National Railway Museum, York

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 Reviews

Leeman Road,Yor,YO26 4XJ 01904 621261 Fax:01904 611112

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  • 1930's Duchess of Hamilton
    1930's Duchess of Hamilton
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  • The Evening Star
    The Evening Star
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    Stirling
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  • Drever's Profile Photo

    The World's Largest Railway Museum

    by Drever Written Mar 6, 2014

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    East coast express train from before WW I
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    The National Railway Museum in York tells the story of rail transport in Britain and its impact on society. Railways drove the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Where previously goods had to move by horse and cart, canal barge or ship the railways meant factories were no longer tied to the watermills or the coal-seams that provided power. Cheap travel attracted passengers so people become more mobile and a holiday industry sprang up.

    Prince Philip opened the museum in 1975. One hundred and fifty years after the Stockton & Darlington Railway opened for business. To mark the occasion the museum had acquired several working exhibits from the period. The new museum received over a million visitors in its first year.

    On the 20 acres (8.1 ha) site are many thousands of items and records of social, technical, artistic and historical interest, displayed mostly in three large halls next to York railway station. It is the largest museum of its type in Britain and has more visitors than any other British museum outside London.

    It displays a collection of over 100 locomotives and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock, virtually all of which either ran on the railways of Great Britain or emerged from British workshops. The earliest are wagonway vehicles from about 1815. Many of these hauled coal from the mines.

    A replica of Stephenson’s Rocket shows the beginning of regular freight and passenger services. It won a contest as to the best locomotive and a £500 prize. The rocket with advanced engineering for the time won easily and went on to power the Liverpool & Manchester railway.

    The Mallard marks a pinnacle of the steam era. It was a development of the famous Flying Scotsman which did such sterling service between London and Edinburgh and became the first to hit a speed of 100mph. It is among the exhibits intended to run occasionally on the National Rail network. Mallard is an eye-catching beauty with curves to tempt more people to travel by train. One day in 1938 Mallard went for a hell-for-leather dash down a long decline with a special carriage logging the speed. It logged a top speed of 126mph and broke the world steam train record.

    Just four years after Britain had built the last steam locomotive Japan built its first SHINKANSEN - Bullet Train. These whisked passengers along at speeds of 130mph using electric power and signals in the cab to perform safely. They had a punctuality record that measured in seconds not minutes. The Japanese Railway authorities agreed to ship a Series O train in an epic journey to York. It is the only Bullet Train vehicle outside Japan.

    The permanent display includes "Palaces on Wheels", a collection of Royal Train saloons from Queen Victoria's early trains through to those used by Queen Elizabeth II up to the 1970s. On 13th June 1842 Queen Victoria travelled by train for the first time. She declared herself quite charmed and the royal seal of approval was firmly set on rail travel. Since then travelling by train has played an important part in the travelling arrangements of all our monarchs. In this exhibition some of the most sumptuous carriages ever built in Britain are on display.

    Other key exhibits normally seen at York include the 1846 Furness Railway No. 3 "Coppernob" locomotive, and the more modern express passenger steam locomotives London and North-Eastern Railway Class A3 No. 4472. A popular exhibit is the ex-Southern Railway Merchant Navy Class No. 35029 sectioned to show the workings of a steam locomotive.

    The Chinese Class KF7 4-8-4 locomotive donated in 1981 was built in Britain. It is huge and much too large to have served in Britain but China with its higher bridges and larger tunnels allowed it to run there.
    Now again is the time of the train. Numbers travelling by train in Britain are increasing each year and now stands at its previous high. Within Britain the train is competing successfully against the plane.

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  • Landotravel's Profile Photo

    World's largest? at least the nicest!

    by Landotravel Written Jun 9, 2013
    1930's Duchess of Hamilton
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    York's NRM (National Railway Museum) shows itself as the world's largest. It may be so, but what I can affirm is it's perhaps the nicest and most complete I've seen till now about railway matters. As most of exhibitions here, it's very well displayed, collection is superb and arrangements and information are very good. I fyou are crazy about trains, here youll get mad!

