Events : Preview – AROnline visit to York National Railway Museum

Mike Humble

Come and see Mallard with her sisters while meeting the AROnline team at York NRM.
Come and see Mallard with her sisters while meeting the AROnline team at York NRM.

Sometimes it’s good to take a breather from the crazy world of cars. This month marks the 75th Anniversary of the record breaking speed run of Sir Nigel Gresley’s streamlined locomotive, Mallard, so we have decided to fill our lungs with steam and pay homage. Keith Adams, myself and regular contributor (and rail employee) Andrew Elphick will be visiting the National Railway Museum in York this coming Friday, 12 July.

As part of the celebration, the NRM will have all six surviving A4 class members tastefully positioned around the turntable in the Great Hall until 17 July – and the best thing of all its all free to enter and see this once in a lifetime opportunity.

The surviving preserved class members on public display are:

  • Bittern
  • Dominion of Canada
  • Dwight D Eisenhower
  • Sir Nigel Gresley
  • Union of South Africa
  • …and, of course, the star of the show, Mallard

Canada and Eisenhower were specially shipped over from the States by cargo ship and, following the end of the York display, the remaining locomotives in operational condition will be setting off for a series of UK rail tours in part of the ‘Mallard 75’ celebrations. They will all be together again briefly in Shildon for a Great Farewell display before they part company and go back to their respective homes in England and across the Atlantic Ocean.

We aim to be in the Great Hall for around 12.30pm so, if you are in the area, come along and say hello. For those with an interest who have never visited York Museum, it’s the biggest of its kind in the world with hundreds of static displays, interactive activities and loads to do for all people of all ages. Food and drink is catered for and you can even relax in the comfort of a preserved Japanese Bullet train coach – it really is a fantastic day out for all ages.

The NRM is situated in York city centre right next door to the rail station itself and it’s well signposted as you enter the city by car. Should you be travelling by rail there is a dedicated public footbridge connecting both sites and we hope to see you there on the day!

York contains the largest collection of locos and rail artefacts in the world including the last BR steam loco class 9F 'Evening Star' built in 1960.
York contains the largest collection of locos and rail artefacts in the world including the last BR steam loco class 9F ‘Evening Star’ built in 1960.
Mike Humble


  1. Don’t worry Sam, I don’t think it’ll be that populated seeing as its a weekday and we’ve had 6 days notice.

  2. I hope you have a great day there – the museum is amazing at the best of times. Especially if you have kids.

    I recommend travelling by train (we still have Leyland trains at time on the Harrogate line) or, if not, consider a park and ride on the edge of town as during weekdays York centre can be very busy.

    If anyone wants a recommendation on a place for a pint (non drivers of course) the York Tap on the station is rather nice and has an excellent range of beers.

  3. I think this museum is sad. It doesn’t actually have that much on show, a lot of what it does have has poor access. But worst of all, it has one loco (City of Truro) with a mainline boiler certificate – that expires next year, and the museum has no intention of renewing it. The national museum will not have a single loco that can be used!

    You’re better off going to Didcot!

  4. Absolutely agree that it’s amazing to go. Vast, educational for children of all ages, even Herself enjoys going and she has no idea of the significance of this. Best of all, it’s free!

    City of Truro, by the way, was withdrawn because imminent expensive boiler work was required prior to next year’s expiry and as an antique was placed where the public can see and touch it. Just like Mallard herself will never steam again.

    Want evidence? Go to York and look on the footplates of the engines currently in use, then look at Mallard. So many changes to suit modern requirements. Better to keep her original. All the same, imagine yourself next to those big driving wheels rotating four times a second…

  5. Didcot is a good day out too, but York is the place where its at presently.

    @ comment 2 – We were going anyway and it was the only day that suited all concerned (we do have full time jobs too you know) and thought if others are in the area to join in and say hi. Regardless of the team being there, its still a must see event that most certainly will never be repeated in most of our lifetimes 🙂

  6. Yep, it’s a truly fascinating and enjoyable day out, even without the A4s – or, indeed, Messrs. Adams, Elphick and Humble! A huge collection of lococmotives, rolling stock, assorted memorabilia, the library and more.

    I agree with Andrew-P: it’s best experienced after getting to York by train – I was lucky enough to get there on an IC125, to boot. Follow that with a few pints in one of the pubs on the banks of the Ouse. Lovely.

