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National Railway Museum submits plans for its vision to be world’s railway museum

A detailed application for a new Central Hall at the National Railway Museum (NRM) has been submitted to City of York Council part of the museum’s £55m Vision 2025 to transform it into the world’s railway museum.

The museum says that Vision 2025 is a six-year journey to it becoming ‘a global engineering powerhouse and a reinvented, inspiring 21st-century attraction’.

Central Hall will be a new welcome space and gallery linking the museum’s Great Hall and Station Hall exhibition spaces, which are currently separated by a road.

Inspire next generation of engineers

“We are very pleased to reach this milestone and submit the planning application. Central Hall is a major part of the wider Vision 2025 strategy which will not only improve our offer, but also help us to inspire the next generation of engineers,’ NRM director, Judith McNicol, said:

“We would like to thank everyone who came along to our engagement sessions and to those who viewed the exhibition and contributed feedback online – it’s helping us to ensure that our plans for Central Hall reflect what our visitors and community wants us to be now and in the future.

The NRM, which opened in 1975, is part of the Science Museum Group and tells the story of rail transport in Britain and its impact on society.

Stephenson’s rocket and The Flying Scotsman

It is the home of the national collection of historically significant locomotives and rolling stock including the Stephenson’s Rocket – built in 1829 to run on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world’s first inter-city passenger railway line – the Mallard, Duchess of Hamilton and it acquired The Flying Scotsman in 2004.

The planning submission for Central Hall follows a public consultation held in October 2021, which included an in-person exhibition at the NRM supported by a virtual consultation.

Innovations in rail technology

Central Hall will feature a gallery showcasing the latest innovations in rail technology, a café overlooking the new museum square, a shop, flexible event space and new visitor facilities.

It will also include a new ‘Wonderlab’, aimed at inspiring children to think like engineers using interactive exhibits and games. The plans form an early stage of the delivery of York Central, the 45-hectare regeneration site which is a partnership between Network Rail, Homes England, City of York Council and the museum.

In line with the Estate Decarbonisation Strategy, Vision 2025 is creating a site-wide Masterplan for Energy and carbon reduction. This will address four key areas of improvement: building fabric, heating appliances, management systems and monitoring.

The improvements are expected to be completed by 2025, which will mark the museum’s 50th anniversary.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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