I recently had the privilege of going to the National Railway Museum in York. As you can probably tell, our family holiday featured several ‘family-friendly’ events. I had a great time reading unnecessary details about various engines and routes, sharing a marvel much like you would when standing at the top of Niagara Falls. I felt no shame. I can geek out with family. That is the best thing about travelling with people who have changed my nappies, answered my silliest questions, taken me to the doctor for embarrassing problems and who have witnessed the best and worst moments of my life.
I entered the museum, counting the number of anoraks I could see. The number of little children almost equalled the number of older gentlemen. The kind I am certain stand in a huddle at the end of platforms, looking seriously at approaching trains and scribbling in their notebooks. This was exactly what I expected. A museum for enthusiasts and children, mostly boys. Having a healthy dose of skepticism is a good way to set yourself up for a museum or film. If you have low expectations, you can be pleasantly surprised when they are surpassed. If they are truly rubbish, then you don’t come away disappointed. Win win.
This museum far surpassed my expectations. I discovered a love for huge hunks of metal that cart us across land, through mountains, across rivers and under seas. It was incredible to see how much the railways have affected the development of Britain. It’s like the internet but with iron. My favourite part was the names given to different trains and I’m not talking Thomas the Tank Engine. It was remarkable that each train lived up to its name both in appearance and journey-history. If you’re a seasoned train-geek you might hear a railway story and say, “Ah, that sounds like something Valour would do.” A train by any other name just would not be the same.