The National Railway Museum in York.

The Railway system in this country is an iconic part of our island. The thought of a train at full steam winding its way through the green and pleasant countryside of England on its way to the coast, speeding along the causeway of Rannoch Moor, chuffing away as it climbs through the mountains of Wales is entrenched in memory of many. If not steam then it is the diesel, the flat nosed normality of a standard to the racy appearance of the Intercity 125. Forming a part of the Science Museum group this National Museum attempts to tell the story of the railways in the UK and the shaping and effects it has had on our culture and society.  Housed within it walls are working examples, models, relics and photos of the countries Railways past. Admission, amazingly, is free. It’s a great source of pride that the Museum is held in York by the locals just as the many cutting edge Web Design Yorkshire based companies such as beginning to hold.

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There are many railway towns in the country, Swindon, Didcot and Crewe being some prime examples and whilst they have Museums to Steam and the Steam age it is the National Museum that holds the largest collection. It sits next to York Railway station, a major thoroughfare and is house in some converted rail storage buildings. Other collections were brought to the Museum in the late 1950’s but the birth of the Museum proper as it is today dates back to 1975. The site would be very popular as it features rolling stock as well as engines and also showed the workings of an engine. Steam predominates, a fact that has earned the site some criticisms, but as this is still the period that seems to resonate with period, and it is seen as the heyday of the railway, the focus on steam is generally thought justified.

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It’s not just engines that are celebrated. The collection also holds an enormous selection of railway memorabilia related to what life was like to use and work on the railway. Restored ticket booths and platforms are all walkable as there is a genuine attempt to make the visitor feel as if they are just about to board a behemoth and be taken away on some far flung adventure. There is also room for a bit of fun as the Hogwarts Express is also in residence. A good family day out.


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