05 June 2008

Historical railway artifacts preserved

The CILT reports that proposals to ensure historically significant artifacts are protected to tell the story of the British railway have been published in a consultation by Rail Minister Tom Harris MP. The consultation asks for views on proposals to extend the scope of the Railway Heritage Committee (RHC), the body responsible for safeguarding Britain's railway legacy.

The RHC has previously designated a memorial board of Henry West who lost his life to a whirlwind at Reading station in 1840, as well as train nameplates to honour the famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the comedian and traveller Michael Palin. A selection of these artifacts can now be seen by members of the public at the National Railway Museum in York.

It would mean that the RHC would in future, work with all railway organisations to ensure historically significant records and artifacts are secured. At present British Transport Police, Transport for London and Rail Safety and Standards Board are among those excluded from the activities of the RHC. It would also mean that an archivist can be recruited to help the RHC protect the past, so that the history of rail can be told for years to come.

Rail Minister Tom Harris said: "Last year saw record numbers of journeys on the rail network. We are focusing on how we can meet growing demand in the years to come but it is important that we carry on protecting the past so that future generations can see how far the industry has come. I encourage everyone with an interest in rail heritage to respond to the consultation so that we can better secure the artifacts and records of rail history."