My partner and I made a trip to York this week to spend a day at the National Railway Museum. It was a good 4-5 hour road trip from where I live in Canterbury and worth every second of it! My partner finds model railway a brilliant way to express his creativity in a structured and procedural way. I totally support this because it is something that he enjoys and has learnt so much about in under a year! I loved learning about all the stuff he knows. That was really a very special moment. There was a moment at the National railway museum when I just totally understood it. I guess before I had seen model trains fmade by manufactures such as Hornby and Bachman – even purchased them as presents for my partner and assumed that they were based on a real train that existed at some point long before I did, with a new funky colour schemes and a big price tag to make money. Steam trains felt a world away from me and my generation. It’s easy to see a toy and think that is all there is. Seeing these beautiful life size machines up close in their retirement made me realise how real, and how magnificent they really are. I just understood in an emotional way that I had only understood in knowledge before – one might say that I felt it. I learnt so much – like at the same time England was producing these fabulously ornate mechanisms that transform heat and water into energy capable of pushing steel, Japan was producing something that looks more like the trains we travel on today. I also learnt that at the same period as steam trains, the very first diesel engines were being produced and electric cars where a thing back in the 1960’s! Wow. Who knew?!
The museum itself was very impressively done with plenty of interactive moments to actually go on and touch the real steam engines (we got some great snaps!) We got to sit in the drivers seat of Mallard – the worlds (recorded) fastest steam engine.. Astonishingly just a few years later the first Japanese bullet train traveled only 3mph faster than Mallard! THATS how fast that steam engine could go! I also enjoyed the fantastic collection of royal trains such as Queen Elizabeth and King Edwards personal engines. One of my favourite parts was a cut open steam engine that demonstrated the anatomy of how steam trains function. My partner and I had great fun figuring out the energy exchange process. Overall I found the National Railway Museum to be outstanding, and it is completely FREE!!! Totally recommended to anyway – train lovers or not.