As the countdown continues to the 75th anniversary celebrations of Mallard breaking the world steam speed record the National Railway Museum is trying to find the drivers and other crew that worked on the world’s fastest locomotive.
The Museum plans a Drivers Day in October. Several members of the crews that worked on the footplates of Mallard and her sister locos are already involved. The NRM wants to talk to drivers and crew who worked the loco under British Railways.
Says Associate Curator Bob Gwynne, ‘We are actively searching for drivers and other crew of A4 locomotives from the BR era which started in 1948. As many of the people we are speaking to are well beyond retirement age now, we wanted to ensure we could capture their experiences of working as scheduled crew on the East Coast Mainline during the BR era, particularly the sixties, for our national collection of railway history.
‘We are also interested in hearing from the crew that worked on the locomotive in 1988, when we celebrated 50 years since Mallard raced into the record books.’
Preparations for the 3rd July anniversary of Mallard becoming the fastest steam locomotive of all time are falling into place with Dominion of Canada getting the final finishing touches of a cosmetic restoration. Along with fellow traveller, Dwight D Eisenhower, the repatriated locomotive arrived in Britain last October from the United States.
Says former driver and fireman Bernard Bell (89) from York, ‘I started on the railways as a 16 year old in 1939. I’ve worked on diesel but there’s nothing like steam and the Gresley locos were the best of them all. As many of us aren’t as young as we used to be, it makes sense to get in touch with the railway museum as I did.’
On 3rd July 2013, Mallard and its five surviving sister A4 locomotives will fulfil the dreams of rail fans across the globe, with the ‘Great Gathering’ – a spectacular international family reunion. The six streamlined steam giants will be gathered together around the Great Hall turntable in the National Railway Museum in York for two weeks – a sight never seen before.
Crew wanting to get in touch with the museum should call 08448 153139 or email [email protected] The ‘Great Gathering’ of Mallard and its sisters takes place 3 July – 17 July at the National Railway Museum in York.