Skip to main content

Official opening for Doncaster's Rail Heritage Centre

A truly remarkable Rail Heritage Centre which takes centre stage inside Danum Gallery, Library and Museum has been officially opened in Doncaster.

Doncaster Council, the Trustees of the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection and the National Railway Museum marked the occasion with a special ceremony now the Covid restrictions have been lifted.

The Rail Heritage Centre includes the Doncaster-built Green Arrow and No. 251 locomotives, loaned from the National Railway Museum, and masses of rail-related exhibits and memorabilia from the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection. Many of these items are on display for the very first time and will be refreshed with additional exhibits at regular intervals.

The Centre showcases the importance of the rail industry and the pivotal role Doncaster and its world-famous Plant Works have played in rail history.

Damian Allen, Chief Executive of Doncaster Council, who was present at the event, said: “It is fantastic to welcome to Danum Gallery, Library and Museum the people who have contributed to making this astounding Rail Heritage Centre possible. It’s been a true partnership effort. Having two locomotives back home in Doncaster where they were built, complemented by an incredible array of rail related exhibits and artefacts is just incredible. Together they showcase the golden age of steam and the vital role Doncaster played in making it happen.”

Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure, Culture and Planning, said: “Danum Gallery, Library and Museum is a wonderful community asset and visitor attraction in Doncaster town centre. It features the restored frontage of the former Doncaster High School for Girls and many of its original features. It has modern libraries and educational facilities, fascinating museums, a great art gallery and, of course, a marvellous Rail Heritage Centre. The building offers visitors a remarkable experience as they are taken on a journey through Doncaster’s rich and varied history. It’s a place for people to learn and importantly enjoy. I thank everyone who contributed to this amazing Rail Heritage Centre.”

To mark the day, the Trustees of the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection have also released a new book titled Treasures in the Tower. The book tells the story of the unique collection they built up over many decades. It’s available to purchase from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum shop and Doncaster Tourist Information Centre.

Chris Barron, representing the Trustees of the Grammar School collection, commented: “This is the result of a long, but successful, collaboration. The Trustees are delighted with the outstanding support we have received from the Council. We look forward to working alongside Heritage staff to make the collection better known and appreciated by local people and visitors from all over the world.” 

Andrew McLean, Head Curator at the National Railway Museum, said: "The National Railway Museum is proud to partner with Doncaster Council to loan two of the most iconic of all Doncaster-built locomotives to add to the rail heritage centre’s rich and fascinating displays. By celebrating Doncaster’s important contribution to the railways, I hope future generations will be inspired to make their own mark in continuing the engineering legacy of this great town.”

More information on the Rail Heritage Centre is available at Danum Gallery, Library and Museum’s website: www.DGLAM.org.uk  

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Simon Baylis, National Railway Museum
01904 686 299 /simon.baylis@railwaymuseum.org.uk

Julian Cotton, Doncaster Borough Council
01302 862351 / Julian.Cotton@doncaster.gov.uk

Notes to editors

The Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection was started in 1948 by the school’s Railway Society.  The instigator and eventual curator of the Collection was Tony Peart, a boy at the school who continued building up the thousands of pieces until he died in 2006.  The Collection is diverse and varied, reflecting railways in every part of the UK but with a clear emphasis on Doncaster’s heritage.

Pride of place goes to nameplates from locomotives designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built at Doncaster such as ‘Cock O’ The North’ and ’Silver King’.  After 70 years hidden away in a tower at what is now Hall Cross Academy, the Collection is now being put on public display for the first time at the Doncaster Rail Heritage Centre.

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, equipment, documents, records, artwork and photographs
  • 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
  • The National Railway Museum in York is open five days a week Wednesday–Sunday. To book free tickets, visit: www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/visit

Part of the Science Museum Group