10:17am Friday 7th June 2013
By Mike Laycock
A FORMER head of the National Railway Museum (NRM) has suggested it should become a truly independent museum.
Andrew Dow, who was museum boss between 1992 and 1994, said the news of the threat of closure was “as challenging as it is worrying”.
He told The Press: “Perhaps the time has come for the NRM to become independent of the Science Museum Group.”
He revealed he had raised this possibility with the then chairman of the trustees of the Science Museum, Lord Waldegrave, some years ago, but he had not been impressed with the idea.
“If the NRM was independent, it could make its own case for funding to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, rather than have to stand in line with other museums in the Science Museum Group,” he said.
“Or it could become truly independent, and become the responsibility of a consortium consisting of Network Rail, the Association of Train Operating Companies, and the freight companies, and act as a showcase for the railway industry.”
Mr Dow, who lives in Newton-on-Ouse, near Easingwold, said an attempt was made to do this, with displays of modern rolling stock, when he was head, and he claimed there would be other benefits if ut was part of the railway industry.
“It could be provided with expertise from Chartered Mechanical Engineers, of the kind that it did not have throughout the saga of Flying Scotsman.
“It would be injected with a kind of understanding of railways that NRM seems to have lost while ever more space is given to eating facilities and retail outlets.
“There would be much to gain from returning the Museum to its roots, being of the industry, and managed by the industry.”
A museum spokeswoman said that Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group, would welcome discussing the situation personally with any of the museum’s former directors.
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