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Vision 2025: The World's Railway Museum

Vision 2025 will transform the National Railway Museum, York, and Locomotion in Shildon.

We're on a six-year journey to become a global engineering powerhouse and a reinvented, inspiring 21st-century attraction.

With this £55.3m investment, our transformed museums will show the cutting-edge innovations shaping our world today—alongside the extraordinary birth and growth of the railways.

By celebrating the past, present and future of railways and engineering, we will capture the hearts and minds of the next generation of engineers, innovators and thinkers.

Central Hall

Central Hall
Credit: Feilden Fowles

At the heart of the redesigned National Railway Museum site will sit Central Hall, the gateway to our transformed museum. Providing level access throughout the site, it will span the road which dissects the museum and unify the site like never before. The new gallery space will highlight innovative technologies and the impact of the railways on our lives.

Sensitively and sustainably designed by UK-based architects Feilden Fowles, the building will reference historic locomotive 'roundhouses'. Clad in recycled copper and with high, glazed ceilings with timber radials, the building will be spectacular inside and out, creating a world class-welcome.


Wonderlab NRM
Credit: De Matos Ryan

Wonderlab will be a ground-breaking interactive gallery exploring the how, what and why that underpin the creation of the railways. Families will explore interactive exhibits together and challenge themselves to think like engineers.

This unmissable experience will fuel imaginations, spark curiosity and inspire visitors to see our collections in new and exciting ways. The gallery will be developed by designers De Matos Ryan and will open in early 2023.

Transformation at Locomotion

Locomotion new building
Credit: AOC Architecture

A brand-new building at Locomotion will house impressive displays and draw on Shildon’s unique heritage as the cradle of the railways. We will explore the fascinating narrative of the Stockton and Darlington railway—the world's first passenger line—and its connection to the Locomotion site and railways in the North East.

A sustainable open store will create opportunities for visitors to engage with the museum’s collection and be an inviting presence that emphasises Locomotion’s pivotal role as a cultural cornerstone for the community. AOC Architecture have been appointed to bring this project to life.

South Yard

South Yard NRM concept
Credit: Gustafson, Porter & Bowman

The green backbone to the museum’s development, South Yard will provide our community with open space to picnic and play. Nestled adjacently to the York Central townscape, South Yard will be a place to rest and reflect. Train rides, event spaces and hospitality outlets will add dynamism and entertainment to the space, creating a welcoming outdoor museum area for all. South Yard will be delivered in spring 2023.

Open Store

Open Store inspiration
Credit: Venice Biennale & Rem Koolhaus

Quirky, atmospheric and intriguing, the new Open Store will create an inviting and accessible space where you can step behind the scenes and explore a truly unique collection of railway treasures. Curated by community partners, the objects will tell real stories enriching our perception of history and connecting us in new ways. The new space is due to open in autumn 2023.

Great Hall

Children enjoy vehicles
Credit: Science Museum Group

A reimagining of the museum's most exhilarating space will see our iconic collections displayed in themes which demonstrate the impact of the railways on our lives. The new layout will allow us to share stories not yet told and give voice to countless men and women who lived, worked, and travelled on the railways.

The scale, grace and power of our locomotive collection will stretch minds, connect people and reveal treasured stories that inspire the railway pioneers of tomorrow.

York Central

York Central
Credit: Feilden Fowles

York Central is a 45-hectare development created in partnership with Network Rail, Homes England, City of York Council and our museum. It promises to transform our corner of the city, redeveloping former railway land to create 2,500 homes and a commercial quarter creating up to 6,500 jobs.

We are poised to become the cultural anchor—the heartbeat—of the York Central development, which is one of the largest city-centre brownfield regeneration projects in Europe.

Header image credit: Feilden Fowles.

Part of the Science Museum Group