When nation blew hot and cold over steam travel

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UNSEEN artworks revealing Britain’s excitement and trepidation at the dawn of the modern railway are to go on display in York.

The new exhibition, entitled Fear and Fascination, will open at the National Railway Museum in February, featuring more than 40 pieces of the earliest railway art capturing the mood of a nation conflicted by this new technology.

The exhibition draws from the museum’s previously unseen collection of prints, cartoons, drawings and paintings to demonstrate the polarised public attitudes to the railways in the 1800s and draw comparisons to concerns over new high speed developments today.

Ellen Tait, interpretation developer at the National Railway Museum, said: “This exhibition provides us with a fantastic opportunity to showcase our extensive and rare collection of early railway art which illustrate a turning point in British history.

“The introduction of railways conjured up a broad and conflicting spectrum of feelings among members of the public and we’re sure that visitors to the exhibition will enjoy exploring the artworks which record these public attitudes to the establishment of one of our oldest modes of transport.”

Fear and Fascination opens on February 11 and runs until May 13.

Admission is free.