Spend a crafty weekend at Electric Railway Museum

An unlikely combination comes together to celebrate a bygone age.


The worlds of heritage and art are coming together in Coventry once again this July, as award-winning Electric Railway Museum showcases artistic delights among the attraction’s rich collection of iconic transport. Electric Railway Museum’s Arts and Crafts Weekend will take place on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July from 10 am–4 pm both days. Admission and car parking is free.

A highlight of the weekend will be a special exhibition of patchwork and embroidery created by students of Coventry-based tutor Jane Cobbett’s textile and craft Institches classes. The Institches exhibition will be spread around the Electric Railway Museum’s expansive site, displayed on miniature to full-size engines, as well as on the signal box and station building.

Institches come to Electric Railway Museum as part of Warwickshire Open Studios. This annual event, now in its 14th year, has grown to become the biggest exhibition of unique and original art and craft in Warwickshire, with over 320 artists and makers at 144 venues in and around Stratford-upon-Avon, Rugby, Warwick, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Kenilworth, Shipston-on-Stour and, for the second year running, Coventry.

Electric Railway Museum is no stranger to the world of arts and crafts, having welcomed various artists in residence from the local area over the last few years, including collective The Edge, Shiam Wilcox and Rumah.

As well as the arts and crafts on display, the Class 501 two-coach unit will be opened to the public for the first time in preservation following a lengthy restoration. Built in 1957 by British Railways in Eastleigh, it is the last vehicles of the 501s to survive. This follows the opening of the Class 457 experimental three phase unit, 67300, earlier this year, which is also the last example of its Class to have survived.

Elsewhere, 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. New for 2014, the attraction’s 7 ¼ inch gauge miniature railway will also be offering rides across the two-day event. 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.

Electric Railway Museum was formed in 2007 to bring about the urgent need for a permanent home where the rich and lengthy history of electrically powered trains could be presented to the public on one site. The collection of electric trains at the museum’s Baginton site represents over a century of technological progress and includes examples of commuter trains, battery-electric locomotives, underground carriages, high speed express units and some of the specialist line side equipment that made them work, such as signalling and current collection apparatus. Electric Railway Museum is the largest private collection of electric trains in the UK and the only railway museum in Great Britain dedicated to electric traction. It is a registered charity, staffed and run entirely by volunteers and work carried out is funded by donations and sponsorship.

For those unable to make the July event, Electric Railway Museum will be hosting a further free Open Weekend in September (13th–14th). Plus, to meet the growing demand of visitors, Electric Railway Museum will also open every second Saturday of the month until October 2014 (10.30am – 4.30pm, admission free).