The project, part of the city-wide Illuminating York festival, sees the museum’s cavernous Great Hall plunged into darkness, then transformed with amazing colour and light displays.
Six of the displays were created by theatre lighting design students from specialist colleges, including York College, as part of a competition which took place on Tuesday evening.
The innovative designs have been devised to offer visitors new perspectives on the museum collection, and members of the public can vote for the entry which most captures their imagination until the end of the project on Saturday.
The featured locomotives include five never featured in the project before, including an Aerolite built in 1869, and a first-generation Eurostar power car.
Rose Lindsay Smith, from the National Railway Museum, said: “Like the locomotives themselves, the fantastic lighting designs created by the students are feats of aesthetic beauty and technical precision.”