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Mallard: streamlined for speed

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Most people are probably aware that the NRM’s star loco Mallard has gone on her holidays from York and is now on display at Locomotion in Shildon (see Anthony’s post below). This seemed like a good time to have a dig around the image collections.

LNER A4 Pacific 22 'Mallard' at Waterloo, 22nd June 1948

The 1930s saw a renewed interest in running speed on the railways due to increased competition from the roads. The LNER and LMS (and briefly GWR) began streamlining their engines in the hope of producing faster speeds resulting in the iconic streamlined A4 Pacifics of the LNER and the ‘Princess Coronation’ Pacific engines of the LMS.

LMS Steam locomotive 'Coronation' with train, Shap Summit, Cumbria

In 1935 the LNER launched the Silver Jubilee service between London and Newcastle, boasting in the poster below to be Britain’s first streamline train. The success of the Silver Jubilee led the LNER to introduce further services including a London to Edinburgh route in 1937. The following year saw Mallard become famous.

The Silver Jubilee, Britain's First Streamline Train', LNER poster

The photograph below shows Mallard in July 1938 just before her record breaking run from Kings Cross to Grantham under the guise of a brake test. She was recorded at 126mph, a steam speed record that still stands today.

LNER 'Mallard' 4-6-2 steam locomotive no 4468, 3 July 1938

Below 4 LNER Class A4 locomotives line up at the NRM in 2008 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Mallard’s world steam record.

A4 Locomotive Great Reunion Event, NRM 2008

Written by Lorna Frost

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  1. Steampunk News » Sunday Streamline #68: Blue and Crimson

    […] London, Midland and Scottish Railway Coronation Pacific class steam locomotive No 6220 Coronation climbing toward Shap Summit with a streamlined express. At 1036 feet (316 metres) Shap Summit is the highest point on the London to Carlisle line (National Railway Museum) […]

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