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National Railway Museum partners with York Archaeology to uncover history

The National Railway Museum has partnered with York Archaeology to carry out excavations on site as part of their Vision 2025 programme of redevelopment.

An area in the museum’s Great Hall outdoor courtyard is currently the subject of exploration and is potentially home to objects from Roman and Medieval times.

The dig is being carried out by a team from York Archaeology and is designed to uncover any historically important artefacts that may be buried under the museum’s current site from bygone eras, ahead of extensive redevelopment work.

Two days of site tours are also planned where the public can enter and see the dig site and receive a presentation of material that has been found in this and other similar digs relating to railway history.

Former Victorian railway buildings have already been uncovered in the site which are likely linked to coal storage for steam engines.

Verity Faircliffe, Client Project Manager for Vision 2025 at the National Railway Museum, said: “These digs form an essential part of our site redevelopment programme. York is a city steeped in history and we’re excited to see what may be uncovered under our site.

“It has been great to work with York Archaeology on this project and we’re delighted that, with them, we can offer the public an opportunity to see the dig site and learn a little more about what has been found and the history of York’s railways.”

Dr. Paul Flintoft, Regional Manager for York Archaeology, added: “You can dig just about anywhere in York and almost guarantee you’ll uncover parts of its rich history, so we’re very much looking forward to what we find here.

“As we find with any dig around the city, there is a huge interest from the general public who are keen to know what we are hoping to discover—enthusiasm shared by our team of archaeologists as we dig deeper on this fascinating site.”

Tours are available between 12.00 and 16.00 on Friday 26 and 09.00 and 13.00 on Saturday 27 May. They last approximately 15 minutes and will be led by a member of York Archaeology.

Tickets are free and must be booked in advance online by visiting and clicking on ‘National Railway Museum Excavation Site Tours’

For more information please contact:

Josh Chapman, Communication Officer, 01904 929515

Simon Baylis, PR & Press Manager, 01904 686 299

Notes to Editors

About the National Railway Museum

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and prior to the pandemic, attracted more than 750,000 visitors per year
  • The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals as well as railway uniform, equipment, documents, artwork and photographs
  • The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion in Shildon
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free, although visitors are encouraged to book in advance, visit:

Part of the Science Museum Group