While most of MSCM 398 preferred to go shopping in York, Kelsey, Troy and I opted to make the short walk to the National Railway Museum. A must-see attraction for any fan of trains, technology, or industrial history, the museum beautifully presents the history of railroading in the U.K. The Station Hall includes railway carriages used by royal family members (including a coach fitted out with a luxurious bathroom featuring a full size bathtub), diminutive freight cars (capable of negotiating sharp curves and small tunnels), and displays of railroad advertising. The highlight is The Great Hall, which showcases dozens of locomotives (almost all of the steam variety), most lovingly restored to pristine condition.
While American locomotives (including those displayed at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum) were often larger, few exhibited the shiny paint and polished brass of these Victorian and Edwardian beauties, which showcased Britain’s pride in its state-of-the-art railway system. We were lucky enough to be present for the demonstration of the museum’s working turntable, which prompted me to tell the operator as she passed by, “I want your job!” Our visit to the museum was fascinating, educational, and a great deal of fun.