THE two main sections at the National Railway Museum in York are now both open, while the attraction’s opening hours have been extended.

The We’re Backing York campaign recently launched by The Press is today focusing on the popular museum.

After reopening its Great Hall on August 4, the attraction has now reopened its Station Hall, which means visitors can see Stephenson’s original 1829 Rocket which played such a big role in the development of the railways. Both parts of the museum, as well as South Yard, are now open from 10am to 5pm, from Wednesday and Sunday.

More than 20,000 people have descended on the museum since it reopened to the public on August 4.

NRM assistant director Catherine Clayton said: “Reopening has gone really well and we have received some very encouraging feedback. Our opening day saw families and railway fans travelling from across the country to see us which was really positive.

“Our visitors have been fantastic since we reopened and have followed all the social distancing rules and been really understanding about parts of the museum that we haven’t been able to reopen yet.

“We have had in excess of 20,000 visitors so far and a good proportion of these have also chosen to make an online donation to support the museum, which I am very grateful for.”

Ms Clayton said that the NRM and the wider Science Museum Group have been affected by the five months of closure and the reduced income from visitors.

“It is too soon to determine the overall financial impact for the group, but our focus has been on reopening as much of the museum as possible and to welcome back our visitors,” she added.

Ms Clayton said before the museum’s temporary closure on March 17, around 13 per cent of its visitors were international travellers.

“It may take some time for these numbers to return, but we have definitely seen an increase in staycations and visitors from the UK choosing to visit us instead of travelling overseas,” she added.

The museum is working with partners such as Visit York to ensure it attracts visitors from across Yorkshire and further afield.

Ms Clayton said: “Since reopening, the third largest region for visitors has been from London and the South East, which suggests that people are prepared to travel to experience everything the city has to offer.”

She said the museum is doing everything it can to ensure that the attraction is as safe as possible for visitors.

Measures introduced include one-way systems, PPE, perspex screens, hand sanitiser, increased cleaning throughout the museum and limiting the number of visitors each day.

People wishing to visit the museum must book a ticket in advance by visiting its website.