Concept designs have been revealed for the new permanent exhibition space at the National Railway Museum’s Station Hall.

The transformed former goods station in York is set to be open to the public in 2024. Created by exhibition designers Drinkall Dean, it will feature archive films and clips projected throughout the gallery interpretation, new large-scale reproductions of photographs from the museum’s collection, and new lighting.

The exhibition is built around four main themes. ‘The Station is a World In Itself’, which will see the museum’s Waterloo Station WHSmith book stall kiosk displayed for the first time, following its restoration.

Carriages protected in Station Hall (National Railway Museum)
Concept designs for Station Hall (Drinkall Dean)

The second theme ‘Innovation, Influence and Inspiration’ will display the museum’s collection of six royal carriages alongside new interpretation and imagery to tell the stories of the impact of royals travelling by rail.

‘Work and Play’ will include the museum’s LMS sleeper carriage, Midland Railway dining carriage and reproductions from the museum’s collection of railway travel posters.

The final theme, ‘The Goods Life’, will display objects including a fish van, a banana van, and a prosthetic leg issued by the Great Western Railway to Harold Jarvis – a member of staff who was injured in a shunting accident.

Carriages protected in Station Hall (National Railway Museum)
Concept designs for Station Hall (Drinkall Dean)

Joe Randall, Interpretation Developer at the National Railway Museum, said of the planned transformation: “We want to keep the atmosphere of the station that people love but enhance the experience with more stories and collection items. The new themes and stories will give context to the space and help visitors to explore our unique collection for themselves.”

Alongside Station Hall’s exhibition, the Grade II-listed building is also receiving a £10.5m programme of conservation and repair works which includes replacing the roof.

Funded by DCMS from the Public Bodies Infrastructure Fund, the museum has recently appointed John Graham Construction Ltd as principal contractor to work with conservation architects Buttress to deliver the programme of works.

As part of the plans, Station Hall’s café will also reopen following the modernisation and expansion of the kitchen, venue hire will resume and the afternoon tea venue ‘Countess of York’ will reopen in an authentic railway carriage inside the hall.

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