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National Railway Museum & Locomotion Welcome First Visitors of the Year

  • National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon reopen to the public after temporary closure 
  • First visitors of 2021 welcomed at both museums from 19 May

The National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon are set to reopen today (19 May) for the first time this year, as national Covid restrictions are eased.  

Since tickets were released two weeks ago, 10,219 people have booked their free tickets to visit the National Railway Museum, with another 5,441 people booking to visit Locomotion in Shildon. 

The railway museums are part of the Science Museum Group which temporarily closed its five sites across the UK at the end of 2020, as a result of the Covid pandemic. 

As well as seeing the museums’ famous locomotives and carriages, visitors at Locomotion and the National Railway Museum will be able to see a new photographic exhibition called Railway Heroes which celebrates the work of railway workers during the pandemic. 

At the National Railway Museum, people will be able to take part in a new audio trail which reveals details of York’s railway heritage. Visitors to Locomotion will be able to see the original Locomotion No.1 which goes on display in the museum for the first time and see the museum’s newly restored historic buildings. 

Visitors to both museums are being asked to observe social distancing, wear a facemask (unless exempt) and book online in advance. Ticket numbers will be limited to timed slots to help keep people safe and entry will remain free of charge.  

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: "I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone who has booked a ticket, whether they are regular visitors, or those travelling to see us for the first time. The response so far has been really encouraging with more than 15,000 people registering to visit and we are really looking forward to reopening for the first time this year."

Ahead of reopening, staff and volunteers have carried out additional cleaning with hand sanitiser and signage in place to help with social distancing. 

The National Railway Museum will be open 10.00–17.00, Wednesday to Sunday. Locomotion will open 10.30–16.00, Wednesday to Sunday. During school holidays, both museums will open seven days a week, Monday to Sunday. 
Entrance to both museums is free but visitors must book online in advance and observe social distancing and follow marked routes. 

Book tickets for the National Railway Museum here

Book tickets for Locomotion here.


For more information, please contact Simon Baylis (01904 686 299 / or Pete Livesey (01904 809 646 /


  • 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
  • Locomotion is a partnership between the Science Museum Group and Durham County Council, which is a major funder of the museum
  • The National Railway Museum is part of the Science Museum Group of national museums which includes Locomotion in Shildon, the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester and the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford

Part of the Science Museum Group