Discovering the First World War through our archive

This post is written by Claire Marston, our Learning Partnership Co-ordinator.

In the last month, staff from the National Railway Museum learning team have had a fantastic time working with local schools on our First World War learning programme.

We were very kindly invited into Tadcaster Grammar School, Sherburn High School, York High School and Canon Lee School to work with their Year 9 students (aged 13-14) on some of our fantastic archive materials related to the First World War ambulance trains. The students warmly welcomed us and were a credit to their schools.

Tadcaster Grammar School students working with archive materials

Tadcaster Grammar School students working with archive materials

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Bullet train, Chinese locomotive and the rail renaissance

When George Osborne came to the National Railway Museum earlier this month to launch the National Infrastructure Commission he gave his speech in front of KF No.7 built for export to China and only a couple of steps away from the only ‘Shinkansen’ outside of Japan. Once again the National Railway Museum provided potent symbols for a ‘big idea’.


George Osborne launching the National Infrastructure Commission in our Great Hall a fortnight ago. Evening Star is in the background and the KF-7 on the left.

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‘A high entertainment standard’ – films from our archive at the 2015 Aesthetica Short Film Festival

This post was written by Tim Procter and Angelique Bonamy of our Collections and Research Team.

We are dealing with a type of film that is in every respect far removed from the ‘feature’ film production of the Elstrees, Denhams and Hollywoods of this world.

So wrote William Brudenell of the London Midland & Scottish Railway’s Film Services in the company magazine in November 1936, hardly geeing the staff up for a thrilling cinematic experience. But he was perhaps being deliberately modest, as the film unit was still only two years old.

From the November 1936 edition of the LMS Magazine

From the November 1936 edition of the LMS Magazine

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Back to Irk Valley with the L&Y signalling school

Our Lancashire & Yorkshire (L&Y) signalling school, the world’s oldest operating model railway, returns to home territory this coming Saturday (7th November) with a look at the Irk Valley crash of the 15th August 1953.

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Eccentric Engineering: discoveries from the branch lines of railway technology

This blog was written by Tania Parker and Jack Garside, our archive volunteers.

Like all modern technologies, the railways have come a long way from their origins. The evolution of railway engineering has not just been a linear triumphal march from Richard Trevithick’s first steam locomotives to today’s cutting-edge Maglev trains. Throughout railway history engineers have come up with all manner of ideas which in hindsight look rather implausible and wacky. These were nonetheless born out of a desire to improve current technology and solve practical problems facing the railways. During our work in the museum’s archives we have come across some great examples of alternative solutions to engineering problems faced by the railways throughout their history.

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Je suis un train

This guest post is penned by Chris McCandless-Stone, Deputy Fleet Performance Manager for Eurostar.

As a matter of fact I’m a rather cosmopolitan train – part-French, part-Brummie.

I was born, raised and tested in Belfort, France and Washwood Heath, Birmingham, in the UK, courtesy of my Anglo-French parents Alstom, in 1994. As part of the TGV family I have high speed brothers and sisters across Europe and the globe.

One of my brothers in the workshop as Washford Heath depot.

One of my siblings in the workshop at Washwood Heath depot.

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Tobacco and comforts for wounded railwaymen

This blog is written by archive volunteer Robert Demaine.

Our First World War volunteer team have now been working for a year to add more information to our list of fallen railwaymen. This has involved in depth research into our wartime staff magazines, providing fascinating and sometimes surprising insights into Railway Company’s contribution to the war effort.

The months following the outbreak of war in August 1914 saw the establishment of numerous funds for good causes, both nationally and locally. Maintaining the tradition of paternalism often found in railway companies at the time, the London & North Western Railway lost no time in setting up a fund for wounded employees through the pages of its in-house magazine, the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR) Gazette.

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