BRITAIN’S first main line steam locomotive built in half a century is to pull one of its most famous forerunners on a rare trip away from its home.

Tornado has been chosen to pull the record-breaking Mallard when the latter leaves its 35-year-home in York to come to Shildon.

Mallard has been housed at the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York since 1975. It has only left the museum for special occasions.

On June 23, it will leave the NRM bound for Locomotion, its sister museum in Shildon, County Durham.

Museum staff have not yet decided for how long Mallard will be in Shildon but said it was the first time the locomotive had left the NRM for long-term display since it arrived.

Mallard was one of 35 LNER class A4 locomotives built between 1935 and 1938. It was in service for 25 years.

It became one of the most well-known steam locomotives in the world after it broke the speed record for steam traction by reaching 125.88mph on July 3, 1938, on a stretch of the East Coast Main Line.

Mallard has been on display at NRM since it arrived and underwent a restoration project from 1986 to 1988.

Tornado became the first main line steam locomotive to be built in Britain in 50 years following a 19-year long project by Darlington’s A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.

It was the 50th Peppercorn Class A1, which were designed originally by Arthur Peppercorn and built in Darlington and Doncaster at the end of the Forties.

Tornado was first used on the main line in 2008 and last year and has since reached more than 10,000 miles.

It has attracted headlines across the world thanks to publicity from its first trip into London, a race filmed for BBC2 popular television series Top Gear and rescuing commuters last Christmas.

Steve Davies, director of the NRM, said: “Mallard has always been a favourite with our visitors since it first featured on the museum floor in 1975, but now we think it’s time to share one of the jewels in our crown with our sister museum, Locomotion.

“Both museums are very excited by the move – especially as Mallard will be pulled to Locomotion by Tornado.

“It’ll be quite a sight to see two of the most of famous locomotives in the world heading up the East Coast Main Line together.”

Councillor Eunice Huntington, a Durham City Council representative on Locomotion’s board, said: “I am delighted that Locomotion is going to be home to Mallard for the foreseeable future.

Mallard is one of the most famous locomotives in the world and it is a great opportunity for visitors to Locomotion to see it.”

The NRM is putting on a range of festivities during the May half term holidays to give Mallard a temporary farewell.

The space occupied by the mighty blue Mallard will be taken by South Eastern and Chatham Railway steam locomotive, No.737 and Pullman Car Company First Class carriage, Topaz.

Mr Davies added: “We haven’t decided when Mallard will return to York, but in the meantime we’re sure that our visitors will enjoy No.737’s elaborate livery and the luxurious look of Topaz.”

Tornado and Mallard will leave the NRM site on June 23, with full details announced nearer the time. For more information see