The magnificent sight of the Mallard steam locomotive is expected to attract thousands of people to Grantham in September.
As part of the events celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Mallard’s 126mph speed record - set just outside Grantham at Stoke Bank - the famous steam engine will leave its usual home at the National Railway Museum at York and go on show here in Grantham, close to the railway station.
Director at East Coast Tim Hedley-Jones said: “We’re proud to support this exciting event, close to Grantham station, as a celebration of a landmark moment in the history of the East Coast Main Line.
“The locomotive’s record-breaking run at Stoke Bank was a marvellous achievement which reflected the prestige and importance of this railway to the nation.
“It is entirely appropriate that Mallard will be back in Grantham, for the first time in half a century, as the centrepiece of this wonderful celebration of our railway heritage.”
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council, added: “Over the coming years, Grantham will play a major role in driving economic growth within Lincolnshire. The arrival of the Mallard will bring the national spotlight to the town, giving us a valuable opportunity to get the message out that Grantham is open for business.”
As well as the Mallard, a host of other attractions have been organised which will form a festival here in Grantham. Organisers hope thousands of people will come to the town for the event, on the weekend of September 7 and 8.
There will also be historic exhibits on the “Story of Speed” featuring the chance to view the Mallard’s high speed diesel successor, a Deltic locomotive.
Other attractions will include 1930s streamlined racing cars inspired by the Mallard design, an exhibition on how Britain’s first high-speed railway was created, as well as miniature train rides for children.
A collaboration of organisations have helped organise the event including South Kesteven District Council, Lincolnshire County Council and the event’s major sponsor, Carillion Rail, which is providing the track.
Other organisations such as East Coast, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum are also on board.
The Mallard A4 Class steam locomotive set the record at Stoke Bank on July 3, 1938.
Plans are also being prepared to have the recreated carriage interior of the ‘Old Gentleman’s carriage’ on display – the same carriage used in the film The Railway Children.
South Kesteven District Council’s portfolio holder for Grow the Economy, Coun Frances Cartwright, hopes the event will also serve to show people all that Grantham has to offer.
She said: “The Festival underlines Grantham’s brilliant location on the UK’s fastest north-south rail route and emphasises the wider economic opportunities for businesses looking to relocate to Lincolnshire with its rich engineering heritage.
“We will certainly be making sure that our VIP guests see the sites we have available and understand all the advantages of locating here.”
Mark Davies, Managing Director of Carillion Rail, the Festival’s major sponsor added: “The 1938 record was a great British engineering achievement and can help inspire today’s engineers to excellence. We are pleased to help local partners create this Festival.”