HE first visited the National Railway Museum as a five-year-old on the day after it opened in 1975 - now Andrew McLean has returned to the York museum as head curator.

A museum spokeswoman said he came from the National Trust, where he had been providing curatorial support, advice and direction for properties across the Trust’s Yorkshire and North East Region, including Studley Royal near Ripon.

And he arrived at the NRM as it celebrated smashing its visitor record, with 950,000 attending in 2013/14 - largely due to the Mallard 75 events, which drew a quarter of a million extra visitors.

"The Head Curator position is a brand new role created as part of the ongoing staffing changes at the National Railway Museum," she said.

"The position does hold responsibility for the management of the museum’s diverse collection, which includes high profile locomotives such as Mallard and Flying Scotsman. However all major decisions are made with the involvement of our director, Paul Kirkman."

She said Mr McLean, a Edinburgh University graduate, had over twenty years’ experience of working with a diverse range of historic collections, many of international significance, but had had a keen interest in railways from an early age and, like many museum visitors, felt a strong family connection with the subject.

"His father’s role as a press officer for British Rail took him to various locations, including York, where Andrew first went to school as a boy," she said.

"In recent years he has introduced the museum and the world of railway heritage and history to his own three sons."

Mr McLean. who will join the museum’s senior management team in June, said he was 'truly thrilled and honoured' to be joining the museum. "I have had a deep rooted passion for railways for as long as I can recall so the opportunity to work with the National Collection was too good to resist."