“This is an incredible opportunity for the people of Derbyshire to get up close to this famous locomotive in the unique and totally appropriate setting of Britain’s only surviving operational Roundhouse,” said Mervyn Allcock.
The general manager of Barrow Hill Roundhouse was speaking about this week’s arrival in the county of a globally-renowned legend.
It’s the 75th anniversary year of Mallard setting the world steam record of 126mph and the grand old lady will take pride of place at Barrow Hill Live!, an exhibition of full size steam and diesel locomotives and their model counterparts.
Mervyn has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring Mallard’s safe transportation fromherhome at the National Railway Museum in York to venues around the north, where she has been pulling in thousands of fans.
He said: “Being tasked with the responsibility of moving probably the world’s most famous steam locomotive is a huge honour but brings a lot of pressure with it too.
“The highs so far have been the 16,000 people who came to Grantham to view the locomotive and seeing Mallard coming out of the Erecting Shop at Doncaster where she was built - it really did bring a lump to the throat.
“The public reaction to seeing Mallard has been amazing. Small children, grown adults - they all want to see her, photograph her and sit in the cab.”
“The modern railway operates at 100mph so moving this irreplaceable piece of history at a maximum speed of 45mph up and down the East Coast main line has been a very complicated planning process.”
Now in its fourth year, Barrow Hill Live, will celebrate 160 years of the Doncaster Works by bringing together steam and diesel locomotives which have links with the world famous plant.
Other steam locomotives on display will include Peckett 2000 (in steam), Vulcan (in steam), Black 5 45110, Director Butler Henderson, J17 and Austerity 68006.
Barrow Hill Live! runs at the Roundhouse on September 28 and 29, from 10am to 5pm. For admission charges, contact www.theticketfactory.com or 0844 338 8000.