The Woodcock, The Mallard and the 34th President

Many years ago I had an occasion to visit the railway station in Sheffield. By chance my visit coincided with the appearance of the ‘Mallard’. This was a steam engine of legend; a steam engine of my childhood books. An A4 class Pacific that reflected the Décor age in design and its status as the pinnacle of industrial Britain. An era when we were faster, higher and quicker than any nation on earth. As I stood on the platform the sheer power of this engine rose through my feet resonating every fibre in my body. The machinery pulsed with energy almost threatening detonation. I was being showered in sparks and soot. I had never seen or felt anything like it.

I was in York this weekend to attend a wedding. Just the other side of the railway station to our hotel was the National Railway Museum … and I’d heard the Mallard was present. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a keen railway anorak but the thought of seeing it again was pulling me to pay a visit. I did so today.

Not one but three of the six remaining A4 class Pacific’s together. The Mallard, The Dominion of Canada (originally called the Woodcock) and the Dweight D. Eisenhower.

Ok not wildlife I grant you. Forgive me. It’s just I was brought up with trains and these apices of machinery are guaranteed to purge the regular heartbeat from this son of a simple shunter.

2013 12 22 A4 Class Steam Engines York Rail Museum Yorks !cid_D8A3326D-4717-498B-8B70-3E97EF8BD559

2 Responses to “The Woodcock, The Mallard and the 34th President”

  1. 1 Malcolm
    Dec 23, 2013 at 9:47 am

    One of the things I enjoy about your blog is its unpredictability. You never know what each new post is going to bring. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. As you say, not wildlife, but it was heartfelt, beautifully written and evocative. Have a good Christmas, and best wishes for the coming year.

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Dec 2013


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