A general view of the refurbished Station Hall courtesy of Paul Bickerdyke

NRM revamps Station Hall and stages shunter event

Published 19th March 2013

York museum spends £1.4m on its 2nd largest space and gives a chance to ride behind its small diesel

The National Railway Museum has given a new look to its Station Hall display, with improved displays, lighting, sound and visual effects. The £1.4m scheme has taken place over the winter months and aims to give a more atmospheric railway feel to the space.

The former goods depot features platforms, locomotives, wagons and carriages - including several important royal vehicles. It is laid out in the style of an old station with posters, barriers and various items once common on railway platforms. The lighting has been improved to better illuminate the objects and give the appearance of sunlight streaking through the station roof.

One of the most obvious alterations is a new entrance from the museum’s main concourse area. Other changes include improved vehicle lighting to give better views of their interiors, while a couple of the carriages have been opened up along with some of the locomotives’ footplates.

The platforms have been filled with typical station objects like suitcases are barrows, with displays of people's stories that allow visitors to learn about different passenger journeys and the experience of working in a station.

The museum says it is aiming to recreate the sights and sounds of a working station such as Waterloo, a large painting of which by Terence Cuneo hangs on one wall. The former railway dog is also on display in a case.

Few developments have been made to the building since it was first used on a temporary basis by the museum in 1990. It is now the museum’s second largest space, and the goal of the make-over is to tell the story of the social history of the railways, allowing visitors to step back in time and get closer to the collection than before.

Rare shunter event

The museum also staged a diesel-electric shunter weekend on March 9 and 10, giving a rare chance to ride behind four of its workhorse locos.

Two locos - Class 02 No. D2860 and Class 08 No. 08064 - are part of the collection, while the other two - Nos. 08911 ‘Matey’ and 09017 - are used to shunt vehicles around the museum.

Nos. 08064 and 09017 are normally confined to the Great Hall side of the museum, with the other two in South Yard. These two parts of the museum are unconnected directly by rail, so the Great Hall shunters - which are not mainline registered - had to be hauled between sites by Deltic No. 55002 ‘The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry’ via the station and city avoiding line.

The three 08/09 locos were used in rotation throughout each day on passenger rides, cab rides, driver experience and cab access duties. Passenger rides were in the museum’s ‘Queen Mary’ brake van along the demonstration line, top-and-tailed by D2860 with one of the other three shunters.

At the end of the day, the two 08s and 09 were lined up for a photoshoot as all three are very rarely together in one place.

Written by Paul Bickerdyke

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