Railwayman, 89, in final goodbye to star locomotives at Shildon Railway Museum

A retired railwayman has travelled more than 300 miles to say a last goodbye to two old locomotives at the National Railway Museum at Shildon

Former Kings Cross shedmaster Peter Townend who has travelled over 300 miles to visit the Mallard sisters before they are rehoused abroad
Former Kings Cross shedmaster Peter Townend who has travelled over 300 miles to visit the Mallard sisters before they are rehoused abroad

Retired railwayman Peter Townend travelled the length of England after tracking down two old friends.

Peter, 89, who was shedmaster at London King’s Cross from 1956 to 1961, visited Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon in County Durham yesterday.

His mission was to say goodbye to A4 Pacific locomotive Mallard’s sisters Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada.

Mallard was reunited with the other five surviving streamlined A4s for the final time at Shildon in February.

Dwight and Dominion have been on loan from the United States and Canada to the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon for the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Mallard’s record speed run for a steam locomotive.

The two locomotives will be taken off display on April 22 and prepared for their journey back to their home museums at the National Railroad Museum, Wisconsin, and the Canadian railway museum Exporail in Montreal.

Peter Townend cared for Mallard, Dwight and Dominion in his job as shedmaster in London.

He began his career in 1941 and retired from the railways in 1984.

Peter, who lives in Torquay, said: “I have seen the A4s as they were built and have ridden on them since the 1940s. At King’s Cross I had 19 of them allocated, including the two from America and Canada.

“I had to keep records of what mileage they had done and what they need in terms of maintenance.

“I wanted to come and see them on display for a final time and it has been great seeing them today.”

Peter has written books about his life on the railways, including the titles Top Shed and, more recently, LNER Pacifics Remembered.

Sarah Towers, marketing and communications officer at Shildon, said: “We have been delighted to be able to welcome Peter to the museum.

“As we have found time and time again, the A4 locomotives mean so much to so many people, and everyone has their own stories and experiences of the A4s to share.

“Peter’s experience of these locomotives is unique.

“The A4s formed part of his daily working life and his perspective helps us understand the locomotives in a new way”.

Dominion and Dwight will be illuminated in a light and sound installation event on April 19 and 20 from 5pm to 8pm.

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