urban75 blog

Steam locos, memorabilia, a stuffed dog and much more at the wonderful Railway Museum in York

Last month I finally got to visit the fabulous Railway Museum in York, a veritable cornucopia of railway history, stuffed full of historic locomotives, carriages, rolling stock and railway memorabilia.

Incredibly, entrance to the museum is free and there’s enough there to keep you entertained for hours on end, although sadly my visit had to be brief as I had a train to catch. Here’s some photos from my hour or so in the museum, which I thoroughly recommend!

Located a short walk from York station on the the former York North locomotive depot, the National Railway Museum displays a collection of over 100 locomotives and nearly 300 other items of rolling stock, virtually all of which either ran on the railways of Great Britain or were built there.

The largest museum of its type in Britain, the museum attracted 727,000 visitors during the 2014/15 financial year, and covers a 20 acre site, displaying hundreds of thousands of items and records of social, technical, artistic and historical interest.

Once a bizarre fixture at Wimbledon Station, “Laddie” is a stuffed Airedale Terrier that was used to collect funds for the LSWR Orphanage.

Ornate Pooley table top weighing machine, formerly of the North Eastern Railway.

There’s some beautiful old carriages on display.

This splendidly ornate cast iron, single stall urinal, was located at Curthwaite Station on the Maryport & Carlisle Railway. It is believed to be manufactured by George Smith & Company, Sun Foundry Glasgow, c. 1870-1890.

A larger, but equally elaborate, urinal used to stand outside Brixton station in south London.

Urinal detail.

Turning the brake in the guard’s van.

Great Northern Railway 0-6-0ST steam locomotive, No 1247, built in 1899.

I’ve always wanted to take a look inside a travelling post office railway carriage!

The mechanism for picking up mail on the move.  See demonstration below:

Inside a BR Pullman train.

Nifty BR goods truck.

L&SWR platform ticket machine.

Wagon detail

London Midland & Scottish Railway United Dairies milk wagon, 1937.

There’s some fine locos on display although not enough of the magnificent Great Western Railway for my tastes!

Dining carriage.

Inspecting the engine controls.

Enamel signs.

LMS Crab 2-6-0 locomotive.

Royal train.

Outside, an 0-6-0 diesel shunter was on display.

£3 earned us an enjoyable ride on the looping track of the miniature railway.

The ride took us past several items in the yard.

Japanese Bullet Train, which once whisked passengers along at speeds of just over 130mph..

Bullet train and Eurostar train.

Spacious, airline-style seating inside the Bullet train.

This immense Chinese Government Railways Steam Locomotive 4-8-4 KF Class No 7 was built by Vulcan Foundry at at Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire in 1935.

The Chinese locomotive is the largest single locomotive in the museum, standing over 15 foot tall and more than 93 feet long, and was the largest single-unit locomotives ever built in the UK. It is truly mahoosive.

Southern Railway commuter carriage.

The world famous Mallard.

On 3 July 1938, the A4 class locomotive raced down Stoke Bank at 126mph to set a new steam locomotive world speed record . That record still stands today.


This was my favourite, the 1934 Diesel Railcar No 4 built by the Great Western Railway.

I go all a-quiver when I see that chocolate and cream livery!

The Southern Railway Q1 was built in 1942 to a design by the innovative OVS Bulleid for the Southern Railway to help deal with the huge increase in rail traffic caused by the Second World War.

Under wartime ‘austerity’ materials were in short supply, hence the pug-ugly locomotive comes without a ‘running board’ above the wheels.

Replica of the “Huskisson” railway carriage which ran on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.

Working replica of Stephenson’s Rocket, widely acclaimed as the world’s first modern steam locomotive, constructed with many components that became standard on all future design.

Cutaway showing the gubbins of a loco.

Locomotives are stationed around a working turntable.

BR Diesel.

Great Western Railway steam loco, 4-6-0 No 4003 “Lode Star”, designed by G.J. Churchward, built at Swindon in 1907, and withdrawn in 1951.

BR C-C Diesel-Hydraulic Class 52 No D1023 “Western Fusilier”, built in 1963 and once seen thundering around former Great Western tracks.

This SE&CR steam loco was running short trips but we sadly ran out of time so didn’t get to take a ride.

Visit the National Railway Museum
Leeman Road
YO26 4XJ
Tel: 0844 815 3139

Opening times: 10am – 6pm
(Closed 24, 25, 26 Dec)

Admission: Free