National Rail Museum, York, UK.

by John

I am not really “into” trains.  More a stationary engine enthusiast.  But so many readers and friends advised me to not miss the Rail Museum at York that I went today, with my local guide and blog reader, Jennifer Edwards.  To my surprise, Jennifer had not previously visited the museum either.

The museum is located outside the city walls, (the longest city walls in UK), and next to the railway station.  Parking was easy, but not cheap.  $AUD20, which seems to be the standard parking fee in many UK places.  But entry to the museum was free!

There are 3 big halls and an outside area.  The first hall contained a number (didn’t count, but maybe 8) of complete trains with carriages, including a couple of royal trains, with monogrammed carriages, double beds, elegant dining tables with fine china and silverware.  The paintwork gleams.  The metal surfaces are polished.  Altogether a magnificent spectacle.


Express passenger locomotive nicknamed “Spinner”, 1890-1920.  Average speed 60mph, maximum 90mph.  (we could use some of these in Oz)

For some inexplicable reason I did not photograph the royal trains.

The next building housed the interesting locomotives.


This is KF7, the largest loco in the collection.  Designed for use in an area of China with steep hills and weak bridges.  The weight was spread over many axles.  Jennifer is 5’6″ 


This is a replica of Stephenson’s Rocket 1.  It is particularly interesting because many covers have been sectioned or removed, showing the innards.


This section shows the internal structure of a power cylinder and D valve.


And the multitube boiler.

I took many photos.  This is showing just a tiny fraction of them.


And, of course all steam engine buffs will recognise the fastest steam locomotive in the world.  Mallard could reach speeds of 126mph (203kph), towing a full complement of carriages.  Not bad for 1938


Guided tour of Mallard controls


Magnificent green livery.  Did not record engine details.


And this was a full size locomotive, found in a scrap yard and beyond restoration, so it was sectioned to display the workings.  Quite fascinating.


The “Agenoria” 1829, reminded me strongly of Trevithick’s designs.  The info says that the designer,  John Rastrick, had worked with Trevithick.


That boiler end, firebox door, water level taps and square nuts could be straight off the Trevithick dredger engine.

We did not see the last areas, because after 4 hours or so, we two seniors had aching joints.   Nice to leave something for the next visit.

Thanks guys, for a wonderful recommendation.

If you have not seen this museum, definitely add it to your bucket list.

And sincere thanks to Jennifer Edwards, fellow model engineer,  for being great company over the last 2 days.


Jennifer collects clocks, as well as boilers and steam engines.  Here she is admiring a railway station pendulum clock.