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Thorite helps Mallard whistle up a celebration

Thorite helps Mallard whistle up a celebration

Monday 1st July 2013

When A4 class locomotive Mallard raced down Stoke Bank at 126mph on the 3rd of July 1938, its whistle wide open and its boiler roaring, few people would have imagined the world steam speed record it set would last until the present day. Now, as part of a spectacular celebration at York's National Railway Museum called Mallard 75, a compressor from Thorite will enable the engine's iconic whistle to wail once more.

The 75th Anniversary, of which HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron, officially begins on July 3rd when the world's press and invited guests will gather around the National Railway Museum's Great Hall Turntable. Although Mallard will not be in steam a new Hydrovane HV01 compressor, on special loan from Thorite, will be lurking out of sight in a service pit below the locomotive.

This compressor will not only be used to power Mallard's whistle, but will also drive the motor to ring the bell of sister A4 locomotive Dominion of Canada, the pair forming part of a unique "Great Gathering" of A4s which also includes Sir Nigel Gresley, Union of South Africa, Bittern and Dwight D Eisenhower.

Simon Holroyd, the National Railway Museum's Engineering Coordinator, has been a customer of Thorite for over 20 years and said: "The original concept was to allow members of the public to blow Mallard's whistle when they looked around the historic locomotive, but within the confines of the Great Hall the noise is considerable, so we shall limit the operation to the opening event only. Thorite has come up trumps again for us – no suitable compressor was available on their current hire fleet, but they were pleased to allow us to have a brand new compressor for the duration of the celebrations."

Thorite is the UK's biggest distributor of pneumatic products and process systems, with a huge choice of air compressors. Full details are available from the Thorite website at or from any of the company's 10 regional branches in Blackburn, Bolton, Bradford, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Leeds, Rochdale, Sheffield, North Shields and Brierley Hill in the West Midlands.

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