entry picture

Every schoolboy (at least of my generation) knows the answer.  The Gresley A4 Pacific 4468, “Mallard”, of course. 126mph in 1938.

Quite right.  But what is less commonly known is how tenuous is its claim to the title. 

Two years earlier, Germany’s Borsig DRG Series 005, Locomotive 02, attained 124.5mph – clearly second best.

Until you consider, that is, that the Mallard record was attained as a top speed on a downhill stretch south of Grantham, whereas the 02’s speed was the average over a measured distance.  More remarkably still, it achieved this hauling 197 tons of freight.

Enlightened opinion is that measured under similar conditions the German engine would have been the faster.

But there was never a subsequent challenge to the new record.  Perhaps the Third Reich was too busy planning that year’s annexation of Czechoslovakia and the fun of Kristallnacht, or the later invasion of Poland.

But no matter.  Tough shits, Fritz.

You snooze, you lose.




Profile image

John Coopey

Tue 24th Nov 2020 17:13

Join the club, Paul.
And thanks for the Like, Dean.

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Mon 23rd Nov 2020 19:16

If only you knew how long John! 🤣

Profile image

John Coopey

Mon 23rd Nov 2020 19:04

You’re welcome, Paul.
Be careful with the CD, though. Make sure you are alone when you listen to it. The baritone delivery a la Richard Burton might otherwise raise long forgotten stirrings in your missus!

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Mon 23rd Nov 2020 18:31

Talking of trains…
For a while, I feared that Ronnie Biggs.
Had Robbed the mail train…

“God save politicians God save our friends the pigs.
God save Idi Amin, and God save Ronald Biggs”

Then I remembered, Gawd he’s dead!


Talking of Mallard Don't you think that Ronnie sounded and looked a bit like Arthur?

Oh! Hang on; he was Mullard. Tut!
Going off track a bit… (See what I did there?)

Woop! Woop! Your CD and book arrived today. Yea!

You are right; what a magnum opus it is.

I do think you were a bit hard on yourself when you could not fold it because, in your words, you were too thick.

Oh! Hang on, the words, some of the words were thick.

I am quite excited about putting the CD on and sitting down tonight to hear it and read the book…

Which btw, is a well-produced and put together publication.

I don’t think I’ll need any more copies as I’ve had the scanner and copier on since 08:30 this morning, just got to nick some staples out of the other half’s drawers, (NO lewd comments Mr C.)

Thank you so much for thinking of me.

Profile image

John Coopey

Mon 23rd Nov 2020 14:05

MC - When you read Andrew Marr’s “History of Modern Britain” you realise how close we were in 1940 to “doing a deal” ie surrendering. Of an inner war cabinet of 5, Chamberlain and Halifax were in favour, Churchill. Attlee and Greenwood against.

Profile image

M.C. Newberry

Mon 23rd Nov 2020 12:45

An interesting look back at steam loco history. The Brits and Fritz
have always been closely aligned in the brilliance of their inventions,
especially those that "go anywhere"! No wonder der Fuhrer was
not so keen on attacking the UK when there was a possibility of a
deal in his mind. Just sink of ze might of der duo ven vurking as vun!
Ve vud haf bin der rulers, nicht problemz - Brits and Fritz. Achtung
alles in ordnung...(then Adolf wakes up).

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Sun 22nd Nov 2020 20:40

I have had few run-ins with the BTP in more recent years.

Profile image

John Coopey

Sun 22nd Nov 2020 20:18

Ah, yes. Platform tickets. I think they were time-bound, probably 1 Hour. More adventurous was sneaking round the sheds to “cab” a few. Got chased by the railway bobbies a few times.

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Sun 22nd Nov 2020 19:30

Did you have to pay a penny to get on the platform?

We did at Norwich. I told them my mum worked there cleaning the trains during the war for them... still had to pay.

Profile image

John Coopey

Sun 22nd Nov 2020 18:39

Ssshhh, Brian. You’ll have in front of the modulators again.
It’s a thought, Stephen. Perhaps she saw the Dwight D Eisenhower whistle by once and thought “I’m having one of those named after me.
I was indeed an anorak, Paul. Those were the days when you could hop on a train to London as an 11-year old to do some spotting with a couple of mates . Times have changed.

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Sun 22nd Nov 2020 16:46

Crumbs so many anoraks here, who knew.

My Hornby A4 class 4-6-2 "Mallard" 60022 steam loco was in BR lined green.

Profile image

Stephen Gospage

Sun 22nd Nov 2020 16:42

Grantham. Think about it, maybe Margaret Thatcher was a trainspotter and recorded the Mallard's number as it went past. I think we should be told......

Profile image

Brian Maryon

Sun 22nd Nov 2020 16:23

I vould like to mek ze objection to ze anti-Deutsch sentiment in zis poem.

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message