A MAN who first visited the National Railway Museum as a five-year-old on the day after it opened in 1975 has now returned as its head curator.

Andrew MacLean has joined the York museum from the National Trust, where he had been providing curatorial support, advice and direction for properties across the region.

And he arrived as the museum celebrated smashing its visitor record, with 950,000 attending in 2013/14 - largely due to the Mallard 75 events, which drew a quarter of a million extra visitors.

"The head curator position is a brand new role created as part of the ongoing staffing changes at the National Railway Museum," said a spokesman.

"The position does hold responsibility for the management of the museum’s diverse collection, which includes high profile locomotives such as Mallard and Flying Scotsman. However all major decisions are made with the involvement of our director, Paul Kirkman."

Mr McLean, a Edinburgh University graduate, has more than 20 years’ experience of working with a diverse range of historic collections, many of international significance, but has had a keen interest in railways from an early age and, like many museum visitors, felt a strong family connection with the subject.

"His father’s role as a press officer for British Rail took him to various locations, including York, where Andrew first went to school as a boy," the spokesman said.