With the withdrawal of Sir Nigel Gresley for overhaul,there were no A4’s operating in the world. A very sad state of affairs, indeed.
Steam buffs, and in fact almost everyone know of the legendary Mallard, credited with the fastest steam train run in history, clocking 126 mph with a Dynanometer care in tow to verify the speed.
While there are many other Pacifics around the world that have claimed to run super fast, only Mallard has iron clad verification!
At the moment there are several A4s in existence. Bittern and Sir Nigel Gresley are currently undergoing overhaul Dominion of Canada and Dwight D Eisenhower are on static display in North America. Mallard resides at the National Rail Museum in York and hasn’t run since the 1980s.
Union Of South Africa Back In Service
That leaves the Union of South Africa which returned to service last week. Once again luck British Railfans can ride behind one of this iconic class of locomotive.
One wonders whether permission will be given for one of these sleek streamlined beasts to stretch their legs. After all Tornado, the newly built A1, just clocked 100 mph on the main line, and there are moves afoot to increase the speed limit for steam locos to avoid congestion.
Leave a comment if you have ridden behind, or even in, an A4 in recent years. I would love to know how they accelerate and ride.
6009 Union Of South Africa has until 2019 to run trips as her boiler certificate expires and there are plans to stop running her at that time.
Until then, you can ride behind one of these legendary machines on main line duties!
Here is a video of this great engine in action. It has a weird whistle!