top of page

The Friends of the National Railway Museum News

Big plans!

The museum have got some big plans for over the next few years, including a new Station Hall experience!

But before that can happen, Station Hall’s roof needs some TLC, and will be closing for a full reroof and redevelopment from Tuesday 3 January 2023.

You can still see railway giants such as Mallard and Class 43 power car in Great Hall and discover thousands of railway items in North Shed to tell the stories of our railways.

Don’t miss your last chance to see the collection of Royal Carriages, including Queen Victoria’s ‘Palace on Wheels’, Stephenson’s original Rocket, and ride on the miniature railway.

To find out more, visit the museum website:


Innovation Platform will inspire visitors with the inventiveness and ingenuity in rail. This exhibition highlights emerging ideas and extraordinary achievements from across the rail industry. 

Showcasing the latest and greatest in rail innovation, Innovation Platform celebrates the creative by focusing not only on the technology itself, but by giving just as much attention to the context in which objects were developed.

Through imaginative problem-solving and original thinking, the railways are progressing, armed with technologies designed to improve all aspects of the industry. The Innovation Platform will show the very best of these to those who will feel their benefit most greatly—you!

To explore the breadth of these developments, the museum are giving visitors, a look at the latest technology over two years, split into four thematic seasons.


Decarbonisation: January–June 2023
Smart Cities: July–December 2023
Communities: January–June 2024

mallard experience.jpg
  • RIDE

    • DATE: Open

    • LOCATION: Great Hall

    • BOOK NOW

    • Tickets can be booked at the same time as your free museum entry ticket. If you would like to add tickets onto your existing museum admission booking, please call 033 0058 0058.


Experience the thrill of being on the footplate of the world's fastest steam locomotive in this exhilarating simulator ride.

Ignite your imagination and immerse yourself in astonishing engineering as you re-live Mallard’s record-breaking run.

Meet the real people who were part of this amazing feat, see inside the firebox and fly alongside the speeding locomotive with the unique simulation ride. 

Learning at the National Railway Museum

schools visit 2020.jpg

Discover what you can see and do on a visit and fill in the online form to request a school visit.

The options available for schools have changed, so before you request a visit, make sure you read all of the information on what to see and do on the visit page.

Find out more here

The Film Archive of Railway Signalling and People (FARSAP)
Screenshot (267).png

A still from the FARSAP film showing signalling on the London Underground. Pictured is the 1948 Westinghouse installation at Harrow on the Hill.  


As of November 2022, the FARSAP signalling film archive now has over 200 films. All free to view, they cover signalling locations across Britain and some in Ireland. Signalling topics covering a wide range of mechanical and electronic technology, staff reminiscences and significant events are also covered.

The latest additions cover three signalling locations around the Perth area in Scotland, the York Integrated Electronic Control Centre (IECC) and signalling at four locations on the London Underground. The York IECC dating from 1989 replaced signal boxes in the York area to the north and south of the station. Its work has now been taken over by the York Rail Operating Centre (ROC) which controls the East Coast Main Line signalling from Kings Cross, London to the Scottish border. On the London Underground, the team filmed at Baker Street, Edgware Road, Harrow on the Hill and Rickmansworth. The film at Baker Street includes the rarely seen or filmed 1987 Interlocking Machine Room (IMR) in operation.

The FARSAP team from Friends of the NRM and the Signalling Record Society has worked with Network Rail to film the wide range of British signalling practices, equipment and buildings. The films show the people doing the job at a time of major change. You’ll still be able to see and hear how it was done in the days before Rail Operating Centres came along. Manual signal boxes, crossings and power boxes are all well covered. Commentaries helpfully explain the history, locations, routes, the equipment and what’s going on to operate the railway safely.

In the words of Network Rail, it’s a “valuable and comprehensive record”. It’s popular too with the signalling community who have welcomed their bit of signalling history being recorded. Whether it’s for those in training, enthusiasts, modellers or family historians, there’s masses of fascinating and valuable information. Simply search online for “FARSAP” to see the full collection. It’s already extensive – and material is being added when resources and conditions allow.

The FARSAP Team, Friends of the NRM, York.

A still from the FARSAP film showing the Interlocking Machine Room at Baker Street, London Underground.

National Railway Museum the world’s railway museum!

Central Hall, part of the wider York Central development, will feature a gallery showcasing the latest innovations in rail technology, a cafe overlooking the new museum square, a shop, an event space and new visitor facilities.

It will also include a new ‘Wonderlab’, aimed at inspiring children to think like engineers using interactive exhibits and games.

The environmentally-friendly design will feature electric vehicle charging points and cycle racks.

NRM director Judith McNicol said: “Central Hall is just one aspect of our journey to embed our museum in the heart of our community. 

“We are excited to share the latest plans for the new building, which follow the principles agreed in the outline permission for the wider York Central site. 

“It’s really important that we gather feedback at this early stage in the process so that the plans can evolve to offer as many benefits to our neighbourhood and to our visitors as possible.”

