The first railway museum opened in 1897. It was an idea from J. B. Harper, a collector of steam locomotives for the North Eastern Railway. His collection was exhibited at the centenary of the S. & D.R. in 1925. In 1928, he founded the London and North Eastern Railway museum. E. M. Bywell was the curator. There are more than 2,500 objects to view. Most exhibits are free to the public.
The museum has a variety of interactive exhibits, including driving simulators for D51 steam locomotives and Shinkansen trains. There are also models of full-sized vehicles on display, and a resident expert in the subject will explain the history of the lines that run through the city. Despite being a busy museum, the Teppaku Reading Room is one of the highlights of the visit. It will open in summer 2012. The Japanese language version of this historical museum will be available soon.
The museum also has driving simulators where visitors can drive a D51 steam locomotive, a Shinkansen train, and a Yamanote Line train. Junior high school students can use the D51 simulator, while those in elementary school can use other simulators. The language of the exhibits is based on the Floor Guide, and English class names are mainly based on that of the Floor Guide. At the Toy Train Museum, the exhibits are arranged in a simulated old-time train station and feature LED lighting.
Visitors can also take a drive on a replica of a D51 steam locomotive. At the Tokyo National Museum, you can also drive a Shinkansen train. At Omiya Station, you can experience the ride on the Tokaido Line or Keihin Tohoku Line. The D51 simulator is for junior high school students, while others are suitable for elementary school students. There are full-size models of the locomotives, as well as cast iron signs donated by former railroad companies.
The museum also has an exhibition of historical locomotives. Stephenson’s Rocket, a famous Victorian steam engine, was commissioned for the 150th anniversary of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1979. In addition to its static display, it also has a working model. In 1985, the Great Western Railway added a replica of a working steam locomotive to the museum’s collection. This is a good time to buy a ticket for the new exhibit.
The Stockton and Darlington Railway Gaunless Bridge is one of the most spectacular exhibits in the museum. This large scale model demonstrates the process of constructing a railway. Other exhibits include historic locomotives, trams, and signalling equipment. Some railway museums are still operating these items. This is an example of how history is preserved through trains. The Stockton and Darlington Railroad Gawithout Bridge is one of the largest in the world.