Rail enthusiasts in Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond are gearing up for a treat in May, as award-winning Electric Railway Museum opens for the first time this year, allowing visitors of all ages to explore its rich collection of iconic transport.
Electric Railway Museum’s Spring Gala Weekend will take place on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May from 11am – 5 pm both days.
Admission is free.
2013 marks a significant year in electric railway history, as it was 150 years ago that the first underground journey in London took place between Paddington and Farringdon on the Metropolitan Railway. Electric Railway Museum has two carriage bodies built for the City and South London Railway (C&SLR), the first deep-level underground ‘tube’ railway in the world and today part of London Underground’s Northern Line. The oldest carriage is a timber body on a steel underframe and dates from 1903, the other is from 1907 and, unlike earlier builds, was created all in steel, making it the oldest surviving steel frame carriage in the UK.
As well as all the former Underground carriages, visitors will also be able to enjoy Electric Railway Museum’s impressive collection of electric trains. Members of the public will be able to climb aboard the Class 503 and one of the Class 309s, complete with the museum display (Museum 309), a café – serving hot and cold beverages, snacks and light bites – and the Electric Railway Museum shop. Volunteers will be on-hand to explain more about Electric Railway Museum’s diverse collection, which also includes British Railways Classes 307 and 308, as well as the power car for the record-breaking Advanced Passenger Train Prototype (APT-P), on loan from the National Railway Museum. Plus, smartphone users can enhance their visit by utilising the QR codes available adjacent to most large exhibits.
Baginton-based Electric Railway Museum aims to promote the heritage of all electric trains in the UK through traction and rolling stock restoration, display and operation along with work in gathering historically relevant technical and photographic archives. Electric railways have a long history that is rich in both technical innovation and socio-economic impact. Many aspects of our everyday life would not have been possible without the creation of the electric railway, from high-speed rail travel (such as the Channel Tunnel) to underground railways and commuter travel. The work of Electric Railway Museum is entirely run by volunteers and funded by donations from the public. The Open Weekend will provide an opportunity also for you to meet the team behind the museum and learn more about future plans.
Chairman of Electric Railway Museum, Graeme Gleaves said: “Although we’ve been closed to the general public for the winter, much work has gone on behind the scenes by our dedicated volunteers to prepare the collection, objects and rich natural surroundings – including some 400 trees – for the Spring Gala.
“Since winning the prestigious Small Groups Award from the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) in 2011, Electric Railway Museum has gone from strength to strength, attracting record visitors across our Open Weekends last year and establishing our site as an important visitor attraction in the region.
“If anyone cannot make this weekend, we will be hosting further free Open Weekends throughout the year in July (13th – 14th) and September (14th – 15th).”
Electric Railway Museum