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Royals on Rails at the National Railway Museum to mark the Platinum Jubilee

Programme of royal-themed activities including conservation demonstrations, family activities and new Royals on Rails exhibition.

The National Railway Museum is inviting visitors to share in the luxury of royal travel with a season of royal-themed activities and a new exhibition to coincide with Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Families can learn about how the railways have changed during the Queen’s 70-year reign and can take part in hands-on activities and free talks by the museum’s learning team. Visitors can also see a new temporary exhibition called Royals on Rails in the museum’s Highlights Gallery which overlooks the Great Hall.

Running from 27 May – 4 September 2022, the exhibition will feature a selection of unique objects from the collection with a royal connection. The exhibition also includes a specially-commissioned film which explores the link between royal patronage and the development of the railways and gives visitors a glimpse inside the museum’s collection of royal carriages.

The six royal carriages on permanent display in Station Hall include Queen Victoria’s grand 1869 saloon and one of Queen Elizabeth’s former carriages from the royal train.

Built during the Second World War, Queen Elizabeth’s carriage was designed to give maximum protection to its royal occupants. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth frequently travelled around the country to boost morale and to keep them safe on their journeys, the carriage was fitted with armour plating and shutters over the windows. Details of the carriage were kept secret until after the war.

From 1952, the carriage became the personal saloon of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, before being replaced in 1977, when it joined the museum collection.

Liv Mills, Exhibitions Project Manager, said:

“The continued use of rail travel by the royal family marked a growing shift towards how we imagine the monarchy: visible, ceremonial and travelling in luxury. The new exhibition Royals on Rails will enable visitors to admire the exquisite royal carriages and to take a glimpse inside the rooms in which royal duties were conducted.”

On Wednesday 1 June, visitors will also be able to see conservation in action as the museum’s conservation team carry out work on the royal carriages, with experts on hand to answer questions from the public.

Free learning activities will be running over May half term (28 May – 5 June). These include the opportunity to learn about shapes while making flags and bunting, to create a royal railway track and to get moving with family-friendly Flux Education Theatre on 1, 4 and 5 June in Station Hall.

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About the National Railway Museum

  • The National Railway Museum in York in the UK, 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, visit:

Part of the Science Museum Group