One of the most iconic trains to ever grace the UK's railway network is this month celebrating a very special 75th anniversary.
The Mallard is a British institution. After being built at a factory in Doncaster the locomotive went on to make history by becoming the fastest steam engine ever. In 1938, Mallard was clocked at travelling at 126mph near Grantham, in Lincolnshire, placing its name in the record books and staying there to this very day. Now, preparations are being put in place to celebrate that amazing achievement.
Staff at the National Railway Museum in York have managed to bring together the six surviving trains for a "major celebration" and one that has been a huge undertaking. Organisers explained that it is the first time that the Dwight D Eisenhower, Mallard, Bittern, Union of South Africa, Dominion of Canada and Sir Nigel Gresley have been in the same vicinity.
Anthony Coulls, the museum's senior curator of rail vehicle collections, said: "What we're planning is a major celebration – people will be coming from four corners of the earth. The gathering of the six locomotives is the jewel in the crown, really."
Both the Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada have been shipped over specially from North America. Trainspotters were given a real treat as Bittern travelled from London King's Cross to York on a special dining service. After stopping off at Potter's Bar in Hertfordshire the engine was able to hit speeds of 90mph as it roared up to Yorkshire.
Bittern is also scheduled to undertake two more long-distance services during July, with trips from Bristol and Newcastle upon Tyne and another London to York route already planned for the rest of the month.
Sadly, the days of Mallard racing upon and down the East Coast Main Line are long gone as experts say that it would take a lot of renovation for the engine to be fully operational once again.
However, for the month of July members of the public can visit the engine in all its glory at the National Railway Museum and celebrate one of the true greats of the steam age.