Thursday, 7 January 2010

'126?' Mallard's record run

The men who set the record (still unbroken)  Fireman Bray; Driver Duddington (see below*) Inspector S. Jenkins.

Mallard waits for the 'right away' at Barkston, July 3rd 1938

The National Railway Museum has been having fun, and this morning posted via Twitter this pic and report on building a Mallard snowloco. What larks!

So I thought a short blog on Gresley's Mallard, just to brighten the wintry weather for all us rail enthusiasts.

*This short audio/video clip has the words of the driver, Joe Duddington, recorded in 1945,  who was at the helm on that record breaking run, 126 mph, 'the fastest speed a steam locomotive had ever been driven in the world'.

For the sharp-eyed, there is a sign by the side of the track where that record run took place; I always look out for it and give a silent cheer!

In the summer of 1998, organised by The Gresley Society and with the help of railway companies and private donors, a sign was placed close to the East Coast Main Line at milepost 90¼ , on the Up side (the east side) of the line, to mark the place where Mallard achieved the record speed of 126mph.

Picture: Brian Dow

The map shows where the record was achieved and where the commemoration sign is, between Little Bytham and Essendine. The nearest town (not on the line) is Stamford

Further details courtesy of this page:

which was created to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the record run.

Cecil J. Allen, in 'The Gresley Pacifics of the L.N.E.R.', gave this account of the run:

"But...the sporting instincts of Sir Nigel had been aroused by the 114 m.p.h. attained by the L.M.S.R. Pacific Coronation in the previous year...and he was determined, under the cloak of these [brake] tests, to give the rivals a speed challenge which they would have little chance of beating. In Mallard he found a perfect instrument for his purpose, and in Driver Duddington, of Doncaster, a fearless collaborator. The test train consisted of three of the "Coronation" twin sets, plus the dynamometer car, seven vehicles in all weighing 240 tons."

The train was started a little north of Grantham, and passed the station at a modest 24 m.p.h., with the regulator wide open, and cut-off 40 per cent. In 2¼ miles at 1 in 200 up, the train accelerated to 59¾ m.p.h.; on 1½ miles further with cut-off eased to 30 per cent, the speed increased to 69 m.p.h.; and up the final 1½ miles through the tunnel to Stoke box, still at 1 in 200, 74½ m.p.h. had been reached as the summit box was passed. Due to the expert work with the shovel of Fireman Bray, the boiler continued to supply all the steam needed for an unchanged 40 per cent. as the engine swept southwards.

From milepost 100, speeds at the end of each successive mile were 87½, 96½, 104, 107, 111½, 116, 119 m.p.h. (milepost 93), and then, at the ensuing half-miles, 120¾, 122½, 123, 124¼ and finally 125 m.p.h. at milepost 90¼, while the dynamometer record for a very short distance revealed the tremendous maximum of 126 m.p.h., the figure usually quoted, and at which the 6 ft. 8 in. driving wheels were doing more than 500 revolutions a minute. All this was at 40 per cent. cut-off with full regulator, increased between mileposts 94¼ and 93 to 45 per cent. Five miles (posts 94 to 89) were reeled off at an average of 120.4 m.p.h., and speed actually exceeded 120 m.p.h. for three miles continuously (posts 92¾ to 89¾). So the record was secure; Mallard had travelled faster, not only than the L.M.S.R. Coronation, but also than all other steam locomotives in the world whose high speed performances, properly authenticated by a sequence of passing times, are on record.


Movies (can't embed)

Short thrilling clip of Mallard running in 1986:

That run:

Telly prog on Mallard Best Of British:


An A4, Waverley, Edinburgh

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