There are two types of
railway museum; (small) relics museums, featuring railwayana, for example
signs, nameplates, number-plates, models, signaling aids, logo-ed crockery
and silverware pertaining to a particular railway, and museums that
display locomotives, as well as the aforementioned railwayana as well.
Many individual Heritage
railways have their own museum, frequently specializing in the railway
that particular line belonged to. There are effectively four periods that
railwayana will pertain to:-
which occurred in 1923, under the Railways Act 1921. Up to 1923 there were
well over 100 small railway companies.
In 1923 most of these
small railway companies were grouped into four groups, referred to as "The
These were the LNER
(London & North Eastern Railway), the LMS (London, Midland & Scottish),
the SR (Southern Railway), and the GWR (Great Western Railway).
Railwayana from The Big
Four between 1923 and 1948 is the next period.
Followed by 1948 - 1997.
The British Railways period, following total nationalization of the all UK
railways on 1 January 1948. Eventually, British Railways became British
Rail in 1968.
And the final period is
1997 to the present day. Between 1994 -1997, British Rail was split up and
sold back to the private sector. Even more modern railwayana/memorabilia
can be desirable.
Returning to the theme,
following that little digression, typical individual museums on Heritage
lines will feature a cross section of railwayana, though, will likely
specialize in the first two periods, especially the period of The Big
And then we have the
bigger museums, such as the National Railway Museum( NRM) at York, and its
offshoot, a few miles north, Locomotion, at Shildon. Darlington Railway
Museum (also in the north) and STEAM the museum of the Great Western
Railway at Swindon, built in the former GWR works are also notable museums
well worth a visit.
The NRM at York can easily
swallow up four hours, as there is so much to see there. The largest
railway museum in the world, it has a library and archive, along with an
awesome research department which is available to the public; known as the
The main storage room is
an enormous room featuring railwayana of every possible description. There
is so much here of interest, that one can return time and again, and
notice things missed previously.
In case you are wondering,
"why engine-houses"? Why not sheds? In this case, engine-houses are
specially built buildings to not only store, but, also display, out of
ticket steam engines, and other noteworthy carriages or wagons, with full
public access. Which is not always the case with sheds... sheds will come