Attractions industry news

09 Jan 2018

York's National Railway Museum finalising £50m development masterplan

The National Railway Museum in York has said its £50m (US$67.6m, €56.7m) masterplan still is still being finalised, following local reports revealing new details about the institution’s redevelopment.

Marking the most significant redevelopment since its opening in 1975, the museum’s seven-year masterplan hinges on the wider development of the 178-acre (720,000sq m) York Central brownfield site.

Designated an Enterprise Zone in 2015, the site’s regeneration will help fund the museum’s redevelopment, with 50 per cent of business rates which would have gone back to government helping to provide funding for investment into infrastructure across the site.

“The detail of our plans and the exact timetable are all subject to funding and we have a long way to go to make our vision a reality,” said Judith McNicol, director of the National Railway Museum, in a statement to Attractions Management.

“There are many things that need to come together to enable us to deliver our aspirations, including the broader York Central development.

"We want to take our visitors on this special journey with us over the coming years and I look forward to sharing more about our plans and how people can get involved as this detail is firmed up.”

Split into six parts, the masterplan will first include a complete renovation of the Victorian-era Great Hall, which will tell visitors stories of how railways changed the world.

Under the Science Museum Group umbrella, the second part of the development will see the launch of a new Wonderlab, which will teach children and young adults about the science and engineering behind railways. The Central Gallery will also be redeveloped as will the South Yard.

Part five will create a new public space for York, with the new Museum Square also linking the museum and station. Finally, the masterplan includes a rerouting of Leeman Road on to the future York Central road network to remove through traffic in the area.

“We have a really bold vision for the museum and exciting ambitions for its transformation that would bring huge benefits to the local community and all our visitors,” said McNicol.

“The redeveloped museum would open up our fantastic collections to many thousands more people and enable them to discover the vital impact that railways have had upon all our lives, as well as inspiring the next generation of rail engineers.”

Further public consultations on plans for York Central are scheduled to be held by the City of York Council over the course of the coming months.

With the masterplan completed, visitor numbers are projected to rise, increasing from 750,000 visitors a year to 1.2 million.

It is hoped work will start in 2019, with a grand reopening taking place in 2025 – the 50th anniversary of the museum and the 200th anniversary of passenger railways.

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