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National Railway Museum, York

A Blog post by Mike Wilson - Visit my Blog Page

Created: Thu, Aug 15th, 2013 - viewed 4230 times

This is Mallard, a 'streak,' designed by Sir Nigel Gresley. It's an A4 Pacific, with a wheel arrangement of 4-6-2. This means there is a pony truck with four wheels to guide the loco round bends, then six huge driving wheels, and a trailing bogie with two wheels to help distribute the weight on the track. When I was a lad, many, many moons ago, the sight of one of these locomotives sent us trainspotters into rapture. Seeing one on a day-trip to York (on Everingham's buses) was brilliant, seeing another half an hour later was even better. There were 34 streaks once; now only six remain. Today, at the National Railway Museum, I saw four of them, all at once! Brilliant!

When I was a lad, locos like these had long disappeared. But this is a replica of the Rocket, the first really successful steam loco, built by George Stephenson for the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Sadly, I suspect, many children of school age will never have seen a steam loco at work. What a shame!

This is a part of the elaborate pipework on the exterior of Evening Star, No. 92220.

These are some of the levers and rods which powered Mallard to her record-breaking run of 126 mph, two years after I was born, in July 1938. She looks spectacular in the Museum, but she'd look even better in steam, racing up the East Coast mainline from MLondon to Edinburgh on the Flying Scotsman or the Elizabethan.

Here are four streaks in one photo. I never ever thought I'd see this. And recently there was six of them at York's museum. But four, all at once. A schoolboy's dream fulfilled. From left to right they are Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mallard, Dominion of Canada and Bittern. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada have been brought by ship from Canadian and US museums for this special reunion. It will probably never happen again. There are two other A4s working on preserved railways in England.

Here in the workshop is Flying Scotsman, perhaps equally as famous as Mallard. She has cost millions of pounds to get her into working condition and still needs more.

This photo took me ages to get. People were milling around all the time and it needed patience and then a swift shutter finger to capture the three streaks without anyone in the way. I'm delighted with this shot.