A right regal new railway terminus

The National Railway Museum's Station Hall is transformed into a platform from the bustling age of steam.

A dream is being realised at the National Railway Museum this year – to recreate a bustling mainline railway terminus from the age of steam, where the star attractions are more royal trains than a monarch could shake a sceptre at.

The substantial Station Hall, which sits among the NRM’s sprawling complex, was once a busy goods depot. Last year it closed for a romantic re-think inspired by 19th century photographs and a major shunt removed, juggled and refreshed the line-up of vehicles along its platforms.

A steam locomotive alongside a platform in Station Hall at the National Railway Museum

The result is a sparkling treat in which you take in the green wrought iron gates, ticket machines and atmospheric restaurant on the central platform before exploring trains that represent many different kinds of journeys.

Spectacular locomotives such as Gladstone from 1882 pull contrasting sets of royal carriages: Queen Victoria's 'palace on wheels', King Edward VII’s carriage that follows the same style as the royal yacht, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's saloon, built during the Second World War and originally fitted with amour-plating to protect against bombs.

Station Hall received another kind of makeover last autumn as part of the tourism festival Illuminating York. Teams of theatre design students each lit a selection of vehicles for the Locos In A Different Light event.

A locomotive lit up with coloured lights at the National Railway Museum, York

The judges crowned Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, who lit the 1891 locomotive Maude and her goods train, as the winners. The audience vote went to Rose Bruford College, who lit Gladstone and Queen Victoria's saloon.