The Collection - The Disease

Dear Marjorie - My husband is 46 years old and spends most of his time playing with toy trains. He doesn't pay any attention to me these days.

Dear M - You have my deepest sympathy! Unfortunately, this condition is well known and is usually terminal. Very few people ever fully recover. However, you can turn this situation to your advantage! Trainaholics are so oblivious to their surroundings that you can bring as many men back to the house as you want - your man will never know!

Whatever you do though, don't get rid of your train fanatic - they are notoriously good at paying the bills! Blessings

When I first read this letter in a women's magazine I was shocked, devastated, mortified........

It took me a while to comprehend the truth in these words, but I am determined to 'clean up' my act.

No more trains!

The disease started .......... continue reading my incredibly boring history


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mallard 60022 - A4 Class 4-6-2 Locomotive

60022 Mallard – A4 Gresley Class Locomotive

Pop along to The National Railway Museum in York and you will find one of the centre pieces of the magnificent display is this massive chunk of iron called ‘Mallard’. If you are awake at the time, you might also notice that it’s a different colour and bears a different serial number to this model.

The Class A4 locomotive, including Mallard, was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, built at Doncaster Works by LNER in the 1930’s and released onto the rails in 1938, whence, at just 5 months old, she set about establishing the world rail speed record.

Designed to pull passenger trains at speeds up to 100mph, the Gresley class was the first to make use of a wind tunnel to improve aerodynamics (a 3 year old could have managed that without a wind tunnel!). Anyway, she was shoved onto the East Coast Mainline, pointed downhill and let loose to set a stunning 126mph steam-powered record. Scary stuff for a 70 foot smoking iron ramrod weighing in at over 165 tons! Unfortunately, she stubbed her toe (big end bearing) before she could make it back to the celebrations arranged at Kings Cross and she limped to Peterborough with a blanket over her head. ‘Ivatt Alantic’ was sent to kings Cross instead and photographs of the Mallard handed out to the press, hoping that no-one would notice the difference. Apparently, the ruse worked!

When Mallard roared for the crowds in 1938 she was decorated with a pretty paint called ‘Garter Blue’, the same colour that the Queen prefers to hold up her stockings and those of a few of her knights (she hands them out as pressies to ‘the favoured’ ones). She was also numbered 4468 (Mallard – not the Queen of England). In 1942 she was toned down to ‘Wartime Black’ (both Mallard and Her Majesty, who was a motor mechanic in the army – honestly!). After a couple of minor alterations she was restored (we are talking about the steam engine again now) to Garter Blue in 1948 for the Locomotive Exchange Trials and renumbered ‘22’.


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When British Railways found themselves in possession of Mallard, they slapped a dark blue coat on her and renumbered her 60022. Not quite finally, on the 4th July 1949 she was camouflaged in Brunswick Green and this remained her drab attire until 1963 when she was pulled from active service and handed over to the museum for restoration. Knowing restorers, they wouldn’t sleep until they had scrubbed every last drop of green and black from her and found the perfect shade of Garter blue (a night time raid on Queenie’s knicker drawer availed them of a sample. Police apprehended the man on the roof of Buckingham Palace, but not before he had tied the garter to a stolen palace gate key and thrown it over the fence to a tall man in dark glasses, wearing a black suit and a Parker with a faux furry hood).

You don’t believe me do you? Search you now, the bowels of the BBC news archives for the man on the roof of Buckingham Palace and tell me I’m wrong! least that was the tale I was told in the 'Wheel Tappers & Shunters' pub and they are more honest than bankers!

So now she sits, snug, but unfired, in the halls of York museum, awaiting your awe at her size and smell . (yes, we are still with Mallard).

So, back to business, you lucky Dublo’ers get the crappy green version! with 60022 stuck on a high nose belfry and that should, if you have been paying any attention to anything I’ve said, give you a clue to her date of manufacture.

Hornby Dublo produced a model of Sir Nigel Gresley in the garter blue as one of their very first locomotives in 1938 and the body of one of these has found its way into my collection. Someone has roughly attempted a re-paint job, but that’s not much good without wheels. In any case, you get a free Sir Nigel Gresley body with every Mallard you buy from me!

The tender looks like it has been in a fire! The coal has melted and warped. That might explain the rest of the missing parts too.

Mallard is gorgeous. Virtually spotless and in the ORIGINAL box.....which is not quite so spotless. The box has a bit of 16th century cellotape wrapped around it and has seen better days.

1 comment:

  1. check out my post on my dads model