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04/04/2014

News Release - Issued by National Railway Museum

Museum’s Mallard season makes a million!

With the financial year ending earlier this week, the National Railway Museum is now celebrating achieving well over a million visitors at its two sites in 2013/14, largely thanks to the astounding success of the Mallard 75 season.

The final tally for overall visitors including groups and corporate event attendees was 296k at the Shildon site and 950k at York, smashing the previous year’s figures of 203k and 742k in 2012/13.

The three headline events – the ‘Gatherings’ of Mallard with all five surviving sisters drew 365k of these numbers, but the wave of publicity the events created also played a part in an overall increase in visitors. At York there was an uplift of more than 30% during the 75th anniversary year and beyond.

The figures smash the initial forecast of 754k for 2013/14 and also the revised estimate of 916k once the impact of the Mallard 75 season was realised. Back in 2012, the Museum set out its ambition to achieve a million visitors across the two sites for the time guest locomotives Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada were on British shores, and this target has been well and truly met.

Paul Kirkman, Director of the National Railway Museum is thrilled with the result, saying:

“It’s been an amazing year for the National Railway Museum, and our increase in visitors at both our Shildon and York sites is mainly due to the staggering success of the Mallard 75 series of events of which HRH, Prince of Wales is Patron. Our Great Gatherings of all six steam survivors set new visitor records in July and February and now the season is over we hope that people will still flock to see the record breaker at its York home and its transatlantic sisters at Shildon this Easter before they make their return voyage in May.”

The Museum is now reaping the rewards with awards nominations flying in from many sectors, from tourism to transport.

Among the awards already won is the Herbert Crow Memorial Award which was presented to Paul Kirkman by the Lord Mayor of London in recognition of the knowledge-enhancing achievements of Mallard 75 to the transport industry. Especially eagerly awaited is the outcome of the Visit York 2014 Visitor Experience of the Year Award. If successful the event will then be matched against the whole of Yorkshire and the UK in the subsequent White Rose and Visit England Awards.

Those with an appetite to continue the Mallard 75 celebrations into 2014 can wring out every last drop of atmosphere before the borrowed A4s return across the Atlantic.

At Shildon, the Easter holiday is all about making the most of the final phase of the Mallard 75 project, which is now on countdown to the departure from Port of Liverpool docks on 3/4 May. Mini Mallard fans will be kept busy with A4-related craft activities including making American, British and Canadian flags relating to the international scope of the project and cab access on weekends and selected weekdays. On the final weekend (19/20 April) Locomotion are showcasing the transatlantic duo in a whole new light with students from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance creating an audiovisual spectacular along the lines of York’s annual Locos in a Different Light event.

Once the lights are taken down, preparations will begin for the journey to the ports coordinated by Moveright International who has been the museum’s inkind supporter throughout the Mallard 75 season.

Depending on the tides the locomotives will embark on the evening of the 3rd or the morning of the 4th on board one of the ACL fleet of roll-on-roll off vessels, currently scheduled to be Atlantic Cartier.

The transatlantic visitors leave a lasting legacy on UK shores with a new generation of enthusiasts, but also on their own soil with their freshly restored appearance being a must-see in their home states. A hero’s welcome is expected for their part in reawakening the nation’s interest in railway heritage.

Media interest is already rising across the pond, with a front page piece in the Green Bay Press Gazette featuring on usa today.com relating to Dwight’s eagerly awaited return. It is set to form the centrepiece of a brand new exhibition coupled to two command cars used by General Eisenhower during the Second World War.

-ENDS-


For media enquiries contact

Catherine Farrell, Senior Press Officer, National Railway Museum 01904686281/catherine.farrell@nrm.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

Figures rounded to the nearest 1000

On the third of July 1938 Mallard became the world’s fastest steam locomotive, marking a pinnacle in British engineering design. The steam legend was recorded as reaching the awe-inspiring speed of 126mph on the East Coast Main Line, breaking the existing German record of 124 mph set in 1936.

Thanks go to Hornby for their generous sponsorship of Mallard 75

Thanks go to Moveright International, Ceres, PeelPorts, ACL, Life Environmental and CNR for their generous support in the repatriation of Dominion of Canada and Dwight D Eisenhower.

The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts over 700,000 visitors per year.

Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon is a joint partnership between the Science Museum Group and Durham County Council. Locomotion is home to over 60 vehicles from the national collection and attracts over 200,000 visitors per year.

Admission to the National Railway Museum and Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon is free.

For more information visit nrm.org.uk.