York Central and our future vision

York Central is an exciting development scheme for York with enormous potential to deliver economic growth, jobs and sustainable housing for the city. It offers the greatest opportunity for the museum since we opened in 1975. We want to be the cultural heart of the new development - find out the latest news on this page.


York Central takes a step forward with Central Enterprise Zone support

On 8 July, The York Central project took a major step forward, as our Director Paul along with other key partners met with James Wharton MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government who has responsibility for the Northern Powerhouse. The development would represent the biggest investment in the National Railway Museum since its opening in 1975. Read more in our press release.

York Central

What is our vision for transformation?

York Central will help us deliver our vision for future transformation and, at c. £40 million, would represent the single biggest investment for 40 years. Although we have the best railway collection in the world, our physical infrastructure is not world-class. York Central would provide the catalyst to transform the museum displays for our visitors, which we aim to grow to over 1 million per year. Our plans comprise 7 key projects:

  1. Great Hall – Complete renovation of the Victorian era Great Hall.
  2. Interactive Gallery – Exciting younger generations about the science and engineering behind the railways.
  3. Temporary Exhibition Space – new gallery for hosting major exhibitions.
  4. Central Gallery – New building linking the two halves of our site and providing a world-class welcome and level access.
  5. Park – creation of new public green spaces.
  6. Museum Square – New public space linking the museum, York Central and the City.
  7. Road – Re-routing Leeman Road to enable creation of the Central Gallery and Museum Square.


The seven main projects on the National Railway Museum site

This transformation will offer enormous benefits to our visitors, residents and visitors to the city including:

  • The chance to become a truly world-class museum with an entrance and new Central Gallery that inspires with the epic story of railways.
  • New public green spaces and a public square for visitors and residents to enjoy.
  • Improved access to our site for those with mobility problems and pushchairs.
  • The ability to host major touring exhibitions, normally only seen in capital cities.
  • Economic benefits through an increase in visitor numbers, dwell time and overnight stays.


Artist's impression of the new Museum Square

Re-routing Leeman Road

York Central will involve the creation of new road access into the development site. Leeman Road splits our site in half and creates a number of challenges to accessing and navigating our site. The current approach is far from world-class and the road makes our site difficult to access for less mobile visitors and those with young children and pushchairs, who have to use steps or lifts.

York Central offers the opportunity to close or re-route Leeman Road. This would enable a new Central Gallery to be built. This building would join our galleries and provide a proper orientation and welcome space, as well as level access, dramatically improving the experience for our visitors.

New road access would also help facilitate the movement of rail vehicles onto the museum site, which is currently compromised by low bridges.

We encourage York residents and businesses to join us in supporting the re-routing of Leeman Road to enable these benefits to be realised.

The York City Council consultation on plans for York Central has now closed. We will update this page with information about our future plans as they develop.

Background: L&SWR Adams 563