Queues down Leeman Road have attested to the popularity of the “Great Gathering” of A4 locos at the National Railway Museum. But one very special visitor will jump to the head of the line later this month – Prince Charles.
The Prince of Wales is patron of the Mallard 75 series of events and is set to visit the museum in private on Monday, July 22.
This comes after the end of the Great Gathering on July 17. But the two locomotives repatriated from the North Americas, Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion Of Canada will still be on display.
Royal fans that want to catch a glimpse of the prince’s visit will be able to see the royal train arrive from the Museum’s North Yard.
Visitors have flocked to York to pay homage to the achievement of the world’s fastest steam locomotive, Mallard in setting a British record that is still unsurpassed 75 years ago.
Mallard has now set a new record for the NRM, which welcomed an unprecedented figure of 13,000 visitors through its doors on Saturday, July 6. In the first five days of the Great Gathering, nearly 45,000 have marvelled at the sight of the six mighty machines in the Great Hall, among them people from Canada, the US and Australia.
“A visit by our patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, is truly the icing on the cake!,” says Anthony Coulls, senior curator of railway vehicles at the museum. We’re so pleased His Royal Highness has decided to come and see our transatlantic travellers in a fortnight’s time.”
The Great Gathering which runs until 17 July is just one event in the Mallard 75 season of events and activities of which HRH, the Prince of Wales is Patron.
An art gallery exhibition on the theme of speed It’s Quicker by Rail runs until October. During the school summer holidays children can build a miniature vehicle, enter it into a race and take part in a family fun trail based on the theme of speed.
On the opening holiday weekend, July 27-28, families can also see live steam scale model demonstrations by The Gauge One Model Railway Association of Mallard’s world-record-breaking run.
There are also plans to reunite the six streamlined steam giants for two follow-up events, an autumn Great Gathering in York and a “Great Goodbye” event in Shildon, County Durham from 15-23 February 2014. Hornby are the headline sponsors of the Mallard 75 series.
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