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    NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM

    by balhannah Updated Jan 31, 2012

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    The National Railway Museum we drove to, as it is located away from the main attraction's of York.
    Coming from York, we saw a notice pointing to the Left for the Car park. The park was pretty full of Car's!
    Crossing the road, we headed to the Museum and to join a queue to visit the Museum.
    They have a collection of over 100 locomotives and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock, plus we learnt about rail from the early 19th century to the present day.
    We saw old steam Train's and the very modern fast train of today. The exhibition is excellent and a credit to all the people who work on restoring the Train's.

    OPEN... 10.00 - 6PM daily

    Incredible for this excellent museum is FREE ENTRY

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    Suprisingly not just for trainspotters!

    by zadunajska8 Written Nov 5, 2011

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    The Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter at NRM
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    We went here expecting to just use up a spare hour or so as it is free admission but ended up staying until closing time! You don't need to be a trainspotter to enjoy this place as there is so much of interest to anyone with even a passing interest in our heritage and industrial history. Was also quite interesting to see a few items from Harry Potter films here!

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    National Railway Museum

    by Airpunk Written Sep 2, 2010

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    The Mallard - The NRS' best-known engine
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    York’s National Railway Museum is the world’s largest museum of its class and the UK’s most popular museum outside of London. The museum was founded in 1975 to join a collection of engines which was loosely displayed all over the city and even in some more distant places. For that purpose, a former British Railway locomotive depot, including a full working turntable, was purchased. Today it houses a collection of over 100 engines and hundreds of other exhibits like passenger cars.
    The most famous exhibits are a replica of Stephensons’s Rocket and the Mallard, which has the distinction of being the fastest steam engine ever with a speed of 126 mph. One part is dedicated to all the royal trains from Queen Victoria’s one on. If you have kids, they will surely enjoy it. Not only because all the steam engines, but also because of all the events they have for kids like a playground, drawing and tinkering as well as Thomas & Friends stuff. Entertainment for adults (cursed may be those who think of something wrong now…) is also given in form of turntable demonstrations, engine runs or by seeing people in the workshop restoring the “Flying Scotsman”. If you are a railway enthusiast this is paradise, if not, you will enjoy it too. It is easy to spend a couple of hours in this museum, try to plan at least two. If you still aren’t sure, if this is a right place to go, I would like to add that an Europan Museum of the year award (2001) is not won for nothing. Entry is free. You only have to pay, if you want an audioguide or if you want to use the library for private research.

    If you are arriving on train use the rear exit of the train station. The museum is close to the train station, but if you are at the main entrance, you have to take a 10 minute walk around a park and under bridges to reach the museum.

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    Trains Trains and more Trains

    by Arizona_Girl Written Jul 21, 2010

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    If you have an interest in the history of trains- you can't miss this place. Also its FREE, which is nice especially if you are paying a high exchange rate for everything. They also had one of the coolest collection of stuff in the gift shop of anywhere I went. I learned more about trains than I will ever need to repeat in my life. Also its indoors and there is AC.

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    The National Railway Museum

    by Balam Written Jul 7, 2010

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    Bullet Train
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    The National Railway Museum is a great Place to visit and is really a day out in itself. It tells the Story of the Railway since it's begining in the 19th century and displays Trains such as the The Rocket, Flying Scotsman and a Japanese Bullet Train. There is a fantastic collection of Carridges as well including some old Royal train carridges.

    Free Entrance
    Open daily between 10am - 6pm.

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  • Sjalen's Profile Photo

    The National Railway Museum

    by Sjalen Updated Jun 7, 2010

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    Duchess of Hamilton

    The National Railway Museum actually won European Museum of the Year 2001 and it is certainly worth it. You will find trains from all over the UK in the country that invented the railway. I recently returned to see what updates hade been done since I lived in York more than ten years ago, and it has now become even better. The only thing that saddened me was that my favourite sight, the famous record breaking and beautiful engine Mallard was just about to be moved to the railway museum in Shildon further up the country so you will no longer find it here. Things to see still include royal carriages though, and a bit on how the channel tunnel was created, a Japanese bullet train and a lot of beautiful engines in the engine hall, perhaps notably with the beautifully streamlined Duchess of Hamilton as the star exhibit now that Mallard has left.

