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East Lancashire experts steamed up over Mallard paint job
6:00pm Thursday 16th August 2012 in Looking Back
THE world’s fastest steam locomotive has been refurbished for its 75th anniversary thanks to experts from East Lancashire.
The legendary Mallard has received the finishing touches to a fresh coat of its iconic garter blue paintwork in preparation for celebrations at the National Railway Museum in York.
A celebratory programme of events will take place in 2013 to mark 75 years since the mighty blue machine broke the world speed record.
And the famous loco has received a new paint job from Blackburn-based Heritage Painting.
The centrepiece of the celebrations will be a never-seen-before line up of all six of the surviving A4 locomotives in the world.
On July 3, 1938, Mallard was recorded as reaching the speed of 126mph on the East Coast Main Line, breaking the existing German record of 124 mph set in 1936.
With Hitler’s Third Reich then in the ascendancy it was a matter of national pride that a British locomotive captured the world speed crown and No 4468 Mallard, which had been recently built at LNER’s Doncaster Works ,and the first of the class to be fitted with a double chimney, was chosen as the perfect vehicle for the endeavour.
Ian Hewitt from Heritage Painting, said: “When you’re working on these locomotives all day you are so focused on applying paint on to metal evenly you forget the true significance of what you are working on. It’s when you get to the specialist stuff, the finishing touches at the end that you realise that a national treasure is in your hands. It’s great to work on something that means so much to so many people.”
The National Railway Museum marked the 50th anniversary of Mallard’s record in 1988 by returning the locomotive to working order to operate a number of special trains. Steve Davies, director of the National Railway Museum, said: “We wanted to do something really special to mark the 75th anniversary and what could be more spectacular than an international family reunion for the A4s?
“After the success of London 2012 there is huge sense of national pride and we wanted to make sure that Mallard, who broke the world record as the fastest locomotive, is looking her absolute best to meet her sisters from across the pond.”
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