Train spotters were given a rare treat as the Mallard steam locomotive was hauled from its usual home to return to the scene of its record-breaking run 75 years ago.
The engine left York, where it is housed at the National Railway Museum, to travel to Grantham to celebrate its world speed record set on July 3, 1938.
Mallard hit a top speed of 126mph at Stoke Bank, on the East Coast main line just outside Grantham, 75 years ago.
The record still stands, but the engine is still fighting for its place in history with a German machine of the Third Reich.
The German streamliner set the world steam record in 1936 but that was controversially beaten two years later by Mallard – though some claim the German record should still stand.
Henry Cleary, spokesman for Mallard Grantham Partnership, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Mallard back to Grantham for the first time in 50 years for a free event to marvel, even 75 years on, at this wonderful locomotive that broke the record.”
Mallard was hauled to Grantham ahead of the two-day Story of Speed festival in the Lincolnshire town. It will be joined by other historic exhibits with visitors also able to view a Deltic locomotive – Mallard’s high-speed diesel successor.
Also on display will be streamlined racing cars of the 1930s inspired by the Mallard design and examples of Grantham’s engineering heritage.
The festival runs from 10am to 5pm today and tomorrow at Grantham station and across the town.