Interesting facts about us

  • If the National Railway Museum were to digitise the entire collection of paper based artefacts, it would take one person a mind-blowing 240 years of computer scanning.
  • The largest locomotive in the National Railway Museum's collection is the Chinese Locomotive. This huge machine is so large that it is actually 1 foot too wide and 2 foot too high to operate on the British mainline.
  • The National Railway Museum collection includes a lock of Robert Stephenson's hair, which is believed to have been taken at the time of his death. Robert Stephenson was the only son of the early Railway innovator, George Stephenson. Robert's achievements included building the revolutionary steam locomotive Rocket, winner of the Rainhill trials.
  • The National Railway Museum is home to the only Japanese Bullet Train outside Japan. In the 1960s Japan reinvented the passenger railway. The Shinkansen was the first railway designed to move large numbers of people in comfort at high speed, on the Bullet train. The service was compared to air travel and travels at speeds up to 270 km/ph. Learn more in our daily Shinkansen talks.
  • The National Railway Museum's photographic collection is so extensive that on average there are 29 photos for every day since 1850 when the photographic collection began.
  • The National collection includes over 300 locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway related photographs.
  • The National Railway Museum houses a world class collection of Royal trains, which includes a collection of Royal carriages, from those used by Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The National Railway Museum is home to the carriage that Queen Victoria regarded as her palace on wheels. The Queen's favourite carriage originally started life in 1869 as two saloons, and was later made into one single 12 wheeled carriage in 1895.
  • The National Railway Museum's vast art collection comprises of 11,270 posters, 2,358 prints and drawings, 1052 paintings, and 1,750,000 photographs, many of which have never been on public display.
  • The National Railway Museum is a world authority on railway history and preservation, and is regularly invited to attend and contribute to international conferences and events with academic audiences.
  • The National Railway Museum's pictorial collection contains a number of works painted by important British artists including Spencer Frederick Gore, Abraham Solomon, William Powell Frith and John Piper. Some of these unseen works may soon be on display in the Art Gallery, which opened in 2011.
  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts over 700,000 visitors per year.
  • The National Railway Museum collection includes a diary formerly belonging to Robert Stephenson, written in 1834, which contains entries detailing his trips around England on business.
  • The museum houses a Guinness world record holding collection - the largest collection of model railway vehicles built by one man. James Peel Richards' dedication to model building led him to construct 610 model railway vehicles during his lifetime. His aim was to build the entire LNWR fleet of locomotives, carriages and wagons as they would have appeared on one day on the railway.
  • The museum has won more than 20 prestigious awards since 1975 and has won the White Rose Awards for tourism more times than any other Yorkshire attraction.

Background: L&SWR Adams 563