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National Railway Museum reimagines vintage travel posters to boost lockdown spirits

As May bank holiday approaches and widespread travel bans remain in place, the National Railway Museum in York has reimagined a set of classic railway travel posters from its collection.

Designed to show support for key workers, including those working in the rail industry, the set of ten popular travel posters features vintage artwork with new messages updated to reflect the Government’s travel advice.

A gallery of the posters can be found at the bottom of this page.

Covering scenic travel destinations such as the Norfolk Broads and the Yorkshire coast, the posters invite people to ‘visit when this is all over’ or to ‘visit online’ instead.

Originally intended to promote holiday destinations served by railway companies, historic railway posters were often created by well-known artists of the day to entice passengers.

The National Railway Museum has a collection of 10,700 posters and other railway artwork dating from 1804 to the present day. The collection includes examples from the pre-grouping railway companies, the Big Four, British Railways and items from private operating companies. 

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said:

“At a time of widespread travel restrictions, we hope that re-creating a selection of the most popular travel posters will enable people to enjoy some of their favourite holiday destinations while celebrating the style and glamour of these works of art. This is also a way for us to show our support for the nation’s keyworkers, including many of the 115,000 railway workers who are continuing to keep things running during this time.

“While we can’t visit these destinations this bank holiday, we hope that these reimagined posters might raise a smile and give people something to look forward to once the lockdown is lifted.”

Part of the Science Museum Group, the National Railway Museum closed to the public on March 17, as part of government measures to control the spread of coronavirus. Despite temporary closure, the Group’s collection is still available to explore online at: https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/

The set of posters will be available to download for free from the National Railway Museum website. Original poster artwork can be downloaded at the Science and Society Picture Library: www.ssplprints.com.

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Simon Baylis, PR & Press Manager
01904 686 299

simon.baylis@railwaymuseum.org.uk)

Peter Livesey, Communications Officer
01904 809 646
peter.livesey@railwaymuseum.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  • All posters and original artwork copyright of the National Railway Museum and Science and Society Picture Library

Poster information 

The Yorkshire Coast

Poster produced for British Railways (BR) North Eastern Region to promote rail services to the Yorkshire coast. The poster shows a train travelling on a coastline track, with cliffs and the sea in the background, and a couple with a child walking down to the beach. Artwork by an unknown artist.

Norfolk Broads

London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) poster advertising rail services to the Norfolk Broads. Artwork by Septimus E Scott.

London (London Pride) 

Poster produced by Great Western Railway (GWR) to promote rail travel to London. The poster shows a view across the Thames to the Houses of Parliament. Artwork by Frank Mason (1876-1965), who was educated at HMS Conway and spent time at sea. He painted marine and coastal subjects. In addition to designing railway posters, he was also involved in engineering and shipbuilding in Leeds and Hartlepool.

Wales

Great Western Railway poster. Artwork by Michael Reilly.

Scottish Highlands

'Deer Stalking in the Highlands'; London Midland & Scottish Railway/London & North Eastern Railway poster showing stags amidst mountain scenery. Artwork by W Smithson Broadhead, a portrait and horse painter who designed posters for the LNER and joint posters for other rail companies.

London

London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) poster showing St Paul's Cathedral, London. Artwork by James Bateman.

Brighton

London Midland & Scottish Railway poster. Artwork by Septimus E Scott.

Northern Ireland

Poster produced for London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) to promote rail travel to Northern Ireland. The poster shows a view of the ruins of Dunluce Castle on the north coast of County Antrim. The castle was first built by Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, in the 13th century. It is situated on 100-foot high basalt cliffs with a sea cave underneath. This poster attempts to capture the beauty and mystery of the ruins. Artwork by Julius Olsson.

North East Coast

Whitby, BR poster, c 1950s. 'North-East Coast', British Railways poster showing this popular North Yorkshire coastal resort. Artwork by Charles Oppenheimer.

Cornwall

Great Western Railway poster showing a harbour scene. Artwork by Leonard Richmond.

About the National Railway Museum

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts 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 and costume, equipment, documents, records, 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, for more information visit: www.railwaymuseum.org.uk