Train enthusiast named Mallard meets namesake record breaking engine in Shildon

The Northern Echo: The Mallard The Mallard

A TRAIN driver’s son named Mallard came face to face with his namesake today (Monday, February 17) at an event celebrating the locomotive’s world record breaking feat.

David Mallard Elcoat, 63, from London, was given the unusual name by his proud father Percy Elcoat, who was a train driver for London, Midland and Scottish Railways.

Although he never drove Mallard, he was so impressed by the engine that he told his wife, Ethel, that when they had a child he wanted to name the baby after the locomotive.

Mr Elcoat, a coach driver, said: “My mother was not very impressed but she went along with it provided that I was called David Mallard Elcoat.

“So my father went along to the registry office and he came back with a certificate that said I was called Mallard David Elcoat.

“My mother was not impressed when she first saw the birth certificate.”

Mr Elcoat’s name meant that he was the butt of jokes as a child, although most were to do with Mallard ducks rather than the locomotive.

He changed his name to David Mallard Elcoat in 1963 and has continued to use this version.

Today he visited Mallard at Locomotion: The National Railway Museum in Shildon, County Durham, where the engine is on show alongside her five remaining A4 class sister engines.

He said: “I’m a bit of a rail enthusiast myself and I’m proud to be called Mallard. I was proud to stand next to Mallard at the museum."

The exhibition at Locomotion, called The Great Goodbye, is the latest event to help mark the 75th anniversary of Mallard becoming the fastest steam locomotive in the world with a speed of 125.88mph on July 3, 1938.

It started on Saturday (February 15) when about 11,000 people visited the museum.

Locomotion then attracted an estimated 15,000 people on Sunday (February 16) to break its record for the number of visitors to the site on one day.

Sarah Towers, marketing communications officer at Locomotion, said: “We’re really pleased that Mr Elcoat joined us.

“So many people feel a personal connection with the locomotives and this is another interesting story linked to the A4s.”

The Great Goodbye runs until Sunday, February 23 with doors open from 9.30am to 5pm and free entry.

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