Royal backing for celebrations to mark Doncaster-built Mallard’s speed record

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

PRINCE Charles has given his support to events marking the 75th anniversary of the Doncaster-built Mallard setting the world speed record for a steam locomotive.

The National Railway Museum have announced that the prince will be Patron of Mallard 75, the museum’s season of events marking the record setting run by the engine in 1938, the same year as it was built at the plantworks in Hexthorpe.

The centrepiece of the celebrations will be the Great Gathering - a spectacular fortnight-long international family reunion in July which will fulfil the dreams of rail fans across the globe. 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 anniversary celebrations of Mallard securing the world speed crown for all time.

They 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.

Anthony Coulls, senior curator of railway vehicles at the museum said: “We’re so excited about showcasing all six survivors of the A4 class with the Great Gathering and Royal Patronage for our year of Mallard-themed events is the icing on the cake. Celebrating Mallard’s world record-breaking run is definitely a reason to get excited in July and we hope people will join us to mark this milestone in railway history.”

On the third of 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.

The Mallard built at LNER’s Doncaster Works was chosen for the latest 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.