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Great Hall

Rub shoulders with railway legends from the past 200 years—from history-makers to record-breakers, Great Hall is home to some awe-inspiring engines.

Jump on board the high-speed Japanese bullet train—the only one of its kind outside of Japan—and learn about travel on the world's fastest passenger rail network. Ignite your imagination with talks and tours from our Explainers, see our impressive turntable in action, and relive Mallard's record-breaking 1938 run in our exhilarating simulator experience.

From engine shed to museum

Before it became a museum, Great Hall was engine shed number four—one of nine in York. Built in 1877, the shed was used to house, clear and prepare steam locomotives for the mainline. In April 1942, along with York Station, it was badly damaged in a German air raid—it was repaired, but many others nearby weren't so lucky.

The shed was used for working engines until 1967 and was then used to store redundant steam locomotives from 1968, when diesel and electric locos were introduced. When the museum opened in 1975 it enjoyed a new lease of life as a perfect space to house our incredible collections.


Browse our online collection for more objects in the Great Hall. If you are visiting to see any of these objects, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Part of the Science Museum Group