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Our Purpose

Railway Heritage is big, important business. Get it wrong and, at best, business opportunities may be lost; at worst, valuable nationally and internationally important collections and artefacts may be placed at serious risk. However, get it right and it can play a major part in enhancing the cultural offer of the tourist railway or museum concerned, with significant benefits commercially, economically, and of course in terms of tourism growth and visitor footfall. But the benefits of railway heritage are not just confined to the ‘traditional’ spheres of preserved railways and museums. The contemporary main-line railway of any country can also benefit from an imaginative involvement in heritage operations, attracting both domestic and overseas customers, with potentially significant commercial and reputational benefits. The former Chairman of British Rail, the late Sir Peter Parker, commenting on heritage operations on Britain’s main line railway network, said that special trains hauled by steam locomotives “warmed the market” for the modern railway. This holds true today.

The United Kingdom is widely recognised as enjoying a sophisticated and comprehensive railway heritage sector. The sheer concentration of heritage railways, operations and museums, underpinned by a significant main line railway heritage steam and diesel operation, is arguably unparalleled. The expertise which created this situation did not appear overnight, rather it took time to evolve as railway preservation developed and grew in the UK from the 1950s onwards. Consequently, the UK enjoys a plethora of talent across a wide range of railway heritage disciplines including engineering, restoration and conservation, high quality painting of stock, archives, cataloguing, interpretation and display, education, and railway operations. This list represents only a narrow selection of the functional expertise to be found in the country which gave birth to the modern railway, and which now flourishes around the World. Railway heritage is also big business internationally. Some countries already display high levels of expertise in this area and need little support; others by contrast can benefit from access to the skills readily available in the UK.

The International Railway Heritage Consultancy has been formed to provide a one-stop-shop for railway heritage organisations – international and domestic - in order that they might access the skills they need to support their operations. From helping to establish a railway heritage museum or attraction from scratch, through the enhancement and improvement of an existing heritage operation, to the master planning required to move an operation from good to great, we are able to bring together the expertise required to meet the client’s needs be it modest or on a grand scale, or perhaps somewhere in between. The core team already possesses considerable expertise, and its members enjoy powerful national and international reputations as experts in their respective fields. A wide range of other specialists are on our books and available to bring their respective expertise, skills, and wealth of knowledge to bear to meet the client’s requirements.

Led by its Managing Director, Steve Davies MBE, a former British Army Colonel and Director of the National Railway Museum in York, England, the core team comprises two Directors and seven Associate Consultants. Depending on the client’s needs, expertise for the task would be drawn in the first instance from this core team, with additional support harnessed as required from elsewhere within the UK’s railway heritage sector. This team works supremely well together, is very focussed on the task in hand, and will provide outstanding value for money. Working alongside the client, the team’s collective depth of knowledge and organisational ability is such that persuasive and constructive recommendations and proposals flow naturally and are communicated succinctly and in a way which is useful and relevant to a broad range of stakeholders. We are as expert in dealing at National political levels as we are advising on a museum gallery or locomotive restoration. Support to the client in delivering the recommendations is also available if requested. The key point is that our clients will have access to the very best advice with positive impact on their ability to attract funding and broader support for their projects. The core team already has collective experience in supporting and developing overseas railway heritage projects, the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum in Freetown and the Nigerian National Railway Museum in Lagos being cases in point, and it is the positive experience working with the Sierra Leone Government which motivated Steve and his team to make a similarly energetic offer available to the broader international railway heritage community. The Sierra Leone experience is an excellent case study illustrating just what the team is capable of in the most trying of circumstances and illustrates powerfully the strength of the Consultancy’s capabilities.