An exhibition will be on show at the museum for 10 days, starting on Monday, October 25, alongside a virtual consultation.

Feilden Fowles is the architect on the project.

Greg Dyke, chairman of Make It York and York Central Strategic Board said: “The improvements to the National Railway Museum, through the Central Hall project, will enhance York’s cultural development and provide a catalyst to the whole economy of the city and beyond.

Source: Malcolm Reading Consultants / AAPP

Inside Atelier d’Architecture Philippe Prost’s proposals for the National Railway Museum’s new central hall

Revolutionaries is a philanthropic initiative which brings together visionary donors to the National Railway Museum in support of Vision 2025

Judith McNicol, director of the National Railway Museum, York - Credit: Charlotte Graham

This exclusive group is united by a common goal to be at the forefront of change, inspiring the next generation of pioneers, innovators and engineers. 

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to join a circle of distinguished figures and philanthropists and make Vision 2025 a reality through the transformation of the National Railway Museum and Locomotion. 

“We have a clear mission; to inspire the engineer and innovators of tomorrow. By making the world’s greatest railway collection accessible and relevant for all, we can sow the seeds of future rail ingenuity. Become a part of our evolution, being the first to experience out major milestones as we embark upon our journey towards Vision 2025". Judith McNicol, Director, National Railway Museum

To find out more please contact:

Abi Cattley, Senior Development Manager

CALL: 01904 929525

Railway Heroes 

FREE EXHIBITION available online and at the Museum, this exhibition showcases a collection of interviews  with a handful of the railway workers who have helped get key workers to and from their jobs and given back to their communities - and country - during the Covid19 pandemic. 

To enjoy the online exhibition you can jump in and read the full story or select an individual to read about their experiences.


"The community has really come together from different backgrounds and cultures, faith and no faith. That’s what has kept people going".

Hussain Master

Locomotion in Shildon, where you can have a fun family day out in the birthplace of the railways.
From steam spectaculars to exciting learning activities, Locomotion has something for everyone. Keep on eye on Locomotion's social media channels for more information Facebook or Twitter

Museum admission is free. There's no need to pre-book an admission ticket, except for selected events and activities.

Locomotion is a charity and you may be asked to consider making a voluntary donation when visiting.

Please help keep everyone safe by wearing a face covering when indoors at the museum, unless you are exempt. The staff also wear face coverings.




Opening hours are Wednesday–Sunday, 10.00–16.00 (winter), 10.00–17.00 (summer).

Currently on winter opening hours. Last admission is 15.30 (winter), 16.30 (summer).

A typical visit takes two hours.


Café Number One is open daily from 10.00 until 16.00.

Complete with Eurostar seating—the museum offers a range of hot and cold food and drinks, including a breakfast range, children’s lunch boxes, sandwiches, snacks and hot food for lunch. Download the current menu here.

If you would like to speak to the team about menus or special dietary requirements, or have any other questions, please call 033 0058 0058 and they will be happy to help.


Browse an extensive range of railway gifts, models, books, posters, clothing and more in the shop near the entrance to the Collection Building. Alongside highlights such as the Flying Scotsman range, you’ll find classic train sets from Hornby and locomotive and carriage models from Bachmann.

You can also buy beautifully detailed models in our online model shop.


COP26 is the most important climate talk this year, and the most important climate conference since the Paris Agreement in 2015. But what happens after the negotiations have closed in Glasgow in November?

In this panel discussion, a panel of climate scientists, policymakers and activists came together to review the successes and shortcomings of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).  The panel gave a breakdown of what was committed to at the conference to ensure that the world reduces its carbon emissions by half by the end of the decade and to reach Net Zero by 2050. The panel also assessed the challenges to nations committing to those commitments. 

Find out more here

 Friends of Sierra Leona National Railway Museum 

A delight to welcome the Sierra Leona National Railway team to

National Railway Museum on their study visit, learning about the commercial and retail operations this afternoon with Thomas Mackie, Stuart Brown and Helen Ashby. 


Abubakarr Nylander-Kargbo, Museum Coordinator and Mohamed Jabbie, Senior Tour Guide met with Michael Rigg to talk about Information Point operation and volunteering, Katherine Rolland about fundraising, Tom McKie and Stuart Brown about commercial and retail development.  


They are in the UK and are visiting a range of different museums, heritage railways and other cultural experiences, with further NRM sessions in the coming weeks.

Second pic _edited.jpg
Third pic_edited.jpg

Pictures courtesy Helen Ashby

First pic _edited.jpg
Experience the museum’s past as a bustling railway works with the atmospheric new audio trail

Sound Tracks reveals the long and surprising history of the NRM site, connecting you with people from the past who worked here and highlighting the thought-provoking stories around every corner.

The audio tour immerses you in the atmosphere of ten locations, exploring stories including Great Hall’s time as a busy engine shed, the impact of a Second-World-War bombing raid, the sights and sounds of Station Hall in its days as a goods depot, and the contribution of women workers on the railways. 

