Saturday, 1 December 2012

NRM Post 1: On The Walkabout...

Hi everyone. Today, in freezing weather, we were off to York. The medieval city of York is home to the famous National Railway Museum. From the city centre you can make your way on foot to Leemans Road where the Museum entrance sits close by the East Coast Main line, in the shadow of the arches of York Railway Station, which were famously caved in during the World War II air raids. In fact, the roof was not the only thing to suffer: A4 pacific No4469 "Sir Ralph Wedgwood" was damaged beyond repair during the raids, after a bomb struck York North Shed (now part of the NRM) where she was stabled. Walking into the NRM your entry is FREE, with the exhibits being split into two main halls: the Great Hall, and Station Hall. We began in Station Hall where we saw the usual exhibits including the luxury 'Royal Train' stock and the TPO coach. Station Hall has recently received a bit of a revamp and is looking very smart. At the back of Station Hall we stepped out into the South Yard, where a familiar little engine stood simmering away...
"Teddy" With Her Coach & Brakevan
This little Peckett is "Teddy". I remembered her well but this is the first time I'd ever seen her in steam. The locomotive used to be owned by Teddy Boston and, after a brief spell steaming at Shackerstone in the 1970s, the engine ended up stored on Teddy's front garden, as part of the Cadeby Light Railway collection. Visitors to Cadeby will remember her imposing presence on the front lawn there, where she stood for many years. When the Cadeby railway unfortunately closed in 2005, the collection was sold off and "Teddy" (then nameless) was purchased and restored. Back on the rails, she makes for a very small engine with tiny driving wheels. Built in 1941, she is currently providing the NRM with a useful and powerful addition to its fleet and takes turns with "City of Truro" giving train rides up the yard. I was really pleased that I saw her. Whilst outside I also heard a familiar sound on the wind; the lengthy cry of an A4 chime. (That was "Union" on her way into York).
As well as "Teddy", I particularly enjoyed seeing the 0-4-2 "Gladstone", which carries a beautiful LBSC livery. From Station Hall we continued through the subway under Leemans Road to the Great Hall. The impressive size of this building is the first thing to hit you as you enter. The engines stand proudly around the working turntable, with others stored to one side on other spur sidings. The A4 "Mallard" (recently repainted) stands proudly on her road, looking as impressive as the day she was built. This beautiful pacific reached the highest speed yet achieved by any steam locomotive in the world: 126mph, back in July 1938. The A4s were a 35-strong class of 3-cylinder pacifics designed by Sir Nigel Gresley of the LNER. Of the 35 sisters, 6 remain in preservation. "Bittern", "Union", "Mallard" and "Sir Nigel Gresley" remained on home soil, whilst the other two (60008 & 60010) went to the USA. However, happily, in 2012, the pair have returned to their UK roots, in a massive movement organised by the NRM. 60010 "Dominion of Canada" is currently at the NRM Shildon whilst a dusty 60008 "Dwight D Eisenhower" stood not far from "Mallard" in the Great Hall today. Her tender has been repainted but her streamlined casing still carries the livery applied by BR before she left for the US. I am glad they were brought back, if only for a photograph. However, it does seem a shame that with all that money spent the two A4s will still be going back to the US again, within 2 years.
60008 With Its Rods Painted A Horrid Grey
From the Great Hall we passed through into the Warehouse section, which houses everything from railway cutlery to signals, 5" locomotives and the V2 "Green Arrow". You could spend hours in this place alone!
From the Warehouse we climbed the ramp through th Flying Scotsman Story, reading about her tragic trip to the USA and the slightly better trip to Australia. Leaving this exhibition we took the stairs up to the York Station viewing platform and through the signalling display area. We then passed through the Works where we spotted the ill-fated "Flying Scotsman" (see next post) and "Olton Hall" before reaching the Great Hall again.
We did seem to whip around the NRM very quickly but then again we have visited many times. It is huge, and the locomotives on display are immaculately kept. The museum is a real gem, and is worth a visit from anybody. I love it here, I really do. If you haven't been up there then get up to York and have a look around...its FREE...what more do you want?! Cheers guys. Sam.

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