By ANDY FLEMING
Former GWR Class 4000 steam locomotive number 4003 'Lode Star' on the turntable at the National Railway Museum, York.
The National Railway museum in York has the world's largest collection of train exhibits in the world dating back over 300 years. You can't fail to be impressed by the legendary steam, diesel and electric locomotives on display. There are 750,000 objects in this museum but the highlights are a replica of the Rocket, the first steam locomotive built in 1829, the Mallard, the world's fastest steam engine, Japanese Bullet trains and the carriage used by Queen Victoria between 1869 and 1901.
There is a daily turntable demonstration to show how several tons of railway locomotive could be turned on a sixpence. You can explore the workings of steam locomotives and watch the complex mechanism work before your eyes.
Train enthusiasts can get in the cab of a steam engine, build a loco, control a train and watch a live link to York's electronic signal box. For those interested in history there are exhibitions on the Flying Scotsman and British Rail.
Young kids (3-8) can let off steam in the railway themed play area or enjoy the miniature railway.
The best news is that it’s free to enter the museum, which also boasts some superb cafes and restaurants, model railway displays and workshops. Parking is just £7 for the entire day in the long stay car park.
The museum is adjacent to the magnificent York Railway station on Leeman Road, so for convenience and cost why not let the train take the strain? There are regular through train services from Hartlepool and the journey takes just over an hour. For full details of fares and train times visit the National Rail Enquiries website at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ or phone 08457 48 49 50.