Green signal for major development at National Railway Museum

City of York Council’s planning committee has approved the National Railway Museum’s reserved matters application for new building, to be called Central Hall.

The development is intended to help the museum realise its potential as the cultural heart of York Central and unite the museum’s site for the first time.

Central Hall will be a new welcome space and gallery located between the museum’s Great Hall and Station Hall.

It will connect the existing museum buildings and is a cornerstone of “Vision 2025” – the museum’s journey to transform its offer and become the world’s railway museum.

This vision also includes “Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery”, an interactive gallery aimed at inspiring children to think like engineers through experience, interactivity and play.

Central Hall itself will feature a Railway Futures Gallery showcasing the latest innovations in rail technology, a café overlooking the new museum square, a shop, flexible event space and new visitor facilities.

Judith McNicol, director of the National Railway Museum, said: “We are very pleased the planning committee has approved the Central Hall plans which will have transformative benefits for York and the wider region.

“This approval will allow the museum to realise its potential as the ‘world’s railway museum’ by improving our offer, welcoming more visitors, and helping us to inspire the next generation of engineers and problem-solvers.

“The museum aims to be the cultural heart of York Central and this decision brings us a step closer to realising that ambition. We remain on track for opening Central Hall in Autumn 2025, in time for the Museum’s 50-year anniversary.”

The Central Hall plans form an early stage of the delivery of York Central, a 45-hectare regeneration site which is a partnership with Network Rail, Homes England, City of York Council and the museum.

Work is expected to start in early 2023 with completion in time for the celebrations in 2025.

Feilden Fowles designed the new building and Montagu Evans acted as heritage consultant. GRAHAM have also been appointed to deliver pre-construction services for Central Hall.

Neil McFarlane, strategic projects director at GRAHAM, said: “We understand the significance of this project for the Science Museum Group (SMG) and recognise their aspirations for Central Hall to become the gateway to the transformed museum.

“Our highly experienced team has a strong track record of working to deliver shared project goals. We will be responsible for ensuring key project milestones are achieved under the Pre-Contract Services Agreement.”