THE man at the helm of the National Railway Museum is to step down from the role.

Paul Kirkman joined the York museum in 2012 on secondment from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2012, and has spent the last five years leading the attraction’s development.

Among the projects completed under his leadership include the return to operation of the world’s most famous locomotive, Flying Scotsman, and preparations for new developments at the museum.

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The NRM is set to undergo the biggest changes the museum has seen since it was founded in 1975, with a major redevelopment of the main gallery - The Great Hall - which will tell the story of how modern science and engineering have transformed the railways over the last 200 years.

Mr Kirkman said he was happy to have started the proceedings, and he was confident the museum would thrive under a new director, who could also help the NRM work together with developers of York Central.

“I could not be prouder of the National Railway Museum’s accomplishments during my tenure as director," he said.

“Working with the board, curators, and the Science Museum Group, the museum is now poised for a giant leap in its development, a major transformation that will change the city and this wonderful museum.”

Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group, which oversees the NRM, praised Mr Kirkman’s time at the museum.

“Paul has accomplished much during his time at the museum and we look forward to building on his achievements in coming years," he said.

Mr Kirkman’s position will be temporarily taken up by Judith McNicol, director of people and culture, until a successor is found.