The National Railway Museum in York is home to a collection of locomotives and other train equipment that has inspired railfans for over 75 years. The museum contains a number of exhibits ranging from historic steam trains to the latest Eurostar power car. It also has a sister site at Shildon dubbed ‘Locomotion’ and is an excellent place for a family day out or to learn about railway history and technology.
The museum is spread over three gigantic sheds and a large outdoor area. Visitors can take a trip along the Museum’s main line and ride historic locomotives, carriages, and wagons. They can also view a wide range of artefacts and photographs. In addition, the museum has a miniature railway and hosts hands-on family activities during summer and school holidays.
If you are a serious railroad fan, then a visit to this museum is a must. Not only are there many classic train cars on display, but the museum also has a huge number of interactive displays and viewing displays that allow you to see how different parts of a train operate. You can even walk underneath a train to see how it works from the ground up.
As you make your way through the museum, you’ll find that the exhibits are arranged in themes. For instance, there is a display of vintage station signage and maps. There is also a section on the development of passenger railways in Europe.
A particular highlight of the museum is the collection of locomotives that are housed in the Great Hall. Here you can see class 52 ‘Western Fusilier’ (complete with Western Requiem headboard), the record-breaking HST power car and class 55 ‘Deltic’ D9002. Also on display are two class 57s, and one of the earliest British diesel locomotives.
There is also a collection of refurbished railway carriages. You can also see the original Royal Coach, used by Queen Victoria during her visits to the railway museum. The museum also has a special exhibit of locomotives and train carriages that were used during the World Wars.
One of the most interesting exhibits is the ‘Mallard’, which was built in 1847 and is considered the most famous of all Victorian locomotives. The locomotive was damaged in a WWII bombing raid and you can still see the holes from the blasts in its frame. Another interesting locomotive is the ‘Hippopotamus class’, which was built in 1874 and was unstable at high speeds. It is one of only a few of these locomotives that survive to this date.
The museum also has a good selection of old dome cars, which were once the pinnacle of passenger travel in Britain. You can also see a 1934 GWR Diesel Railcar which had a futuristic streamlined Art Deco design. This is one of the few examples of these trains that have been preserved, and it would certainly look at home in a Thomas the Tank Engine story.
Another highlight of the museum is a replica of the Carlton Hill Signal Box. This was the control room for the first metre gauge suburban railway in England. It is a very detailed replica of the original and gives visitors an idea of how the signalling system worked in the past.