Category Archives: Small object collections

What’s your favourite toy train?

We’ve been going through all the toys in the National Railway Museum’s collection. It might seem a bit odd that we collect toys, but as every parent knows, kids love trains. For lots of us our first introduction to railways … Continue reading

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Captain Bill and the ‘Old Lady’

Captain W G (Bill) Smith VRD, RNVR, is not a name that many people, outside of the world of railway preservation, have heard of.  But Bill, an important railway pioneer, is memorialised in two locomotives and a set of nameplates, … Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, Museum news, Small object collections | 1 Comment

Turning Gold to Lead; the first ‘Great Train Robbery’.

Today the words ‘Great Train Robbery’ mean the events of 8th August 1963, when a night mail train was robbed of its cargo of cash. But sitting on display at the National Railway Museum is a small wooden box and … Continue reading

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They were the Champions!

The vast majority of our railway uniform collections represent established railway occupations, ranging from porter to station master. However, once in a while, we acquire uniforms that evoke a certain moment in time – in this case the London 2012 … Continue reading

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Happy 100th birthday to a tiny railway with a big history

The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Signalling School – a model railway layout used to train real-life signallers  – recently celebrated its 100th birthday with a three-day have-a go event here at the museum. On Friday, our director Paul Kirkman (below, … Continue reading

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A Christmas jigsaw for clumsy railway staff

As a last minute Christmas card, this object from the Museum’s small objects collection is pretty useful. The jigsaw was given by the Great Western Railway around 1935 as a Christmas present to employees, as a way of reminding them to … Continue reading

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The piece of plastic that keeps the rail network running

This dispatch baton, recently donated to the museum, may be a familiar sight to many of you. It is usually wielded by a member of platform staff at larger stations to signal that a train is ready to leave If … Continue reading

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A Charles II-era gold coin uncovered

Over the past month, the Knowledge & Collections department has been host to Elanor Henry, a member of the Museum and Artefacts Studies Course at the University of Durham. Elanor’s main aim was to gain firsthand experience working in a … Continue reading

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The secret life of a museum exhibit

The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway signalling school layout (L&Y) was built in 1912 to teach railway workers the art of signalling trains. You might imagine that this training aid from the Edwardian age would have no place on the 21st … Continue reading

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Station Hall redevelopment starts

I’m Joe Savage, an Interpretation Manager at the National Railway Museum. I work with the exhibitions team and I am always on the lookout for fun ways of interpreting our spectacular objects (as well as the objects that are less … Continue reading

Posted in Museum news, Rail vehicle collections, Small object collections, Station Hall redevelopment | 10 Comments