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781 of 1188 nominations



Is this an icon?



The steam locomotive officially classified as LNER A4 Pacific No 4468 is better known to history as the Mallard. It claimed its unassailable place in the railway hall of fame on 3 July 1938, when it set the still unbeaten speed record for a steam train of 126mph. It was travelling on a very gentle downhill incline in Lincolnshire at the time, but was still nonetheless an impressive feat – perhaps one worth bearing in mind the next time your commuter train has slowed to walking pace as a result of a bit of drizzle.

Mallard was the kind of train small boys dreamed of driving, an aerodynamic beauty built in Doncaster. There was once a whole zoo of A4s. They included the Silver Fox, the Sparrowhawk and the Kingfisher, but it was the Mallard that set the pace, and hence it is the Mallard that occupies pride of place in the National Railway Museum at York. Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, not the least of its glories was a distinguished blue livery free of the gaudy logos of today, and adorned now with a pair of commemorative plaques noting its 70-year-old achievement for posterity.

Photo: Courtesy of National Railway Museum/www.nrm.org.uk


Your comments

This famous steam locomotive was built by Sir Nigel Gresley and became known as a record breaker and the fastest steam locomotive in the world. A record it retains to the present day. You can see this engineering masterpiece in its permanent home of the National Railway Museum in York.

Alex Naughton

Mallard is not only an icon in its own right, it is also a proud example of the British steam locomotive building industry that once exported to all parts of the globe.
David Morphew

The Mallard has had an impact on me since childhood. The extraordinary lines and superb engineering to my mind, has not been equalled. The locomotive has got be the most recognisable locomotive type in the world, and is quintessentially English. No list of icons should be without it. If the Spitfire makes it, so should the Mallard.
Gary J Parker

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I nominate the English weather.