Virgin Trains East Coast today teamed up with the National Railway Museum to celebrate four decades of the first national museum outside London – with help from three volunteers who’ve been there from the very beginning.
David Horne, Virgin Trains East Coast Managing Director, and Paul Kirkman, National Railway Museum Director, named locomotive number 43238 ‘National Railway Museum 40 Years 1975 – 2015’ on the platform at York station.
The same locomotive previously carried the name ‘National Railway Museum – The First Ten Years 1975 – 1985’ for 12 years from 1985. It now wears a distinctive and specially-designed livery, depicting key exhibits from the Museum’s collection, including the working replica of Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’, and ‘Locomotion No.1’ which is currently on loan to Darlington’s Head of Steam Railway Museum.
Invited guests and passengers joined in the celebration, with the three long-serving volunteers – David Eastoe, Peter Brumby and Rob Tibbits – marking a collective 120 years’ service at today’s event. Together, they blew out candles on a specially-designed celebration cake which re-created the unique livery worn by the locomotive named at York station today.
The train operator and the Museum also announced today that an exclusive Hornby model of locomotive 43238 is to be made, with a limited production run going on sale in Spring 2016.
David Horne, Virgin Trains East Coast Managing Director, said: “Our Virgin red trains represent a new era in railway history, just as the National Railway Museum’s birthday marks a milestone in our railway heritage.
“As part of the branding of our train fleet in Virgin red, we have taken the opportunity to restore locomotive 43238’s association with the NRM and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Museum’s opening.
“It seems only fitting that we should dedicate one of our locomotives to mark four decades of this amazing visitor attraction, which has created special memories for millions of visitors in Britain and around the world, and which now attracts hundreds of thousands of people to York, the heart of our network.
“The Hornby model will make an exciting and unique keepsake of this milestone in the history of Britain’s railways, and we’re sure it’ll be in great demand from collectors and rail enthusiasts alike.”
Paul Kirkman, National Railway Museum Director, said:
Anniversaries are times of reflection, and it is with huge pride that we recognise the development of the National Railway Museum over the last 40 years.
I am truly grateful to the many organisations that have worked with us over that time – especially our esteemed counterparts in the railway industry. They help us to tell the amazing stories of the railways, old and new, so that our visitors can understand the importance of the industry and its impact on us and the world.
Anniversaries are also a time for looking forward. Forty years ago, rail passenger numbers had been declining since the 1950s and stood only a little above their all-time low. To many, it must have felt as though a golden age had passed and the glory days were consigned to history. How different the world feels now: passenger numbers continue to grow and the country’s most significant infrastructure schemes are railways.
Long-serving National Railway Museum volunteer Rob Tibbits said:
It’s been a pleasure being present at all the milestone moments for the Museum, including the opening of Station Hall in 1995 and the addition of Search Engine in 2008, big rail events including the Railfest celebrations of 2004 and 2012, the award-winning Mallard 75 season, and numerous Royal visits.
We can’t wait to see what the next 40 years will bring, starting with next year’s return of the legendary steam loco ‘Flying Scotsman’.
Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon, County Durham, is sister venue to the NRM in York, and is a joint venture between the National Railway Museum and Durham County Council.
Chairman of the Locomotion Joint Management Board Brian Greenwood said:
We’re delighted to support today’s event, which recognises 40 years of promoting railway heritage at the National Railway Museum in York.
It’s also excellent news that an exclusive Hornby model of locomotive 43238 in its impressive new livery is to be produced, and I’m sure this limited edition model will be in high demand when it goes on sale next Spring.
Museum visitors past and present are also being invited to share their memories, photos and videos of 40 years of the National Railway Museum via a dedicated page on the attraction’s website. For more information, visit: www.nrm.org.uk/NRM-40.
For more information on Virgin Trains East Coast services and great value fare deals to visit the National Railway Museum in York, visit: www.virgintrainseastcoast.com.