The York Railfest a Celebration of Trains

Railways were invented in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and it was because of railways that humans were able to travel at speed for the first time, and to haul large loads over land for long distances.

It is therefore fitting that the world’s largest railway museum, the National Railway Museum, should be headquartered in England, in the city of York. It’s a museum which regularly receives over one million visitors each year.

Today the museum has expanded to house its collection in two different locations, at the original premises, which occupies a former locomotive depot near the centre of York, and at Shildon in County Durham.

As you would expect for a country that has more than its fair share of rail enthusiasts, The NRM occasionally puts on a display that is truly spectacular, and in the year when the Olympic Games are to be held in London, the National Rail Museum will be showcasing the best of historic British rail.

Britain’s biggest celebration of trains and railways takes place this June in York. Railfest 2012 will bring together more than 30 record-breaking locomotives that have made their mark on rail history for being the fastest, largest, strongest, first, last or oldest.

It truly will be a spectacular occasion for those who have an interest in trains.

Record-breakers on display will include Mallard, the fastest steam locomotive at 126mph; the newly restored Flying Scotsman, the first locomotive to reach 100mph; Tornado, the newest mainline steam locomotive in operation; and Ffestiniog Railway’s George England 0-4-0STT Palmerston, the oldest steamable narrow gauge locomotive, which will be joined by FR carriage No.15, the oldest operational bogie coach in the world.

During the festival visitors will be able to climb inside drivers’ cabs, ride on trains large and small and examine rarely-seen vehicles like a sailing train, snow ploughs and leaf blowers. There will also be a wide variety of miniature locos and toy train displays.

The National Railway Museum contains within its collections imore than 100 locomotives, 250 items of rolling stock and thousands of other objects from posters and tickets to uniforms and silverware.

The Railfest is not an annual event as the last one was held back in 2004 when it attracted more than 60,000 visitors.

As the event is very popular, this year the NRM will open on a couple of evenings after the bulk of the crowds have left, and limit the number of visitors so that the true enthusiasts can enjoy the locomotives without the threat of the thronging masses getting in the way of those perfectly positioned shots.

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