The National Railway Museum is located incredibly close to York’s railway station, located in the former buildings that housed the locomotives when they were in use. The free attraction is open throughout most of the year, with the museum taking its main revenue through its onsite car park and visitor donations.
The museum tells the story of rail transport in Britain and its impact on society, alongside a York-based focus, showing the more localised impact the railway played in Yorkshire. There is plenty to see and do and there are a number of events and exhibitions scheduled throughout the year providing something new for visitors, even for people who may want to keep coming back!
The so-called ‘great hall is full to the brim with old locomotives, some of which you can even sit inside. It is a fun place for kids to explore and discover history in a much more ‘hands-on’ way. Every day the staff at the museum demonstrate how the main turntable works, the incredible piece of original engineering that allowed the easy transfer of travel, without time-consuming shunting on multiple lines.
The exhibits aren’t just on the surface level though, as there is a short tunnel underneath one of the trains, and York’s National Railway Museum is also home to a Mallard engine, renowned as being the fastest steam train in the world.
Escape the stresses of the modern age and join National Railway Museum for a journey through time. Discover how high-speed rail travel began and journey back in time to experience the working life of a station. There is over 200 years of history on display, showing in incredible detail the huge way in which railways shaped the world.
York is also home to the world’s finest collection of royal carriages, showing the ultimate splendour of how the British Royal family have travelled via rail. There is even a fascinating ambulance train, which provided a mobile treatment facility in an era before better widespread healthcare in this country.
There are seasonal exhibitions that transport visitors somewhere completely new. There is also a miniature railway for a much smaller taste of train travel, and there are also two on-site cafes that provided much-needed refreshments for a full day out. There is an under 5’s play area and train ride experience giving more of an insight into travel with the Mallard.
There are other sheds near the main museum offering even more exhibitions and a fully active workshop. There is even a viewing area to stand and watch trains leaving or arriving at York station due to its proximity to the site.
An old railway carriage on site has been converted to a space to enjoy afternoon tea. There are also plenty of picnic tables both inside and out, providing a number of places to enjoy a spot of lunch before exploring more railway paraphernalia.