A visit to a steam train museum is a fantastic experience for any family. They can spend hours exploring the trains and finding out about the history of these machines.
The National Railway Museum in York is home to the largest collection of railway locomotives and memorabilia in the world, spread across three huge railway sheds. There are a number of special exhibits, including the world’s fastest steam locomotive, the Mallard. There’s also a 1960s Shinkansen bullet train, and a fascinating collection of ambulance trains from the First World War.
It’s a real alladin’s cave for railway buffs with hundreds of train cars and locomotives, from early railways to the modern day. And best of all, the BNRM is a live museum with working demonstrations on the tracks so you can see how these massive machines work.
During my last visit to the museum, I was lucky enough to chat with Richard Colby, a conductor who lives and breathes railways every day. A University of Wisconsin-Platteville student, he calls a historic caboose at the museum home six days a week. He’s so enthralled with his job that he’ll even let kids climb in the cab and ring the bell.
Hesston Steam Museum is open Saturday through Monday at 1201 E. 1000 North, Laporte, and is open for the 63rd season.
This museum is a place that brings to life the era when Ontario’s first manufacturing technologies came to fruition. This was an era when steam powered equipment made life easier and better for everyone, from farmers to shop owners, and for all of us.
A visit to the museum’s ‘Steam Yard’ can include rides on a full-sized Narrow Gauge locomotive, and on the smaller vintage Kiddieland train that once provided entertainment as part of small amusement parks in the 1920s. It’s all done in a delightful and unexpected setting.
The outdoor area has a huge collection of antique logging engines and other machinery, as well as a replica 1900s-era depot, a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, and more. And for families with young children, a miniature railway is always a hit.
You’ll find a wealth of information about the history of railways in the Museum’s five stations, each focusing on different aspects of the industry. You can take a ride on the train simulators or step inside a train coach and learn about the mechanics of the machines.
There’s also an exciting ‘Future Station’, where you can try out different technologies in an interactive simulator and explore the ways in which we might interact with technology in the future. It’s a great way to get a feel for what it might be like to travel in the future, without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
The National Railway Museum is a wonderful day out for people of all ages, from kids to the young at heart. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a train buff or a train neophyte.