York’s National Rail Museum is getting up steam to host Britain’s biggest rail celebration.
The nine-day Railfest 2012, from June 2 to 10, will see an enormous space the size of 11 football pitches bustling with an awe-inspiring line up of more than 50 locomotives including recordbreaking historic and modern locomotives from the museum’s collection and visiting locomotives from across the UK.
A wide variety of railway-related activities, attractions, sights, sounds and smells will add to the exciting atmosphere with the opportunity to get up close to the exhibits.
The festival will bring together over 30 record-breaking locomotives that have made their mark on rail history for being the fastest, strongest, first, last and oldest.
Among the confirmed record-breaking attendees is holder of the record for the fastest steam locomotive at 126mph, Mallard, the newest mainline steam locomotive in operation, Tornado, and the most powerful industrial tank engine built for use in the UK, Mardy Monster.
The first locomotive to reach 100mph, Flying Scotsman, is also set to attend the event. The locomotive is currently undergoing major restoration work and will be on display to the public during Railfest with further work being carried out on Flying Scotsman after the event. Railfest 2012 will welcome the largest gathering of railway record breakers ever brought together in one place.
With key support from the leading rail magazine titles RAIL, Steam Railway and Model Rail, the festival is expected to draw railway fans from far and wide.
Steve Davies, director of the National Railway Museum, said: “Our previous Railfest in 2004 celebrated the bicentenary of Britain’s railways and proved to be a huge success by attracting over 60,000 visitors. This year we hope to top this by providing an even bigger and better event.
We’re certain that rail fans young and old will be well-catered for and we look forward to making 2012 a year to remember at the National Railway Museum.”
The action-packed event will invite visitors to get up even closer to the exhibits and locomotives by climbing into the driver’s cab, taking a ride behind working engines of all sizes and speaking to inspiring railway characters. Hundreds of stalls, refreshment areas and live music will also add to the bustling and exciting atmosphere.
A number of special events will take place across the nine days, including poetry by Ian McMillan and drawings by cartoonist Tony Husband. Card trickster Ollie Mealing will be working his magic with the Limited Edition Railfest Top Trumps cards, which will be available to buy at the event.
Artists David Charlesworth GRA and John Wigston GRA will also be capturing the atmosphere of Railfest on canvas, and through detailed pencil sketches.
Two exclusive photography events also take place during Railfest, giving railway fans a unique opportunity to get clear shots of their favourite attending locomotives – without the hustle and bustle of the crowds.
Tickets for the photography sessions are sold separately to the daytime event, with only a limited number of places available.
Also joining the impressive locomotive line-up will be a selection of weird and wonderful railway vehicles including a sail powered rail vehicle, track maintenance machines and other rarely seen rolling stock.
Tickets can be bought by visiting nrm.org.uk/railfest2012 or by calling 0870 8704840. You can purchase tickets on the day. Those wishing to attend the event are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance to fasttrack their entry and avoid the queues.
Ticket prices start at £8 for children aged from two to 15 years and £13 for an adult. Family tickets and group offers are available. Railfest will be hosted in an outdoor area at the museum with entry to the rest of the museum remaining free to visitors during the nine-day event. For all the latest updates and announcements, visit nrm.org.uk/railfest2012 or sign up to receive the museum’s email newsletter
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