    Say hello to Laddie the dog, bless ‘im…

  7. Been to York National Railway Museum a couple of years ago and it was excellent! Great to see the likes of Mallard, Japanese bullet train, prototype HS125 etc etc. A real worthwhile day and I’ll definitely go again.

  8. ….and Thatcher sold off BREL. I do not a give a stuff about who wins the tennis / football, rugger. What I care about is home-grown innovations and UK manufacturing companies. There are many about and should be supported.
    Rant over.

  9. I am going there on Friday this week Mike with my two best friends. What a chance to see all 6 remaining! Read a fascinating book about Mallard last year and a true hero Nigel Gresley!! SEAT have leant me the new Leon FR which has just won auto express car of the year award. Great car and should be a great day.

  10. Re 5: I was last at York in May. Clearly, they told you the same as they told me about the City of Truro. And don’t you think that’s a shame? The national railway museum will not have a single loco that can run on mainline metals.

  11. Well, they have got a Deltic, if that counts I suppose.

    Mightily impressive machine all the same…

  12. I haven’t been to the NRM for a good few years, but it is definitely worth a visit. OK, so relatively few locos are certified to run, which is a shame, however the static displays are world-class, and even world-beating when it comes to the magnificent A4 Pacifics.

    That the wonderful A4 class holds the steam world record was a thing of great marvel, and that they are also achingly beautiful, especially in that vivid cobalt blue- picture it in it’s heyday speeding through the countryside hauling a rake of gleaming polished teak carriages- what modern train can hold a candle in terms of sheer style? Certainly not the Class 373 Eurostar trains, despite commencing their journeys towards the continent from one of the most beautiful and wonderfully restored stations in the world. The Eurostar is a great train, granted, but goes about it’s business without drama- you really don’t feel the speed.

    Have a great day guys- wish I could join you.

  13. @9 – It wasnt Tahtcher, it was that complete waste of skin Major. Its not so much that it was sold off, but the way it was sold off. Flogged to a competitor for a song just at the time investment in the UK rail industry completely dried up in preparation for the wider privatisation, leaving the former BREL works and their new owners high and dry.

  14. That is an amazing place to visit. I was there in April this year while doing an 8-day Globus tour of the UK. Unfortunately I only had a couple of hours free, so only went to the Great Hall, but it was great anyway

    Phillip West

  15. Andrew P “I recommend travelling by train (we still have Leyland trains at time on the Harrogate line) or, if not, consider a park and ride on the edge of town as during weekdays York centre can be very busy.” –

    I would love to travel by train (I live in Blackpool) Looked on the trainline – over £100 for my family – 2 adults & 2 kids – To take the car £25 & factor a tenner for parking !
    BTW its well worth visiting !!

  16. Lovely town, museum a short walk from the Kings Arms! Cheap ale!

    The Ulster Transport Museum train exhibit is well worth a visit for all train fans.

    It briefly held the Leyland National Railbus, this is now at Downpatrick Railway who I’m sure would accomodate an enthusiasts visit.

  17. An A4 with side valances is like an elderly spinster, drop the sidevalances and step into the limelight a hottie!

    Girls, if you have great pins show them.

  18. @14 BREL was privatised in 1989, long before BR was broken up under the Major government (April 1996 onwards).

    The company originated from the BR Workshops division and was set up in 1969 under the Transport Act 1968.

    The company was split into two parts in 1988. One part was named BREL (1988) Limited which was to be sold off the following year, the other being “British Rail Maintenance Limited”, which remained part of BR.

    BREL became the rediculously named BREL Limited (the ‘L’ in BREL of course stood for Limited) on privatisation. It was sold to a consortium of ASEA Brown Boveri (ABB), Trafalgar House and the existing management. The company by then consisted of the York works and the Litchurch Lane carriage works in Derby.

    The company merged with Daimler Benz transportation to form “Adtranz”. Finally, the company was sold again to Canadian company Bombardier. Only the Derby factory clings on, York having been closed in the 90s due to a lack of orders.

    Predictably, BR privatisation had lead to a complete cessation of rolling stock construction and no orders were placed for several years after the break up of BR.

  19. @18 nonsense man , they look horrible without them , SNG was a genius , he designed them to have valances and BR should have kept the A4 in Garter Blue WITH valances until the end!!

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