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Rail romance for York couples
A COUPLE who fell in love after first meeting at the National Railway Museum in York returned to see the new-look Station Hall on St Valentine’s Day.
Helen and Adrian Ashby met at the initial opening of Station Hall, when she was working at the museum and he was a volunteer, in 1985.
Romance between Helen, then 27, and Adrian, then 34, flourished when they were later part of the crew for the steam locomotive, the Duchess of Hamilton, and they went on to marry. They are due to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary next month.
Yesterday, Mr and Mrs Ashby visited the revamped Station Hall – the overhaul of which is officially completed today – to see the Station Stories exhibition, which includes numerous such accounts of romance on the railways.
Mrs Ashby, now head of knowledge and collections at the museum, said: “The museum means a lot to us because it has been such a big part of our life. We would never have met if we had not been here.
“The first time we spoke to each other was at the tenth anniversary and that was the first time Station Hall was opened to the public. That weekend gave the public an idea of what it might be like. This building has been a feature right from the first moment we met. It’s nice to see it now – alive and vibrant.”
Ruth Leach, the interpretation developer who helped compile Station Stories, said: “It is stories from the great British public that have really helped bring our exhibits to life. A recurring theme has been romance, with many people revealing they have met their soul mates on board a train or arranged romantic rendezvous at stations.”
Station Hall allows visitors to explore 24 hours in the life of a large station. Key railway exhibits from Britain’s National Collection, including the royal trains are now more accessible, due to a £1.4 million construction and interpretation project which represents the first major investment in the space since it was created.
Other guests at the launch yesterday included former station master Norman Kemp who met his wife Pam in Hessle train station and went on to go on honeymoon on the railway and Margaret and Aubrey Blythe who met in Ferrybridge station and got engaged in a signal box.
‘The best St Valentine’s Day I have had’
A YORK couple have been treated to the St Valentine’s Day of their dreams after winning a competition in The Press.
Gill and Jonathan Williams, both 56, of Acomb, won a luxury day trip aboard the 1930s carriages of the Northern Belle, sister train to the Venice- Simplon Orient-Express.
On board they were given an elegant four-course lunch with champagne and wine.
Before boarding at York Station, Mrs Williams, catering manager at The Mount School, said: “It’s a proper St Valentine’s Day. I could not believe it when I found out we had won, it’s fantastic.
“I think this is the best St Valentine’s Day I have had. Nothing comes close.”