National Railway Museum York £50 Million Upgrade 5/5 (7)

National Railway Museum - The Mallard

The National Railway Museum in York has revealed details about a planned £50m, seven-year upgrade. The renovations would allow the National Railway Museum to re-display over 12,000 objects and bring 1,000 more into a public display for the first time in a reimagined Open Store.

The £50 Million project named York Central would represent the biggest investment in the National Railway Museum since its opening in 1975.


Project York Central

Project York Central will help to deliver the museums vision for future transformation and it would represent the single biggest investment for 40 years. Whilst The National Railway Museum has the best railway collection in the world, the physical infrastructure is not world-class. York Central would provide the catalyst to transform the museum displays for visitors. The main objective of The National Railway Museum York £50 Million Upgrade is to grow the number of visitors to the attraction to over 1 million per year.

Discover more about the Central Hall proposals and potential designs.


The Masterplan

The Masterplan comprises of six key elements:

National Railway Museum - Masterplan
National Railway Museum – Masterplan
Image: Wilkinson Eyre


1 – The Great Hall

The plan includes a complete renovation of the Victorian-era Great Hall. The story of railways will be brought to life through new multimedia displays featuring sound, audio and light. This will include displaying thousands of objects in a new Open Store and opening up of views of engines being prepared in the Prep Bay.


2 – Wonderlab

£5m of the budget would go to creating the Wonderlab, a purpose-built gallery aimed at inspiring young people to get hands-on and invent their own solutions to engineering challenges. Wonderlab would allow young people to build, test and learn through activities like pulling a locomotive or exploring how fast things travel and how they move. The National Railway Museum describes it as a “unique ‘tinkering’ workshop space” that will feature live demonstrations, live shows and experiments. Wonderlabs concept is based on the interactive galleries created by the Science Museum Group at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and the National Science Museum in London.


3 – Central Gallery

Central Gallery would be the cornerstone of a unique sense of place around Museum Square featuring railways into the future.


4 – South Yard

The objective for South Yard would be to enhance the outdoor area to provide more green space and to improve the visitor experience.


5 – Museum Square

Linking the National Railway Museum and York Railway Station with a new public space for York, featuring the historic coal drops at its heart.


6 – Re-routing of Leeman Road

The Re-routing of Leeman Road on to the future York Central Road network. This would enable the creation of Central Gallery and Museum Square, removing through traffic from the Salisbury Terrace area.


The Benefits of The National Railway Museum York £50 Million Upgrade

This transformation will offer enormous benefits to both visitors and residents including:

* The chance to become a truly world-class museum that inspires visitors with the epic story of railways
* New public green spaces and a public square for visitors and residents to enjoy
* Improved access to the site for those with mobility problems and pushchairs
* The ability to host major touring exhibitions, normally only seen in capital cities
* Economic benefits through an increase in visitor numbers, dwell time and overnight stays


Re-routing Leeman Road

York Central will involve the creation of new road access into the development site. Leeman Road currently splits The National Railway Museum in half and creates a number of challenges to accessing and navigating the site. The current approach is far from world-class and the road makes the Museum difficult to access for less mobile visitors and those with young children and pushchairs, who have to use steps or lifts.

York Central offers the opportunity to re-route Leeman Road. This would enable a new Central Gallery to be built. This building would join the current galleries and provide a proper orientation and welcome space, as well as level access, dramatically improving the experience for visitors to the attraction.

New road access would also help facilitate the movement of rail vehicles onto the museum site, which is currently compromised by low bridges. York residents and businesses are encouraged to join the museum in supporting the re-routing of Leeman Road in order to enable these benefits to be realised.


50th Anniversary

The National Railway Museum wants to complete the work by 2025 (it’s 50th Anniversary). The full transformation would see a new Central Gallery built where Leeman Road currently cuts across the museum site. At the front of the attraction, a new Museum Square would be created hosting events and providing new cafe facilities.


Website Links

The National Railway Museum – Attractions Near Me
The National Railway Museum – Official Website
Attractions Near York


Admission Prices and Offers

Entry to The National Railway Museum is free, but donations are welcome. Visitors under 12 years of age must be accompanied, at all times, by an adult.


Travelling to The National Railway Museum

York City centre is encompassed by its ancient walls and is accessible on foot. It’s a 10-minute walk to the Museum from the centre of town, and the route is well signposted. But for a quicker, more convenient route from the city centre, you can also catch the road train. Travel straight to the Museum’s door from Duncombe Place (next to York Minster).


Travelling by Train

The National Railway Museum is only a few minutes walk from York Railway Station and the route is well signposted. There is also a direct route to the Museum via the station footbridge (not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs). York Railway Station has great links to major cities across the UK. Search for your train tickets using Raileasy.


Travelling by Coach

Visit National Holidays if you want to travel by coach to York.


Nearby Accommodation

There are lots of places to stay in and around the city of York. Find hotel accommodation at or Travelodge and Britannia Hotels are always a good option for budget hotel accommodation.

If you prefer self-catering, check out some of the lovely places to stay on the outskirts of the City of York on Snaptrip.


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National Railway Museum York £50 Million Upgrade was last modified: March 21st, 2021 by Dan

Author: Dan

I am passionate about Theme Parks and Attractions. I love riding roller coasters and thrill rides. With two young boys I understand how expensive family days out can be and this was one of the main driving forces behind Attractions Near me. My aim is to help you and your friends enjoy some great days out without costing the earth. Thanks for reading and have a great time - Regards Dan

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