The prince of Wales has agreed to become the patron of Mallard 75, the national Railway Museum’s season of events marking 75 years since Mallard broke the world steam speed record at Stoke Bank near Grantham in 1938.
The centrepiece of the celebrations will be the Great Gathering, a spectacular fortnight- long international family reunion in July. Mallard and her five surviving sister A4 Pacific Class locomotives will be gathered together around the Great Hall turntable in the National Railway Museum in York – a sight never seen before.
Two of the Doncaster-built locomotives, Dominion of Canada and Dwight D Eisenhower have been temporarily repatriated from North America to take part in the celebrations. The duo are on loan to the National Railway Museum for two years from the National Railroad Museum in Wisconsin, USA and Exporail, the Canadian National Railway Museum in Montreal.
On 3rd July 1938 Mallard became the world’s fastest steam locomotive, marking a pinnacle in British engineering design. The steam legend was recorded as reaching the awe-inspiring speed of 126mph on the East Coast Main Line, breaking the existing German record of 124 mph set in 1936.
No 4468 Mallard built at LNER’s Doncaster Works was chosen for the attempt on the world steam speed crown because it was the first of the class to be fitted with a double chimney. Due to the subsequent evolution of diesel traction and the outbreak of the second world war, Mallard’s record still stands as a marker in global history and to this day inspires a sense of national pride that a British steam locomotive is still recognised as the fastest in the world.