National Railway Museum launches quest to find the nation's favourite railway toy

By Richard Moss | 12 May 2014

Do you have a favourite railway-themed toy? The National Railway Museum in York is planning an exhibition about childhood and toys and would like to hear from you

a black and white photo of two boys looking at a train set
Barnardos Boys with a train set c. 1964. Manchester Daily Express
Whether it’s a classic Hornby Flying Scotsman, a Take and Play Thomas the Tank Engine or a clockwork chugger from the Victorian dawn of children’s toys, the allure of the toy train set is something that has been a constant in the minds of British children for a long time.

Now the National Railway Museum is asking the nation to tell them their favourite railway toys as it prepares for a major exhibition in 2015 exploring the theme of Railways and Childhood.

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

Interpretation Developer Ellen Tait says the museum's extensive collection will be put to good use in 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 or astronauts,” she adds.

Tait’s favourite 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,” she says.

“We hope that with our Railways and Childhood exhibition we can help the British public relive that sense of adventure and excitement.”

The museum is asking people to tweet, Facebook or email pictures of their child and their favourite railway toy. Adults can send a picture of particular toy they adored when they were young and the reasons why. 


Railways and Childhood runs from March – September 2015.

Click on the image below to open a viewer of railway toys through the ages.



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