The National Railway Museum in York plans to reopen from Wednesday 19 May – complete with a new exhibition.
Closed since 31 December, the Leeman Road attraction houses more than 100 carriages and locomotives.
And there’ll be a new exhibition called Railway Heroes. People can book their free tickets from today.
Railway Heroes is a photographic exhibition celebrating key workers on the railway and their role in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Featuring in the exhibition are 16 people from different parts of the rail industry. Visitors can find out more about their contributions, whether it was keeping the country moving in their day jobs, sewing PPE in their spare time or organising letter-writing campaigns to help people stay in touch.
Stephanie Hart, who works in IT Services at Network Rail and whose story is part of the exhibition, said: “The railways have so many people with different skill sets – it was amazing to see people making items for the NHS, putting up hospital beds, delivering food parcels and medication and giving up their time to volunteer to help others.
“I really feel we’ve been able to add so much more than simply running a railway.”
New audio trail
From 19 May, visitors will also be able to enjoy a new audio trail which has been created to give people the chance to delve a bit deeper into the history of the museum.
Accessible for free via smartphone, the tour takes listeners back to a time when the museum’s Great Hall was a busy engine shed and Station Hall was a working goods depot.
Prepared by the museum’s curatorial and exhibition teams, the trail features ten locations which explore York’s railway history, including the Baedeker bombing raids of 1942 which badly damaged parts of the city – there is a plaque in Great Hall today marking the spot where bombs fell.
To visit the museum, people are being asked to observe social distancing, wear a facemask (unless exempt) and book online in advance. Ticket numbers will be limited to timed slots to help keep people safe and entry will remain free of charge.
Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: “As we reopen it is important to state that the safety of our visitors and our colleagues comes first, and we have made sure that a trip to the museum remains an enjoyable and safe experience for everyone.
?We have introduced a range of measures to reassure people, with additional cleaning, hand sanitisers and signage, as well as reduced capacity to help with social distancing and ventilation.
“It is my hope that this will be our last ‘reopening’ as the Covid risk continues to ease and we can continue to welcome back our visitors to enjoy Railway Heroes, our audio trail and everything else the museum has to offer.”
NRM opening details
The National Railway Museum will be open 10.00 –17.00, Wednesday to Sunday (Monday to Sunday over school holidays).
The Great Hall café, shop and indoor and outdoor play areas as well as South Yard will reopen from 19 May, although passenger rides, the miniature railway, Open Store and visitor talks will resume later in the year.
The popular road train that runs between the museum and Duncombe Place next to York Minster, will also be running a regular service from 19 May. During May half term, family visitors can take part in free, pop-up science activities and demonstrations.