EYEBROWS have been raised at the latest decision by the National Railway Museum to give one of its star exhibits, GWR heavy freight locomotive No. 2818, to Swindon Borough Council’s STEAM museum, as reported in issue 231.
It follows the donation of North Staffordshire Railway 0-6-2T No. 2 to the Foxfield Railway and the LSWR T3 4-4-0 No. 563 to the Swanage Railway.
As you commented in your editorial, giving away part of the National Collection of historical steam locomotives could be seen as equivalent to handing over NHS hospital stock to the private sector.
But as you also rightly pointed out, there are strings attached to all three bequests that are designed to safeguard their futures.
All three of these locomotives will be going to good homes where they will be seen by thousands of visitors and presumably cared for by teams of dedicated staff for the benefit of future generations.
The move puts all three of the engines back in the areas where they spent their working lives, as opposed to the NRM’s sites in York and Shildon, where all three have been based for the past few years, being rotated between the two centres.
The reasons may be financial, to ease the burden of cost on the NRM, or there may be some other motive – I can’t speculate.
However, I can feel confident in the knowledge that all three engines will be around for many more years continuing to delight railway enthusiasts and the general public and educating younger visitors about our rich industrial legacy.
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