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Mallard steam train celebrates 75th anniversary

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  • by ANGUS HOWARTH
 

A WORLD record-breaking locomotive yesterday celebrated its 75th anniversary in style.

On 3 July, 1938, the Mallard steam locomotive reached speeds of 126mph along the East Coast Main Line near Grantham and broke the world steam record – one that still stands today.

To celebrate, the LNER Class 4 steam engine was reunited with its five sister locomotives, including the Dominion of Canada and the Dwight D Eisenhower, for a “Great Gathering” at the National Railway Museum in York. It is the first time all six steam locomotives have been in the same venue.

Mallard, the Doncaster-built steam legend, was regularly driven by Ron Birch. He recalled how he would get 165 tonnes of steam train cantering along at three-figure speeds.

He said: “These were the racehorses – they had very light feet.

“You only had to open them and they were off – but the brakes weren’t very good.

Mr Birch, now 80, regularly drove various A4-class locos, including the Mallard, on high-speed, long distance routes. “Each had its own personality,” he added.

 

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