|LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard|
|Mallard. Note "Coronation" train plate.|
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The LNER (London North Eastern Railway) 4468 Mallard (BR 60022), is a type of LNER Class A4 4-6-2 'Pacific' steam locomotive. The locomotive was built in the LNER Doncaster works on the 3rd of March, 1938.
The Mallard is one of the well known Class A4 Pacifics designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, and holds the record for the fastest steam locomotive in the world. Mallard made the record on July 3rd, 1938, and was also designed for fast express passenger trains; hence the streamlining.
The A4 Pacific locomotives were designed and built in order to compete with the automobile. Back in the 1930s, the growing trend of the automobile greatly reduced profits, not to mention ticket sales, for the railways. The LNER fought back when they introduced a new, streamlined locomotive that was capable of making the trip from London to Edinburgh 2 hours faster than the car.
The record, set by Mallard on the 3rd of July, 1938 for fastest steam traction locomotive, was a top speed of 126 mph (202 kph). This record's validity was originally opposed by some, because the Mallard only ran the record speed for a few yards (metres). It was also set going down hill and the speed documentation wasn't very reliable, but was eventually proven by Sir Nigel Gresley himself. The Mallard soon overheated one of its crank pins during the run, but took less than 9 days to get Mallard into service again. The Mallard's main rival for the record is a German locomotive; the DRG Class 05 No. 002. This locomotive made its run of 124.5 mph (200 kph) on a level grade crossing, and has reliable documentation. Hence, the DRG Class 05 No. 002 becoming the second-fastest steam locomotive in the world, and the Mallard being the fastest.
During WW2, Mallard was painted in Black in order to blend with the dark background at night in case of air raids. Her number was also changed to 22.
In 1948, the big four companies were nationalized into British Railways and Mallard was renumbered to 60022 and was based at Grantham Shed. By the time of her retirement from active revenue service on April 25th, 1963, she was working at Kings Cross shed. Instead of being scrapped, Mallard was donated to the National Railway Museum, York, UK where she resides today.
Mallard did, however, run in preservation. She was restored to working order in 1986, and returned to steam in time for the 50th anniversary of the world steam speed record she broke, which happened on July the 3rd, 1988, two years after her restoration was completed. She also celebrated another important event, which was the 150th anniversary of the Travelling Post Office, on May the 9th, 1988. After these events, apart from some main line rail tours, she is back on display at York. She will never return to steam due to a crack in the firebox and being among one of the most popular exhibits in the NRM.
- Mallard is the steam locomotive which achieved the highest officially recorded speed in history.
Whether or not any other steam locomotives could have achieved a higher speed if properly modified is up for debate.
- In 2013-14 Mallard was displayed among it's other sister A4 locomotives during the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Mallard's world-speed record run, held in the National Railway Museum, York, England. The six locomotives gathered were named Dominion of Canada, Bittern, Union of South Africa, Dwight. D. Eisenhower, Sir Nigel Gresley and Mallard.
- Mallard once made a appearance in the popular children's book series, The Railway Series, in the book "Thomas and the Great Railway Show" Along with this The Mallard made an appearance in the 1979 Railway Series annual and documentary based off The Railway Series.