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York's National Railway Museum Search for Toy Trains


11:53am 8th May 2014

The National Railway Museum is asking the nation what are the favourite railway toys of all time as it prepares for a major exhibition in 2015 exploring the theme of Railways and Childhood.

The appeal launch has been timed to tie in with the York-based museum’s half term event celebrating toy trains. Visitors can nominate their favourite toy in person at the Big Fun with Little Trains event (24 May -1 June) or online via Facebook, Twitter and the museum’s website.

Ellen Tait, Interpretation Developer said.

Young kids love trains and that felt like a great starting point for an exhibition, full of toys, adventures and family fun. For some, railway toys are the first step in a life-long love of the tracks but for many others it’s a childhood phase, before moving on to pirates, dinosaurs, astronauts…

We’ve been looking in our collection for inspiration, but we know that there are a lot of great toys out there that we would love to display that aren’t currently in our collection.

John McGoldrick, Curator of Museum Collections added: “It might seem a bit odd that we collect toys, but as every parent knows, children go loco for trains! For lots of us our first introduction to railways would have been through books, toys, TV, clothing and furniture - our nurseries are full of railway characters and adventure. It’s an important part of how we experience ‘trains’ and there are lots of things in the museum’s stores which are familiar from our collective childhood.

Ellen’s favourite toy so far is a Fisher Price Circus train from the 1990s.

“To me this is the best railway toy because of all the amazing adventures you can imagine the people and animals on this train having. We hope that with our Big Fun with Little Trains event and Railways and Childhood exhibition we can help he British public relive that sense of adventure and excitement”

The museum is asking people to tweet, facebook or email pictures primarily of their child and their favourite railway toy. However it is also interested in hearing from adults who can send a picture of particular toy they adored when they were tiny and the reasons why. 

Railways and Childhood runs from March – September 2015. For more information visit

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