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The NRM contains a collection of over 100 locomotives and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock, together with many hundreds of thousands of other items of social, technical and historical interest (down to a lock of Robert Stephenson's hair) displayed in three large halls of a former motive power depot next to the East Coast Main Line, near York railway station. It is the largest museum of its type in the world with over 750,000 visitors a year. It is open daily from 10am to 6pm. The permanent display includes "Palaces on Wheels", a collection of Royal Train coaches from Queen Victoria's early trains to those used by Queen Elizabeth II up to the 1970s. A balcony overlooking York railway station hosts a set of monitors showing live feeds from the monitors at York IECC.
The NRM was established on its present site in 1975, when it took over the former British Railways Collection located in Clapham and the York Railway Museum located elsewhere in the city; since then, the collection has continued to grow. The Head of the Museum since 1994 has been Andrew Scott.
All items of rolling stock exhibited either ran on the railways of Great Britain or were built there, with the single exception of a Japanese "Series 0" Shinkansen bullet train leading vehicle, which was donated to the NRM by the JR West railway company in 2001 and which now forms part of an award-winning display.
From the late nineteenth century, railway companies began preserving their past: the most prolific being the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), which opened a public museum in York dedicated to railways in 1927.
1951 After nationalisation, a Curator of historical relics was appointed. A collecting policy was implemented to increase the nation's collection of railway artefacts. The existing York Railway Museum at Queen Street was supplemented by a Museum of British Transport in Clapham, South London and a museum at Swindon.
1975 the National Railway Museum was opened at Leeman Road in York.
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