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Rail museum holds consultation on major plans


The National Railway Museum will house a consultation on plans for a new Central Hall as part of its vision as the cultural heart of York Central. 

There will be an exhibition and virtual consultation at the museum for 10 days to capture feedback from residents of the city and museum visitors on the plans, which are part of the museum’s Vision 2025 initiative. 

Central Hall is a new space and gallery between the museum’s Great Hall and Station Hall. It will unite the museum buildings and is considered a cornerstone of Vision 2025, the museum’s five-year journey to transform its offer and become the World’s Railway Museum.  It also includes a new ‘Wonderlab’ which is aimed at inspiring children to think like engineers through experience, interactivity and play.

The area will also feature a gallery showcasing the latest innovations in rail technology, a café overlooking the new museum square, shop, flexible event space and new visitor facilities.

The NRM’s new Central Hall will include a café and shop as well as a first-floor gallery.

Sustainability is at the heart of the Central Hall design, with environmentally friendly design principles and materials in keeping with York’s railway history and the surrounding area. Sustainable travel will also be encouraged with electric-vehicle charging points and cycle racks offered on-site.

The consultation process for Central Hall follows a recent decision by the Secretary of State for Transport to approve the stopping up of Leeman Road. Intended as a step forward for the wider York Central scheme, it will facilitate the building of Central Hall, transforming York’s only national museum, connecting its site and helping facilitate improved exhibits that will attract more visitors from the city and from around the world.

Information and a survey on designs for the Central Hall project can be found at railwaymuseum.org.uk/centralhall or visit Station Hall at the museum until 3 November 2021. 

Architect Feilden Fowles won the competition to design the new Central Hall in 2020.

The museum team will be on hand to answer questions and explain the plans on the following times:

  • Wednesday 27 October 2021 – 13:00 – 16:00
  • Saturday 30 October 2021 – 10.00-12.00
  • Tuesday 2 November 2021 – 17.00 – 19.00
Judith McNicol, NRM.

Director of the National Railway Museum Judith McNicol said: “Central Hall is just one aspect of our journey to embed our museum in the heart of our community. We are excited to share the latest plans for the new building, which follow the principles agreed in the outline permission for the wider York Central site.

“This consultation helps provide further detail about the plans to unite the Museum’s estate as never before and deliver Vision 2025. It’s really important that we gather feedback at this early stage in the process so that the plans can evolve to offer as many benefits to our neighbourhood and to our visitors as possible.

“These plans will provide a massive economic boost to York and the wider area, acting as a stimulus for a wide range of other businesses too.”

Greg Dyke, Make It York.

Chairman of Make It York and York Central Strategic Board Greg Dyke said: “The improvements to the National Railway Museum, through the Central Hall project, will enhance York’s cultural development and provide a catalyst to the whole economy of the city and beyond.  It will help to create a national museum that we can be proud of in York and across the country and assist to inspire and educate future generations in technology and the significance of railways across the world.

“Central Hall will act as the gateway to the transformed galleries and spaces and be the cultural heart of York Central.”

The Central Hall plans form an early stage of the delivery of York Central, the 45-hectare regeneration site which is a partnership with Network Rail, Homes England, City of York Council and the museum.

Following analysis of all the feedback from the consultation process, a planning application will be submitted in the coming months.  The improvements are expected to be completed by 2025, which will mark the museum’s 50th Anniversary. 

Feilden Fowles is the architect on the project, having won a UK-wide competition in 2020. 


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