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By Ruth Leach on

Station Hall lighting competition

For the last three years the National Railway Museum has hosted an event as part of Illuminating York.

This year ‘Locos in a Different Light’ was held in Station Hall, and it gave us a fantastic opportunity to see how the hall and the vehicles might look once we’ve designed and installed a new theatrical lighting scheme.

Six teams from across the country competed – they each had exactly the same pieces of kit to use, and they were randomly assigned a train to light.

On Friday night the students’ designs were judged by a panel which included four members of staff (including myself)  and an independent lighting designer. The students were judged on:

  • how theatrical their lighting scheme was
  • how well their scheme showcased the stories of the vehicles
  • how easy it would be to maintain and run their scheme
  • how well they had thought about the conservation of the vehicles
  • how well they had thought about our visitors’ needs

The winner on the Friday night was the team from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, who lit Maude, the Stanton wagon and the LNWR box van. They were the judges’ winners because their scheme was spectacular from all viewing positions, they had really thought about the stories of the vehicle and they used the environment around the vehicles as a really effective backdrop to their scheme. They had also paid attention to conservation, health and safety and the sustainability of their scheme.

We weren’t the only ones who got our say though – when the event opened to the public on Saturday night we asked them to vote for their favourite. Their winner was the team from Rose Bruford College who lit Gladstone and Queen Victoria’s saloon. As well as casting their vote on Saturday, we asked visitors what they thought of the displays. Here are images of each team’s effort, along with just some of the many comments that we received.

Team 1, Rose Bruford College – Midland Spinner, dining carriage, sleeping carriage, 6-wheeled coach and WCJS Travelling Post Office

“Simple, but effective.”

“Subtle lighting. Atmospheric. Brilliant.”

Team 2, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts – Maude, Stanton wagon, LNWR box van

“The more I looked, the more I saw. Subtle yet striking use of light and shadows. Colours all tied together and sympathetic to the train. Outstanding.”

“It captured the power of freight at night.”

Team 3, Rose Bruford College – Gladstone, Queen Victoria’s saloon

“Brought it to life.”

“It had the ‘wow’ factor when you entered.”

Team 4, York College – MR ‘Crab’, royal support coach, King Edward’s saloon

“There was an illusion of movement.”

“Soft opulent colour evoking comfort, misty atmosphere giving an air of mystery.”

Team 5, Amersham College – LSWR M7, LSWR tri-composite carriage, BR fish van, GWR fruit van, GNR brake van

“Reminds me of the sun setting.”

“Romantic theme, a reminder of the film Brief Encounter.”

Team 6, Rose Bruford College – J52, BR banana van, United Dairies milk tanker, PLM ferry van, LMS brake van

“I liked the way the engine was lit so that it looked hot.”

“Simple and effective.”

Finally, congratulations to all the teams involved – I’m sure you’ll agree that they all came up with some really beautiful and inspiring ways of bringing our collection to life.

See more Locos in a Different Light photos

One comment on “Station Hall lighting competition

  1. It was fab to be a part of such an amazing event! I know that all of my students had an amazing time, and thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the NRM and their specified element of the National Collection. We’ll be back next year! – Alex Monro – Programme Leader: Production – Amersham & Wycombe College.

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