The National Railway Museum in York has a £50 million, seven-year masterplan designed to increase visitor numbers from 750,000 to 1.2 million. The project will see the two halves of the museum – now divided by Leeman Road – unified by a brand new building.
“Our ambitious redevelopment plans will radically reimagine the visitor experience to demonstrate how railways changed our world and how modern science and engineering are transforming our railways,” said Tom Devine of the National Railway Museum.
The York Central project will help the Museum deliver their vision for future transformation and represents the single biggest investment for 40 years. While the Museum has the best railway collection in the world, their physical infrastructure is not world-class. York Central will provide the catalyst to transform the museum displays for visitors. The ambitious plans comprise six key projects:
Great Hall – Complete renovation of the Victorian-era Great Hall to tell the epic stories of how the railways changed the world
Wonderlab – Exciting younger generations about the science and engineering behind the railways
Central Gallery – cornerstone of unique sense of place around Museum Square featuring railways into the future, highlighting what could be possible with engineering technology
South Yard – enhancing the outdoor area to provide more green space and to improve the visitor experience
Museum Square – Linking the museum and station with a new public space for York, featuring the historic coal drops at its heart
Road – Re-routing of Leeman Road on to the future York Central road network to enable the Central Gallery and Museum Square, together with removing through traffic from the Salisbury Terrace area
The first phase of the redevelopment – the Great Hall – will start in 2019. The hall will be closed while the work is done, with more exhibits moved to the South Yard. The new Great Hall and Wonder Lab would open in 2021. The Central Gallery work would start in 2023 – targeting an opening in 2025, the 50th anniversary of the museum and the 200th anniversary of passenger railways.