MORE than 13,500 people signed The Press’s petition to save the National Railway Museum in just over a fortnight – one of the biggest responses the newspaper has ever seen to a campaign.

The Save The NRM petition was handed over yesterday to York Central Labour MP Hugh Bayley and York Outer Tory MP Julian Sturdy, outside the museum.

The MPs agreed to receive the petition jointly to symbolise the all-party support the campaign has received.

Mr Bayley said of the numbers signing: “It’s an astonishing response. It shows how much this museum is loved and valued.

“It’s quite literally the greatest railway museum in the world.”

Mr Sturdy said: “It’s a fantastic amount of people. It shows the strength of feeling from the local community and visitors to the NRM.

“It sends a strong message to the Government that we really need to keep this museum open.”

The petition will be presented on the floor of the House of Commons on Monday.

After that it will be passed to Culture Secretary Maria Miller prior to the Chancellor’s spending announcement next Wednesday. Museum chiefs warned earlier this month that the NRM or one of its two sister museums in the north – the National Media Museum in Bradford and the National Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester – would almost certainly have to close if the Government imposed another ten per cent cut in funding, on top of cuts already introduced.

Ministers indicated earlier this week that the funding reduction would not be that bad and the museum would not shut, but museum managers are waiting to see the details of Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement before they will confirm the rail museum is safe.

Mr Bayley said that while it now looked as if the museum would not close, it was not yet “out of the woods,” as it was vital it received enough funding to ensure it could curate, restore and present its collection.

•The NRM petition response was on a par with the 13,000-plus signatures raised for our unsuccessful campaign against the Nestlé takeover of Rowntree in the 1980s and for the ultimately successful campaign for York’s Odeon cinema to be saved from closure in the 2000s.