National Railway Museum: Chuggington Comes to Life

Little D has had many adventures over his three years, from running riot with jam smeared fingers at the local produce show to stripping naked by the show tent at the Southport Flowershow. This is what it means to be a parent, there is no book to prepare you for the depths that a child will go to in their bid to embarrass you and people you don't know. That is why many parents opt for the stay at home policy or the more popularly seen 'I'm pretending to look at something else whilst my child destroys your display of prize winning pumpkins' tactic. It's amazing how interested parents can suddenly become in the grading of wallpaper paste as they see their first born throw themselves into tester paint pot display. That's why it's nice to be able to take your child somewhere that they would find impossible to destroy.

National Railway Museum day out. A different activity for the family.

The National Railway Museum has gotten much bigger since we last visited a decade ago. Back then we were care free, childless and able to sleep in. Now we are adults, parents and if we try to sleep in are attacked by a three foot ninja clutching a train from Chuggington. I have Brewster shaped bruises on my belly and Koko has been shoved up my nose several times. It is safe to say that Little D, like his father, is a train nut. This was a great chance for father to show son the very train his great-great Grandfather worked on at Horwich Locomotive Works (pictured below). Sadly, this was right beside the Chuggington display and in the end Andrew had to give in and accept that a boy and his toy trains should not be parted. Andrew spent a happy half hour snapping the old 2-4-2 as Little D built more and more elaborate train systems our of plastic. Little D came away with a Wilson engine, something that has become the pride and joy of his expanding train system which presently runs with no tracks across anyone who gets in his way.

History is present in all of us, how steam touched our lives.

The National Railway Museum is great for little kids and big kids alike. There's plenty to see and do. While we were there Little D had great fun with toy trains, miniature steams trains and scalextric. He found one of his greatest loves ever, a wide slide in the outside play area and even had a meltdown when we wanted to leave the model trains. The model trains were a big hit with Little D, as he declared to anyone visiting the display that the trains departing from the countryside part of the exhibit were going to toy town before running down to the town part of the model to wave at the train as it came out of the tunnel. He was thrilled to discover the real life engines from all eras there ready for him to play with and learn about, he was happy to look inside many of them with choruses of 'choo-choo' and even stood in one of the trains on the platform display. 

Little boy excited by reading.

The powers of model trains to keep children enthralled.

Excited children love simple hobbies beyond the computer.

NRM have really upped their game in their new displays, allowing us to visit the train carriages of past Royals and engage with social history of the train. There is a real sense of stories behind each display and whilst Little D ran back and forth down the long platforms, narrowly missing the stacks of flower boxes, we could take a look in the carriage and wonder why third class back then was far superior to standard class now.
NRM display, royal trains through the ages.
Social history of the railway.

The highlight of the day for us all had to be the short steam train ride we took. It was a chance to experience a moving engine after seeing so many beautiful ones in the museum. Little D clung to Andrew throughout the journey, thrilled at the sounds, smells and sights he could take in.

Steam train journey.

Father and son on the train.

What struck us about the museum was how much of the history there is Andrew's family history. This allowed us to share some of this with Little D, show him the places Andrew's family worked in, the kind of trains they constructed and the sheer size of the construction line they worked on. 

A slice of railway history at Horwich Loco Works.

A slice of railway history at Horwich Loco Works.

National Railway Museum is a good family day out, plenty of parking with good public transport access from York, plenty of places to eat and more displays and activities than you can do in one day. It won't be a question of where shall we go next after the museum, you simply won't have time as you'll still be there as they switch off the lights.

You can see a complete album of our photos from our family day out here. You can see photos on our growing, green, family and food activities at our Facebook Page.

Life of Pig Row visited this museum and enjoyed rides and attractions courtesy of National Railway Museum.