    Not just for train spotters but for anyone with an interest in 19th-20th century life, engineering or travel. Children of all ages will love it too and there is a good shop. Personally, I also like the old carriage that my now husband renovated in his youth :))) Sorry for the poor picture but I haven't been back down there since I became a VT member. The yellow building next to the wheel is the museum.

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  • Britannia2's Profile Photo

    National Rail Museum

    by Britannia2 Updated Jul 28, 2009

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    In the railway museum

    You do not have to be a train fan to visit here but I guess it helps. The museum is a look at England's railways over the years and is set partly in the old roundhouse of the York engine sheds. The trains are beautifully restored and there is even a Japanese Bullet train to see. Some engines are cut in half so that the workings can be seen.
    This is a great museum for children - for example this summer (2009) (and in future summers if I forget to update this updated events) there will be a Harry Potter theme with Orton Hall (the engine that pulls Harry's train) on display and also theatrical productions of The Railway Children.There is a fairground and picnic area with giant games such as Connect 4 and Jenga.
    Also new in 2009 and a permanent display is the Learning Platform where you can see the museums new show from Rocket to Bullet - the history of the train.

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    NATIONAL RAIL MUSEUM

    by alyf1961 Written Feb 10, 2009

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    PORTERS
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    The national rail museum at York is great. There are many trains on display including the flying Scotsman and the Japanese bullet. The exhibition is a favourite for children, enthusiasts and anybody with an afternoon to spare. Located next to York railway station it is easy to get to.

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  • National Railway Museum

    by saxel177 Written Jun 7, 2008

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    Having three young children this is a great place for us to go, especially as my youngest is crazy about trains. Its not always easy trying to keep up with my children as they are so excited to explore the next train, that they hardly have time to see the first one! Lucky for me, we visit York often and this is a place we come every time - and it is equally exciting every time! The discovery/play room is fun and definitely worth a visit - maybe even for adults who like the idea of controlling points!
    The café here is in a great location but it is nothing special.

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  • margaretvn's Profile Photo

    the National Railway...

    by margaretvn Updated Apr 27, 2008

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    Visit the National Railway Museum.
    This is ac tually the world's biggest railway museum, with Royal carriages, steam engines and miniature railway rides. There is lots of information with interactive exhibits.

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    National Railway Museum

    by Ben-UK Written Oct 15, 2007

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    'Iron Duke'
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    Their leaflet recommends a minimum of 3 hours to see all the exhibits in the 3 large halls and there really is a lot to see -- a fine collection of old locomotives and coaching stock, working replicas, models, an interactive learning centre, The Flying Scotsman Story -- something for all the family to enjoy -- an excellent museum and it's all free!

    Opening times -- Daily 10-00 to 18-00

    Closed 24/25/26 December

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  • Visiting the National Railway Museum by train

    by adruff Written Jul 18, 2007

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    If you're arriving in York by train, there's no need to walk out of the station's main entrance and go the long way around to the museum. Just cross the station footbridge to the very back of the station and follow the signs to the NRM.

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    Not just for train spotters

    by BlueBeth Written Feb 27, 2007

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    Ok, I don't particularly like trains, I'm not a spotter but this place just fascinates me!

    There are three enormous sheds filled with great displays of trains, real engines and signs from railway stations long since closed.

    At the moment they are renovating The Flying Scotsman and you can watch the teams of volunteers as they toil over this legendary engine.

    There are very well displayed exhibitions of the story of the railways in England and a store room full of stuff. I'd love to explain what this looks like but it is really just a huge junk room filled with stuff that the volunteers and staff at the museum haven't even had a chance to look at properly. There are statues and bells and benches and staff uniforms, alongside cups and cutlery from a bygone era.

    The Royal Trains exhibition is fascinating, such luxury is unheard of on the trains in England these days. (If you can get a seat on a train in England these days you're a lot luckier than me!)

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