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UK’s first Hyperloop pod completes historic line-up at National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum in York is creating a UK first today as it brings together the past, present and future of rail travel to celebrate the latest stage in the museum’s redevelopment.

The event also marks the unveiling of the museum’s new visual identity and its vision for the future.

At the launch event, more details of the museum’s ambitious masterplan to redevelop the museum and to reach more than one million visitors by 2025 will also be revealed.

Taking place inside the museum’s Great Hall, world-famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman no. 60103 will line up alongside electro-diesel Class 88 locomotive Prometheus and Britain’s first Hyperloop prototype, developed at the University of Edinburgh.

The revolutionary Hyperloop technology could see passenger pods travelling inside near-vacuum tubes at speeds of up to 650 mph and could theoretically reduce York to London journey times to just 20 minutes.

Developed by students at the University of Edinburgh, the experimental Hyperloop craft represents the possible future of high-speed passenger travel and brings ideas from science fiction into reality. The university team has competed in several international Hyperloop competitions and won a number of prestigious awards. The prototype will be going on public display at the museum later in the year. 

The launch event reflects the museum’s commitment to tell the story of the current and future of railway innovation, as well as over 200 years of history, and to inspire and develop the engineers of the future.

Judith McNicol, National Railway Museum Director, said:

“Today’s event offers an exciting glimpse of what could be around the corner in terms of high-speed passenger transport and is a celebration of the past, present and future of the railways.  

“As part of our £50m masterplan, we will be radically reimagining the Great Hall—our venue for today’s event—to tell the epic story of how railways have changed the world and how modern science and engineering continue to transform the railways.

“Unveiling our new visual identity is an important step in achieving our masterplan and as well as confirming our exciting vision for the future, the new brand will bring us closer to the Science Museum Group family.”  

The first stage of the masterplan will see the redevelopment of the Great Hall, the creation of a new Open Store to display up to 11,000 railway objects, and an interactive ‘Wonderlab’ gallery to help young people develop engineering skills.

Planning and fundraising for the masterplan is underway and building work is expected to start on the Great Hall in 2020 and to be completed by 2021. The wider masterplan is scheduled to be ready by 2025 to mark the historic 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington railway.


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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 700,000 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’s vast art collection comprises over 11,000 posters, 2,300 prints and drawings, 1,000 paintings, and 1,750,000 photographs
  • The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, and Locomotion in Shildon
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free

About Flying Scotsman

  • Flying Scotsman was originally built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), emerging from the works on 24 February 1923, and was initially numbered 1472
  • It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class—the most powerful locomotives used by the railway
  • By 1924, when it was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London, the loco had been renumbered 4472 and had been given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the London to Edinburgh rail service which started daily at 10.00 in 1862
  • The engine is recognised worldwide and was the first steam locomotive to achieve an authenticated speed of 100mph and the first to undertake a non-stop run between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley
  • For more information, visit the Flying Scotsman website

About HYPED and Hyperloop

  • The UK’s first prototype Hyperloop pod has been developed by HYPED, a student society at the University of Edinburgh
  • HYPED is accelerating the development of Hyperloop and implementing the innovative technology in the UK
  • The team has won numerous awards and competed in international competitions
  • Formed in summer of 2015, the group participated in the first iteration of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in the United States
  • The pod is an early-stage prototype and will need to be scaled up before it can carry passengers 
  • The technology aims to create an affordable high-speed transport system that travels at speeds of up to 600mph
  • For more information, visit the HYPED website

About Direct Rail Services

  • Direct Rail Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  • The company was established in 1995 and is now a profitable and dynamic business offering a range of transport and logistics services
  • The Class 88 is a type of mixed traffic electro-diesel locomotive manufactured by Stadler Rail for Direct Rail Services
  • The first of Direct Rail Services’ ten Class 88 locomotives entered service in July 2017
  • For more information, visit the Direct Rail Services website