Steam legend makes welcome return

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STEAM enthusiasts were out in force yesterday for a welcome return to York’s National Railway Museum.

The world’s fastest locomotive, Mallard, has made a return after a successful tour down the East Coast Mainline. Later this month there will be a second chance to catch up with its surviving sisters at an Autumn Great Gathering, at the museum.

Dave Leyshon, a mechanical engineer at the National Railway Museum, on the  connecting rods waiting to be attached to the wheels of Mallard

Dave Leyshon, a mechanical engineer at the National Railway Museum, on the connecting rods waiting to be attached to the wheels of Mallard

The steam legend has starred in a series of weekend events in neighbouring regions to its permanent home in York. The autumn spectacular is the final time that Mallard will be meeting its five surviving sisters in the museum’s Great Hall. Four out of the six locomotives can be seen by visitors, with Mallard moving into its display position around the turntable at the beginning of next week.

Rail fans yesterday saw Mallard being prepared for its moment in the spotlight, with the connecting rods, used to connect the wheels, being refitted after its journey by the museum’s experienced workshop team. Mallard arrived at York station on Tuesday but was not be shunted into the museum until yesterday.

The museum’s associate curator of railway vehicles, Bob Gwynne, said: “Bringing the collection to the widest possible audience is what it’s all about, and during Mallard’s big anniversary year we gave over 20,000 people in neighbouring regions the chance to see the world’s fastest steam locomotive first hand. They turned out in force to get up close to our big blue celebrity during its ‘tour’ down the East Coast Mainline.”

More than 100,000 visitors flocked to the National Railway Museum to see Mallard during July’s Great Gathering which marked the 75th anniversary of the locomotive’s world record breaking run of 126mph near Grantham on July 3, 1938 – a feat that remains unbeaten to this day.

The Autumn Great Gathering, which is the next major event in the museum’s Mallard 75 season of events, will be from October 26 to November 8.