75th anniversary celebrations for Mallard: the fastest steam locomotive ever!

The Mallard as she looks today
The Mallard as she looks today Photo: Dudva/Wikimedia

Seventy-five years ago today, a new world record was set deep in the English countryside.

The steam locomotive Mallard reached 126 mph - faster than any other engine before her, or since.

A map of where the Mallard's record was set
A map of where the Mallard's record was set

Mallard’s record was achieved on a bright Sunday morning in 1938 in the fields of Lincolnshire.

A section of the East Coast Main Line was chosen, running south between Grantham and Peterborough.

The footplate crew
The footplate crew Credit: LNER

Stoking the boiler was fireman Tommy Bray, driving was 62 year-old Joe Duddington with inspector Sid Jenkins also on the footplate.

The Mallard today
The Mallard today Credit: ITV

As she thundered between the villages of Little Bytham and Essendine the loco was into treble figures until finally, for just a few seconds, at milepost 90¼ on Stoke Bank, Mallard reached 125.88 miles an hour – call it 126 - the fastest ever speed achieved by a steam locomotive.

The Mallard reunited with her five sister trains
The Mallard reunited with her five sister trains Credit: ITV

To mark the 75th anniversary of the record all six of the surviving Class A4 engines have been brought together for two weeks at the National Railway Museum in York – Mallard, Bittern, Dominion of Canada, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Union of South Africa and Sir Nigel Gresley.