Archive for July 3rd, 2014

July 3, 2014

Duck!

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On this day, July 3rd, in 1938 the Number 4468 Mallard set the speed record for a steam locomotive. Going like the clappers with a full head of steam reaching 125.88 mph (202.58 km/h). The record was achieved on 3 July 1938 on the slight downward grade of Stoke Bank south of Grantham on the East Coast Main Line; the highest speed being recorded at milepost 90¼, between Little Bytham and Essendine.

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The blue streamlined bodywork harks the zenith of the steam age. Like Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird cars and boats the sapphire tone yells speed. The black eyebrow swoosh arched lines over the 4-6-2 wheel arrangement is pure form. These wheel skirts were designed by railway engineer Oliver Bulleid with an obvious aerofoil profile – making an engineering need an aesthetic boon.

For the trainspotters out there: this ‘Streak’ is  London & North Eastern Railway LNER Class A4 Pacific Steam Locomotive built in Doncaster Yorkshire in 1938. One of 35 engines built, designed by Sir Herbert Nigel Greeley its job was to get passengers from London, through York and Newcastle and on up to Edinburgh.