The trail is accessible for free via your smartphone. Please note headphones are not provided. Visitors are welcome to listen to the trail with or without headphones.


What's inside Eurostar? Super-detailed tour of EVERYTHING | Curator with a Camera

It's not often you get to see inside a complex powerhouse like this, but curator Bob Gwynne and special guest Chris McCandless-Stone from Eurostar take you through its history, design and every detail of its mind-boggling features inside and out.


Eurostar had a tough task on its hands as it had to work on electric power in three different countries—France, Belgium and the UK—each of which had different electricity and signalling systems. It also had to run at high speed through the Channel Tunnel, a brand-new route created under the English Channel linking England with France by rail. The end result is a locomotive with a vast array of systems, controls and electrical components.


Whether for fun, experimentation or spreading new ideas and technology, the small steam locomotive has engaged generations of curious makers with engineering concepts, encouraging innovation and investigation. 

Read on to find out more here

Cosmo Bonsor in the 1920s. Image courtesy of Ann Hatherill/Society of Model & Experimental Engineers

The National Railway Museum’s Station Hall, a former goods depot and now home to the national collection of original royal carriages, is set to receive a £500,000 refurbishment, thanks to the Friends of the National Railway Museum
Screenshot (58).png

Philip Benham, chairman of the Friends of the National Railway Museum and Charlotte Kingston head of interpretation and design.

National Railway Museum announces plans for the refurbishment of Station Hall, it will involve a new permanent exhibition as well as physical improvements to the condition of the Grade-II listed building. The situation has changed slightly in terms of guidance for wearing facemasks inside. National Railway Museum’s Station Hall to Receive Royal Restoration £500,000 refurbishment of York’s Grade II-listed Station Hall announced. The National Railway Museum’s Station Hall, a former goods depot and now home to the national collection of original royal carriages, is set to receive a £500,000 refurbishment, thanks to the Friends of the National Railway Museum. The charity organisation which supports the work of the museum, has raised £300,000 from members to develop and refresh Station Hall’s permanent exhibition, which is housed inside the historic, Grade II-listed building. A working depot until the 1970s, Station Hall is home to six royal carriages, including one of the museums most popular attractions - Queen Victoria’s original 1869 saloon. The project will redisplay the carriages into complete royal trains matched with period locomotives. A new addition to the hall will be class 47 locomotive, Prince William, one of a select number of locomotives to have hauled the current royal train.

Due to start in Spring 2021, the exhibition refresh will see an estimated 200 new collection items and 25 rail vehicles go on display. Work is scheduled to be complete by 2022, subject to wider Vision 2025 and York Central activity. Alongside the new display, the Science Museum Group will also provide £200,000 to complete physical improvements to Station Hall’s roof and walls. Charlotte Kingston, Head of Interpretation and Design, said: “I am hugely grateful to the Friends of the National Railway Museum who have enabled us to create an exciting permanent exhibition which will inform and inspire future generations. “Station Hall is very popular with our visitors and our changes will be impactful but sympathetic, using new collection items and railway stories to bring the railways to life, while retaining the character of the original building.” Philip Benham, chairman of the Friends of the National Railway Museum, said: “I am delighted that the Friends are the principal funder of this important project. Over the years we have contributed more than £1.5m towards some 60 museum projects, but this is one of the most significant yet. Stations are where passengers first meet the railway, and the scene for many individual encounters and dramas. The Friends are excited to have this opportunity to help the museum tell their important story anew, together with the equally vital stories of the men and women who worked at stations, or simply passed through them.”

Read the full latest NRM update here.

The Friends of the National Railway Museum exists to support the museums at York and Shildon (Locomotion) and to engender interest in the history and future development of railways. In the past two years alone we have committed over half a million pounds towards museum projects, including being the principal funders of a major planned transformation of Station Hall – one of the two main exhibition sites at York. We are also contributing to the new Vision 2025 project – the most dramatic and extensive re-development in the Museum’s history involving work at both sites.  


If you are proud of our railway heritage, and excited about the future of rail travel, why not become a Friend? By doing so, you will be supporting the world’s premier railway museum. You will also receive our highly regarded quarterly magazine ‘Review’ and a range of benefits when you visit the Museums.  Find out more about joining us here . 


The Museums at both York and Shildon are open each week from Wednesday to Sunday, with additional Monday and Tuesday opening at holiday times. Admission is free, but to save time on arrival  both museums recommend that you book your entrance tickets in advance. More information, including how to book, can be found on the National Railway Museum website.


The Friends office is open, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 09.00 - 15.30.

If you need to contact us please do so by email or phone 01904 636874.

Best wishes


Philip Benham

Chairman, Friends of the National Railway Museum

Philip Benham.webp

Philip Benham, Chairman

Friends of the National Railway Museum

Message from our chairman    15/09/22 
bottom of page