The latest news from Friends & the National Railway Museum

National railway museum welcomes you back from 19 May. Free admission tickets will be available to book from 26 April



Opening of London Bridge Signal Box 1976

FP (DGM) and Reg Peat SR CS&TE

At one stage in the visit a technician started to explain what a piece of new equipment did and HRH interrupted him and said 'oh yes - I saw this last year when I opened Preston SignalBox ' !

We were all suitably impressed.!! 

Bob Reid was GM and we had lunch with the Duke  in the Charing Cross Hotel. He had chosen the menu with asparagus as the starter. Obviously we waited for him to start and were amused when he just picked up a stick with his fingers, dipped it into the ramekin of melted butter, and then into  his mouth. 

A memorable day.


Frank Paterson  

President, Friends of the National Railway Museum

Our vast halls of giant locomotives reopen on 19 May. Escape your home and dive into the past, present and future of the railways. Meet world-changing inventions like Rocket and come face-to-face with the fastest steam locomotive in the world.

To ensure you have the space you need to explore the museum safely and confidently, all visitors are now required to book free admission tickets in advance. 

Tickets are currently released two weeks in advance.

If your plans change, please contact the booking team on

033 0058 0058 or email the NRM to exchange or return your ticket.

Frank Paterson meeting Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Curator with a Camera with Anthony Coulls NRM

Matthew Parris in 14th April Times

125 reasons to grieve.

The last InterCity 125 trains are to be withdrawn from service on the East Midlands Railway next month. After almost half a century these are still the best way in Britain to travel by train. The carriages feel spacious and airy. The seats are soft. The windows are big. The corridor feels wider. And because the locomotives are at each end, something close to silence reigns for passengers, the noise of the engines being (as used to be the case with steam trains) lost in the wind outside. Travelling to London I’ve taken the 07.05 from Derby to St Pancras purely because it’s often a 125 — and quite often pulled by the very locomotives that established the world record for a diesel train (148mph) 34 years ago. They’ve recently been repainted in their old British Rail livery, as a mark of respect. Give me a moment to grieve.

DONATE TO FRIENDS through eBay. Charity: 273829

To set up an eBay listing with a charity donation to Friend of the National Railway Museum, search for 'Friends of the National Railway Museum' in the 'Make a Donation' section on a listing. 

‘Favourite’ Friends of the National Railway Museum charity on eBay. Every time you checkout you’ll have the option to donate. It’s a quick way to give your favourite cause a boost without making a separate transaction.


National Railway Museum have created a list of virtual events. Events are free unless otherwise stated and will take place online on (Zoom, YouTube etc.) Please follow this link to find out more and you might need to book. 

Journey home for cherished locomotive. Press Release from the 

National Railway Museum

Doncaster built locomotive Green Arrow to go on display at Doncaster’s new Danum Gallery, Library and Museum.

The pioneering Green Arrow has rolled back into Doncaster almost 75 years on since it left the famous Doncaster Plant Works.

Thanks to a partnership between the National Railway Museum and Doncaster Council, Green Arrow completes the line-up of locomotives in Danum Gallery, Library and Museum by joining No. 251 in a superb new rail heritage centre.

Together with an array of rare artefacts from the famous Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection and other fascinating rail exhibits, the rail heritage centre will be a ‘must be seen’ exhibition when the building opens later this year, subject to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Built in 1936 at Doncaster Works, Green Arrow was the first of the V2 class locomotives to be built and it is the last surviving British 2-6-2 tender locomotive. It continued service through the nationalisation of the railways and was eventually withdrawn from British Railways service in 1962.

Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley the V2 class was derived from the Class A1/A3 Pacifics. Construction of V2 class locomotives continued between 1936 and 1944 despite the impact of World War Two. Their reputation as a versatile and powerful locomotive was enhanced by their haulage during the war.

Following its withdrawal in 1962, Green Arrow was selected for preservation and eventually returned to working order in 1972. It steamed, on and off, until 2008 when its boiler certificate expired.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “The incredibly popular Green Arrow, together with the No. 251 locomotive, will spearhead a remarkable display of our great railway heritage, with many enthralling items going on public display for the very first time. They tell a compelling story of the golden age of steam and the major contribution Doncaster has made to the rail industry.

“In March, we plan a special online preview of Danum Gallery, Library and Museum to give people a taste of what they can experience once it’s right for us to open the building. It will be a community asset packed with cutting edge services and local and national collections of significance and importance.

“It’s a great achievement to have delivered this public building during these difficult economic times and signals our intent and ambition for Doncaster. It will be a joy to behold.”

Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, said: “Doncaster has taken express delivery of Green Arrow, a truly great locomotive loved and respected by hordes of people up and down the country. Having worked at Doncaster Plant in the past I look at Green Arrow and the other rail exhibits with great fondness. Our heritage is a treasure we must remember by sharing our many great achievements with residents and visitors.

“Danum Gallery, Library and Museum will be a great attraction and a place people can reminisce, explore, learn and much more besides. We want local people to aim for the stars and this community hub will help them do just that.”

Andrew McLean, Assistant Director and Head Curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside Doncaster Council to share the story of this fascinating locomotive. In the longer term we still see an operational future for Green Arrow, as outlined in our operational vehicle strategy. But for now to see this locomotive to return to where it was built will be a sight to behold.”

