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All Aboard—National Railway Museum reopens for visitors

York visitor attraction to reopen after 139 days of lockdown.

Thousands of people are expected to visit the National Railway Museum in York this week as the museum opens to the public for the first time since 17 March.

Advance tickets were released on 20 July and after two weeks, more than 6,000 people have booked to visit the museum. Ticket bookings have proved popular and the first reopening dates, including Tuesday 4 August, have now sold out.

One third of planned visits are from York and Yorkshire with the remainder from other parts of the country, supporting the trend for ‘staycations’ and UK-based holidays.

The third largest region for bookings is London and the South East, suggesting a rise in holidaymakers willing to travel further to visit the museum and the city.

To visit the museum, people are being asked to observe social distancing, wear a face mask and book online in advance. Tickets and entry to the museum are free, although visitors can also make a donation and even book their sandwiches in advance. 

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: “After a long and often difficult time during lockdown, it is fantastic to be able to welcome visitors back to our museum once again. There will be some changes to keep everyone safe, and we will be reopening in stages, but we have worked hard to ensure we can give people a great visitor experience.

”The early booking figures have been really positive and demonstrate that there is a strong demand for UK attractions this summer—something which I hope will benefit the whole city.”

The first visitors will be able to see Great Hall’s star locomotives such as Mallard, Evening Star and the only Japanese Shinkansen ‘Bullet Train’ outside Japan.

Built in 1877, Great Hall was originally an engine shed (one of nine in York) and retains a working turntable. When the museum opened in 1975, the hall enjoyed a new lease of life as the perfect space to display the national collection of railway vehicles.

The Great Hall café and main gift shop will also reopen from 4 August. Overall visitor numbers will be limited each day to avoid overcrowding and to help people practice social distancing.

The museum will initially open on a limited number of days each week, before a gradual return to daily opening. Great Hall will be the first part of the museum to open with other areas including Station Hall, the Warehouse and outdoor spaces due to reopen in the coming weeks.

The museum will open an hour early on Tuesday 4 August for invited families of railway keyworkers to say thank you for their role during the Covid-19 pandemic.

To book a free advance ticket, visit the museum website: www.railwaymuseum.org.uk.

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Simon Baylis
01904 686 299

simon.baylis@railwaymuseum.org.uk

Pete Livesey
01904 809 646
peter.livesey@railwaymuseum.org.uk

About the National Railway Museum

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and prior to Covid-19, attracted more than 750,000 visitors per year
  • The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals and railway uniform, equipment, documents, records, artwork and photographs
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free
  • For more information visit www.railwaymuseum.org.uk
  • The National Railway Museum is part of the Science Museum Group of national museums, which temporarily closed all five sites on 17 March as a result of the coronavirus
  • Locomotion in Shildon became the first museum in the Group to reopen on 28 July and other museums in the Group are set to reopen in stages.