The GNR Atlantic

Railway museums to pause loans until 2024 ahead of major project

Photo: The GNR Atlantic (Credit Charlotte Graham)

The Science Museum Group’s National Railway Museum and Locomotion will not take on new loan agreements as they gear up for a joint masterplan project.

The Science Museum Group’s National Railway Museum and Locomotion are to introduce a two year pause on new loan agreements for objects and vehicles as they gear up for a major new project.

The moratorium will cover loan requests received between January 2022 and December 2023, and is hoped to enable colleagues to deliver the Vision 2025 masterplan, a five-year plan to create the ‘world’s Railway Museum’.

It will not affect existing loan agreements and proposals.

As part of the moratorium, requests for rail vehicles to attend heritage galas will require at least six months’ notice. Plans for Flying Scotsman in 2022 and the centenary year celebrations in 2023 will be unaffected.

Ed Bartholomew, Lead Curator at the National Railway Museum, said it will continue to make the collection as accessible as possible, lending items from the collection both nationally and internationally, but explained that “while major redevelopments are underway, our capacity to administer new loan requests will be reduced.”

The Search Engine facility at the National Railway Museum will be unaffected and will remain open for researchers. The museum also points to its online collection of objects while loans are unavailable.

Over 270 rail vehicles – 62 of which are on loan to partner organisations – make up the combined collection of the National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon.

Last month, as part of the Vision 2025 project, The National Railway Museum launched a consultation around a proposed major expansion which will connect two of its existing buildings.

The Central Hall plans form an early stage of the delivery of York Central, the 45-hectare regeneration site which is a partnership with Network Rail, Homes England, City of York Council and the museum.

The improvements are expected to be completed by 2025, which will mark the Railway Museum’s 50th anniversary.