Great Hall

Rub shoulders with railway legends, from history-makers to record-breakers. This former engine shed is home to over 300 years of railway history including some of the biggest locomotives in the National Collection.

The Great Hall at the National Railway Museum

Please note Great Hall will close at 3pm on Thursday 8 March.

Jump on board the high-speed Japanese bullet train – the only one of its kind outside of Japan – and learn about travel on the world's fastest passenger rail network. See giants of steam clustered around a genuine turntable. Take a ride on our Mallard Simulator as you re-live the record-breaking run in 1938.

You can only obtain access to The Works and The Warehouse through the Great Hall. From the Search Engine on the upper level, you can enjoy views across this awe-inspiring space. And our smaller visitors can enjoy some train themed play in our Little Play Station.

Great Hall's history

Before it became a museum, the Great Hall was engine shed number four - one of nine in York. Built in 1877 the shed was used to house, clear and prepare steam locomotives for the mainline. In April 1942, along with York Station, it was badly damaged in a German air raid but repaired: many others nearby weren't so lucky.

It was used for working engines until 1967 and was used to store redundant steam locomotives from 1968 when diesel and electric locos were introduced. When the National Railway Museum opened in 1975 it was the ideal space to house our collection, enjoying a second lease of life!

Our Collection in Great Hall

  • Mallard

    Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, in 1938 Mallard broke the world speed record for steam locomotives, a record that has never been beaten.
  • Shinkansen - bullet train

    Japan's high-speed railway revolution resulted in the remarkable bullet train - the forerunner of high-speed trains everywhere.
  • Replica Rocket

    Almost everyone has heard of Stephenson's Rocket. George Stephenson and his son Robert, were amongst the very first locomotive engineers.
  • Ellerman Lines

    We have rebuilt this Merchant Navy class to demonstrate how a steam locomotive works. Come along to one of our talks.
  • Evening Star

    Evening Star was the last steam locomotive to be built for British Railways.
  • Duchess of Hamilton

    The streamlined Duchess is a stunning piece of 1938-built Art Deco opulence that wowed design critics on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • City of Truro

    City of Truro was the first locomotive to have reached 100mph, in 1904.
  • KF-7 - Chinese Loco

    The Chinese locomotive is the largest single locomotive in the museum - over 15 foot tall and more than 93 feet long.
  • Bauxite

    Built in 1875 Bauxite is a rare survivor, a tank engine only ever in industrial use, preserved over 60 years ago.
  • Southern Railway Q1

    The Q1 was built in 1942 to a design by the innovative OVS Bulleid for the Southern Railway to help deal with the huge increase in rail traffic caused by the Second World War.
  • Class 31 diesel locomotive

    Designed to replace steam as part of the British Railways Modernisation Plan of 1955 examples of this type of diesel locomotive are still in service for Network Rail.
  • Electric locomotive 26060

    Using Britain's first electrified mainline railway, 26060 was built to haul coal trains from South Yorkshire to power stations near Manchester.
  • Coppernob

    A rare example of a Bury locomotive, Coppernob had a long service on the Furness railway until around 1898.
  • Eurostar

    The power car is the centre of a new exhibition that acknowledges the historic role the train has served in connecting the UK with mainland Europe.
  • Bodmin & Wadebridge carriage

    Enjoy access into our second class carriage, which is one of the oldest passenger carriages in the national collection.
  • SECR 737

    Built 1901 in Ashford, this is an elaborately decorated example of an express service.
  • Agenoria

    Built the same year as rocket - 1829 - Agenoria is typical of the old technology at the time.
  • LMS 2500

    This engine ran on the London, Tilbury and Southern commuter line until it was electrified in 1962.
  • 'Lanky Tank' 1008

    This Lancashire and Yorkshire engine is the only British standard gauge 2-4-2 tank engine preserved.

More views of Great Hall

Background: 'Skegness is so Bracing' LNER Poster