railway Museum to mark Mallard’s anniversary.

The Great Goodbye exhibition runs between Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 23 with doors open between 9.30am and 5pm with free entry.

Details can be obtained from 01388-777999 or online at nrm.org.uk/PlanaVisit/VisitShildon

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