Thousands welcome Mallard to Grantham, Lincolnshire
Thousands of people turned out to welcome the world's fastest ever steam locomotive to the place where it set the record.
Mallard broke the world speed record for steam in 1938 at 126mph (203km/h) near Grantham, in Lincolnshire.
The locomotive arrived at Grantham Station on Wednesday, ahead of a weekend-long Festival of Speed.
A special siding was constructed for the event, while steps up to the locomotive allowed people to board it.'Wonderful engineering heritage'
Organiser Henry Cleary said about 7,000 people had turned out on the first day of the festival - well ahead of the target of 6,000 for the weekend.
JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME
- Mallard ran on the East Coast Mainline from the 1930s to the 1960s and on the day of the record was driven by the late Joe Duddington, of Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
- The A4 Class was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, who was also behind the Flying Scotsman. A total of 35 locomotives were built in Doncaster between 1935 and 1938.
- Mallard was thought to have been chosen for the record-breaking run because it was one of the newest locomotives. However, soon after it nudged the top speed it broke down and had to go back to the workshop to have a bearing replaced.
- Mallard still has a golden plaque on its side that reads: "On July 3 1938 this locomotive attained a world speed record for steam traction of 126 miles per hour."
"It's an incredible result," he said. "People have been responding to the beauty of the engine, as well as its history.
"We hope the festival will really help put Grantham on the map.
"The town has a wonderful engineering heritage. People are tremendously proud of Sir Nigel Gresley, who designed Mallard, and his achievements."
The festival was organised by a partnership of local authorities and heritage groups.
"What's been fun is that so many locomotive drivers pulling into their station have been sounding their horns as a salute to Mallard," added Mr Cleary.
He added although he would love to repeat the festival, getting Mallard to Grantham may be a "bit of a one-off".
Mallard is normally kept at the National Railway Museum in York.
"It's quite rare to have Mallard leave the museum," said Bob Gwynne, a curator.
"It's one of our most popular exhibits but this was a must-do because it's going to Grantham where, of course, it roared through on that famous day in 1938."