Located in York, the National Railway Museum (NRM) is a major tourist attraction that features a huge collection of locomotives and railway cars. The Museum has been open since 1975 and inspires railfans and visitors of all ages from around the world. Guests can view and explore more than 100 historic locomotives and a vast collection of other railroad memorabilia spread over several massive train sheds. From the Mallard to the EuroStar and even a Japanese bullet train, the museum is a mecca for rail fans.
The NRM is the largest rail museum in North America and features an impressive variety of locomotives, passenger and freight cars as well as streetcars and interurban electric vehicles. Unlike some museums, most of the vehicles at the NRM are operational. The museum offers both electric and diesel trains and trolleybus rides during the months of April through October.
Visitors can also tour the historic B&O Roundhouse, one of the most famous railroad facilities in history. The Roundhouse houses the Museum’s most extensive collection of early American railroad equipment. In addition to a number of locomotives, the exhibits include dining cars, sleeper cars and the dynamometer car. The dynamometer was an important tool for the railroads because it measured their engines’ performance in various categories such as speed and tractive effort during different weather conditions.
The dining car features an amazing collection of B&O Railroad china and silver that was used to serve meals on the railroad’s premier routes. Other exhibits showcase how railroads provided a luxury travel experience for passengers in their luxury sleeper cars and how the railroads helped deliver mail to customers across the country. The refrigerated car, which was once used to haul frozen McDonalds fries, demonstrates the critical role that railroads play in the transportation of freight.
In addition to the numerous locomotives and other vehicles on display, the museum has several hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. The Railway Innovators gallery is a fun and interactive look at the innovations that have been developed by railroad engineers and scientists over the years.
A full-scale working replica of George Stephenson’s Rocket is also displayed at the museum. The Rocket was commissioned in 1979 for the 150th anniversary of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The NRM has represented the Rocket at a number of events and also displays it at other museums around the world.
The NRM also offers a range of educational programs and workshops for students, teachers and groups. It has an active volunteer program and a large membership base. The museum is a non-profit organization and is supported by grants and donations from individuals, businesses and private foundations. The NRM is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children ages three to 12. Groups of 15 or more are $5 per person. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The museum offers free parking and is wheelchair accessible.