Department for Transport
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Railway Heritage consultation launched

Railway Heritage consultation launched

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (085) issued by The Government News Network on 3 June 2008

Proposals to ensure historically significant artefacts are protected to tell the story of the British railway have been published in a consultation by Rail Minister Tom Harris MP today.

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 artefacts 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 artefacts 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 focussing 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 artefacts and records of rail history."

Notes to Editors

The consultation paper, "Updating the scope and membership of the Railway Heritage Committee" has been published by the Department for Transport today. It can be found on the DfT's website at

The consultation runs until 5 September 2008.

The consultation examines options as to whether the scope of the Railway Heritage Committee should be increased to cover railway related bodies that were not included in the original legislation. It also seeks an approach to allow the appointment of members through future campaigns without the limiting nature of original legislation.

The Railway Heritage Committee (RHC) is an executive Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT). It was established as such on 21 November 2005 under the Railway Heritage Act 1996 (as amended).

The role of the RHC is to "designate" records or artefacts relating to railways which are of sufficient interest to warrant preservation.

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