Tag Archives: Mallard

Events – The Great Goodbye – Gresley A4s, NRM Shildon

NRMMallard

Final preparations for the Great Goodbye

In Shildon from 15-23 February 2014

We’re just over a week away from the final event of the Mallard 75 series. Looking back over everything that’s happened, it’s truly been an amazing time with so many people showing their love for the world’s fastest steam loco. For an overview of the past few months see our latest blog, but here at the museum we’ve been busy looking fowards and preparing for the next event. The two repatriated A4s left our museum last week to make a special appearance at Barrow Hill, before heading up to Shildon to meet their sister locos. Meanwhile Mallard and Union of South Africa were waiting in the wings getting ready for their own journey to the Great Goodbye. Yesterday Mallard returned to the East Coast Main Line behind the operational engine Union of South Africa as you can see in this video. Together they made the trip to Shildon, and in doing so made some fantastic photos which can be seen here. With the arrival of the two other operational locos next week, Bittern and Sir Nigel Gresley, we’ll once again have all six surviving Gresley A4s together – most likely for the last ever time. For full details of everything we have planned check the website.

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Get ready for the final gathering

We’ve made our preparations, have you? The next seven days will be your last chance to book your place at the special extra events that guarantee to make the Great Goodbye a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With all the special photography events now sold out your final chance to snap the A4s up close and without the crowds is at our Gala Dinner. The engines will be floodlit with plenty of time to make sure you get the perfect shot. Afterwards you can enjoy a sumptuous dinner in the museum’s Collection Building and say goodbye to the A4s in style. There will also be a unique preview of ‘Steamsong’, a multimedia opera inspired by the story of the A4s including a blend of live performance and archive footage. There are also a few places left to attend the series of Curator Talks, offering a fascinating insight into the celebrations from our team of experts. Don’t worry about planning your journey either as our friends at Northern Rail have arranged for extra services to deal with the increased demand.

Make the Great Goodbye a special farewell

Railway Miscellany – Steam Speed Records

Railway Miscellany

 Steam Speed Records

2007_0516York Rly Museum 18

In 1804, when Richard Trevithick’s pioneering locomotive made its journey along the Penydarren tramroad, its inventor operated the controls by walking along the track in front of it.  In a letter the following day, Trevithick recorded that ‘The train while working went nearly five miles per hour’ no more than a brisk walking pace.  This was perhaps the first ever steam speed record.

When ‘Locomotion’ ran from Shildon to Stockton 21 years later, it could only outdistance riders on horseback because marshes alongside the line impeded the horses.  At full speed the locomotive could just manage 15 mph.

At the Rainhill Trials in 1829, Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ achieved 29 mph.  This was eclipsed in tragic circumstances the following year, when ‘Northumbrian’ reached 36 mph as it conveyed the dying MP William Huskinson to Eccles after he had been run over by ‘Rocket’ at Parkside.

The contestants’ achievements at Rainhill were carefully recorded.  Later it became difficult to establish accurate claims as speeds increased and railways spread throughout the world.

Unlike world speed records on land and in the air, there are no international standards for railways.  For example, the effect of a strong following wind has never been taken into account and on almost every occasion a record breaking train was appreciably assisted by gravity.  This applies equally to the TGV’s present world record of 320.2 mph as to ‘Mallard’s’ 126 mph in 1938.

Speed records were usually obtained by stop-watch measurements from mile or kilometre posts.  In some cases the speed claimed at the time was later adjusted after the information had been examined further.

The performance of the Milwaukee Road’s Hiawatha expresses in the 1930s was accurately measured and the 112 mph record by the streamlined Atlantic N0. 2 in 1925 was adequately proved.

During the 1930s, there was considerable rivalry over maximum speeds between the LNER and the LMS.  In 1937, the LMS claimed a maximum of 114 mph on the press run of their Coronation Scot streamliner train.  This would have beaten ‘Silver Link’s’ record but the figure was not confirmed by a number of experienced recorders on the train.  This left ‘Coronation’ sharing the record of 112 mph with the LNER A4 and Milwaukee Atlantic.

By 1936 the German Pacific No. 05.002 reached 124.5 mph and in 1938, ‘Mallard’ achieved an historic all-time record for steam of 126 mph.Table

All the fully authenticated world records achieved by steam locomotives are the maximum speed attained, rather than averages.  Some top speeds, like ‘Mallards’ were sustained only for a few yards.8205

Although a record of 74 mph was achieved by a GWR locomotive in 1846, it was not until 1931 that the company ran trains at such speeds in everyday service.  The Cheltenham Flyer was the first train in the history of railways to average regularly over 70 mph.  On 14 September 1931, the express sweeps through Tilehurst, Berkshire on its way to London.

Forthcoming Attractions – National Railway Museum The Great Gathering 3 – 17 July

National Railway Museum

The Great Gathering

3 – 17 July

2013_06130029  We’re nearly a week away from the start of our Mallard 75 celebrations as the nation prepares to mark Mallard’s world steam speed record. The support for this event has been absolutely amazing with people sharing images, poems and even songs dedicated to the world’s fastest ever steam loco. Two out of six A4 locos are on display in our Great Hall whilst a further three wait in the wings. Sir Nigel Gresley and Union of South Africa have both arrived at our museum and sit in our North Yard as they are prepared for display around our Turntable. The star of the show, Mallard, is also out of view being prepared for its grand entrance next Wednesday. As well as the chance to see all of Gresley’s surviving A4s make sure you book your place onto one of our curator talks. These will be free but ticketed events where our team of experts delve deeper into aspects of the Mallard 75 story.

MallardTwo “streaks”

LNER built A4 No. 4496 (BR No. 60008) “Dwight D Eisenhower” sits in the National Railway Museum with sister A4 4458 “Mallard”.   Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] © Copyright TheTurfBurner and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.