Another key element of the new rail heritage centre is the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection. It started in the 1930s when pupils and teachers at the school, now Hall Cross Academy, set up a railway society.

As the years went by, the members created one of the biggest and most important collections of its kind packed with signs, nameplates, lamps, signal posts and thousands of other rail related gems.

They were moved from Hall Cross Academy in 2020 and are now archived in the former Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery. A selection of this remarkable collection will feature in Danum Gallery, Library and Museum and will be regularly refreshed to bring more historical items into the public gaze.

Chris Barron, speaking on behalf of the Trustees of the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection, said: “This is the culmination of what we have worked on for several years. The new rail heritage centre gives the opportunity for everyone to see this unique and important collection for the first time. We have been grateful that Hall Cross Academy has continued to house the collection for over 70 years but the problem was that few people ever got to see it.

“Although we can only display a small fraction of the entire catalogue, in partnership with Heritage Doncaster, we will be able to rotate the displays on a regular basis. This collaboration between the Council and the National Railway Museum means two great Doncaster-built engines will provide a great setting for these treasures. Our aim is to make this Centre a recognised place of discovery for railway heritage, something that has been missing from this railway town for too long.”

The rail heritage centre will appeal to rail enthusiasts, historians and anyone wanting to gain an insight into rail and the vital role Doncaster has played over the years and continues to do so today.

The locomotives will remain part of the national collection and will be loaned to the museum as static exhibits for an initial three-year period. During this period another locomotive from the National Collection will take the place of Green Arrow, alongside No.251. The move was carried out under social distancing and following Covid-19 guidance.

Green Arrow travelled to Doncaster by road from Locomotion in Shildon where a team of specialist conservators and rail operations staff physically manoeuvred the historic locomotive into place over a period of 48 hours.

Both engines have taken several months of preparation and over a 1,000 hours of conservation from collection services, rail operations, engineering, and the volunteers at Locomotion. This work included corrosion treatment, a deep clean and sensitively repainting areas of paint loss by colour matching the livery. This information including an inventory of all parts of the locomotive such as the gauge glasses, lubrication pots and the whistles which have also been recorded onto the National Railway Museum object database.

The Friends of Doncaster Museum have assisted in the loan of the locomotives and their continued hard work and contributions to the Museum are very much appreciated.

More information is available here 

About LNER 2-6-2 V2 Class No. 4771 'Green Arrow'

• V2 class 2-6-2 No 4771 "Green Arrow" was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, built at Doncaster in 1936 and withdrawn in 1962.

• Green Arrow was the first V2 locomotive to be built at Doncaster Works and was named for the Freight train it was built for.

• 184 V2 class locomotives were built between 1936 and 1944 at the Doncaster and Darlington Works, with construction continuing despite World War Two.

• In the end the V2 class locomotives were widely used for express passenger trains.

• The V2 class was derived from the Class A1/A3 Pacifics but had smaller driving wheels and a shorter boiler. Many standard features were built into the locomotives, including the conjugated valve gear for the three cylinders.

About the National Railway Museum

• The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts more than 750,000 visitors per year

• The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals as well as railway uniform and costume, equipment, documents, records, artwork and photographs

• The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion in Shildon

Admission to the National Railway Museum is free

Picture: NRM. Green Arrow being maneuvered into the new Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster.

A Lady To Remember!

Dame Margaret Weston. The many obituaries in the national press didn't mention her encouragement and strong support for the Friends of the National Railway Museum. She was one of the original life members in 1977.

The photograph was taken at York on 28th September 1985 when she named HST power car 43038 National Railway Museum.

The First Ten Years 1975-1985 Dame Margaret is centre stage flanked by right to left, Lord Downe, Chair of the NRM Advisory Board - W.O.(Bill) Reynolds, Chairman of FNRM - Dr John Coiley, Head of NRM. Frank Paterson, General Manager, BR Eastern Region. The previous day 43038 created the record breaking run of the Tyne Tees Pullman from Newcastle to London Kings Cross, 269 miles in 2hours 19 minutes 37 seconds at an average speed of 115.4mph.

Picture: NRM

National Railway Museum’s Station Hall to Receive Royal Restoration £500,000 refurbishment of York’s Grade II-listed Station Hall announced.

The situation has changed slightly in terms of guidance for wearing facemasks inside.

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.

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN. The impact of the Coronavirus 15/04/2021 


Following the third Covid-19 lockdown, the National Railway Museum at York and Locomotion at Shildon currently both remain closed.  However, the Science Museum Group has announced that it is planned to re-open on Wednesday 19th May 2021, Government guidance permitting.


The Museum and Locomotion will then open on certain days of the week only and for restricted hours, with not all facilities available. While admission remains free, it is necessary to book an entrance ticket on line in advance. Details of the days and hours of opening, and how to book, can be found on the National Railway Museum website.


We continue to be in discussion with the Museum’s management to establish when and how the Friends may be able to resume working from our office, but for the time being this remains closed. We are now able to progress new memberships and membership renewal online, but if you wish to contact us please continue to do so by email. The next NRM Review will be posted out at the end of April this month.  

Best wishes,


Philip Benham

Chairman, Friends of the National Railway Museum

Friends of the National Railway Museum 2021 l Not for profit l Registered Charity Number: 273829 ©

Photos © Philip Benham or © National Railway Museum l Friends of the National Railway Museum l Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ

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