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V2 4771 green arrow to return?

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Davo, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Well, I don't know most of the individuals currently involved in running the museum so I guess I can't really comment. But I would gently point out that fundamentally, the job of the NRM's staff is to run a museum. It's no good putting expert railway enthuasists in charge if they don't know how to run a museum. The specialist railway knowledge is provided by the museum's curators - that's literally their job - and as far as I can tell, the present curators are good people who know their stuff (e.g. Anthony Coulls). But a museum needs a wide variety of specialist skills, e.g. visitor engagement, education, exhibition design, etc. - not to mention some business-savvy managers at the top to keep an eye on the bottom line (which, even with the benefit of public subsidy, no institution can afford to ignore). For those roles, having the right skillset is far more important than having specialist knowledge of railways.
     
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  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I wonder if those clamouring for every locomotive at York to be a potential candidate for steaming would apply the same reasoning to, say, every aeroplane at Hendon? Suppose you decided to restore S-Sugar for flight. What would you gain? Another example of an aeroplane of which there are already two, and soon perhaps to be three, flying examples. What would you lose? The patina of an aeroplane that, in more or less every nut and bolt and wire and oil pipe, is the same plane that flew over a hundred missions over Germany during the war. That patina, which is what gives it a visceral connection to events of great significance, can only be lost once ...

    Tom
     
  3. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I did say with one or two notable exceptions and you’ve mentioned one of them. Of all the other skills needed to run a museum. Presentation etc, IMHO the NRM have failed but to see one of the worst examples of how not to exhibit railway artefacts, go to to the Riverside Museum in Glasgow
     
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  4. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Again, I think this is a misunderstanding of what the NRM is for. It's not the National Railway Enthusiasts Museum. It's for everyone, like the National Gallery or the Natural History Museum.
    The museum is quite rightly aimed mostly at people who aren't that informed about railways and go to learn something.
    I'm always rather amused when people go there and say "the display didn't include such and such information (which I already know anyway)". It's not aimed at people who know enough to say that. It's aimed at people who don't know a tank engine from a tender engine when they go in, and have no idea of the role railways played in the history of the UK.
    Regarding the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, everyone I know who's been (all not especially railway people) have been very impressed and enjoyed it. It's not supposed to be a photo stage for those of us who want to photograph the Caley 123 in detail. They are serving as objects telling the story of railways in Scotland.
    With our detailed interest we are like someone with a detailed interest in the types of paint and brush strokes used by Renaissance painters complaining that in the National Gallery you can't get close enough to the Raphaels to see if he used bismuth or carbon based grey in a particular painting.
    I have an interest in some particular families of animals, like Lemurs and Toucans. If I go to the Natural History Museum as a visitor I see only a few displays mentioning these in passing. I don't learn anything new and it is not especially stimulating for me. But that's not the point: the museum as a whole is a superb and wonderful celebration of the natural world.
    I bet >90% of the visitors to both museums are very happy with the displays, finding them interesting and informative.
     
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  5. Tim Light

    Tim Light Member

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    You make a lot of good points here, but there is an interesting consequence....

    If the general public can't tell a tank engine from a tender engine, and all these national treasures are simply being used as props to tell the masses about the role of railways in our history, then why do we need to use our greatest national treasures to tell this story? Can't we just paint up a few austerities, pannier tanks and diesel shunters and let them tell the story? The really interesting stuff like Green Arrow and HR 103 can then be farmed out to heritage sites where they will be properly appreciated.
     
  6. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    One might equally say that the National Gallery doesn't actually need Monet and Picasso to tell the history of art!
     
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  7. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    The Glasgow Museum is probably the worst example of what I mean, there’s no attempt at exhibiting railway items in any form of railway environment, Gordon Highlander is jammed up against a single deck tram, the NB built South African loco is surrounded by a jumble of old bikes with the others scattered around the hall in no particular order.
    The NRM is housed in an ex railway building that was vandalised some years ago into something resembling a B&Q warehouse. I know the roof needed replacing but there must have been a way of restoring at least part of it to resemble a working steam shed. Now the workshop has been sacrificed for a kids playground there is even less reason to visit.
     
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  8. keith6233

    keith6233 New Member

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    Correct me if i am wrong isn't the NRM now called The Railway Musum York.
     
  9. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Consider yourself corrected.:) That is no more than a branding name. It is still the National Railway Museum and calls itself as such. It is a bit like British Rail was the branding name of British Railways, but it did not cease to be British Railways.

    Peter
     
  10. Tim Light

    Tim Light Member

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    I've not been to the new Glasgow museum, but the old one was bad enough.

    The worst example I have ever seen is City of Birmingham, split from its tender, hidden behind pillars, interpretive panels, other exhibits and totally unnecessary banners just for good measure. Hard to know what story this is telling, apart from how not to arrange a museum.
    P1160822.JPG
     
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  11. D1002

    D1002 Part of the furniture

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    City of Birmingham is separated from it’s tender for a very good reason. It provides a rare opportunity for the disabled/elderly to access a locomotive footplate:
    7BC85229-C2EB-4400-BEB4-FEF2F03EB860.png
     
  12. Kylchap

    Kylchap Member

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    When we express a desire to see a museum loco returned to steam, as many of us do, I think it's worth reflecting on what we really want. Is our focus on a particular locomotive because of its historical significance, such as Mallard or City of Truro, or is it rather that we want to see in operation an example of a particular class that is only represented by a single museum exhibit, such as Green Arrow?

    If it's the former, then the issue of destroying the historicity of the loco by restoring it is paramount and difficult. If it's the latter, it may be better in the long term to build a new one. For example, I'm guessing it might cost £3m - £4m to build a new V2. Bearing in mind the condition of the cylinder block and probably major boiler work at least, I can't see 4771 becoming operational for less than £1m. If Green Arrow was restored, there would probably be tight restrictions on its usage and it might become a show pony like Flying Scotsman. On the other hand, a new one could give scope for more intensive and serious use, unaided over Shap with 12 on, etc. The extra £2m - £3m cost might pay off over time.
     
  13. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    The difficulty with the argument of 'Build a new one' is I think there are many people who think preservation is saturated as it is with plans to build / convert locos to resurrect locos that are extinct, and almost all of these have to raise the entirety of the money needed through charitable donations and the like, only the A1SLT are in the position where they have a degree of income to supplement this, and even then I reckon most of the income from Tornado at the moment goes to keeping Tornado going. Were groups to start up saying "We want to build a new V2", quite a lot people would think "But we've already got a V2..." and proceed to ignore it. Years ago I remember a group of people proposing to build a new Dean Goods, on the grounds that it was a class that was widely used across the GW system and would be suitable for many preserved railways. Many people simply said "But there's already a Dean Goods", and those that wanted to see a new GW loco probably donated to something like the Saint or 47xx or Grange build projects.
    Plus, I wonder how many people clamouring for Green Arrow to return simply want to see a V2 in steam, and how many specifically want Green Arrow to run again. Building a new V2 isn't going to solve the latter. It's like if Scotsman seemed to be permanently plinthed, would people fight to build a new A3, or would they campaign for 4472 to be overhauled and ran again?
     
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  14. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    This is precisely my point. This is "bad" if, like you and I, you already know more than a museum is going to tell you about this loco, and instead want to photograph it all, not just bits of it, or see it looking like it's on shed at least.
    Whereas for the people the museum is actually trying to educate, entertain and inform, they can experience it's impressive bulk, get close, see what the bits do with the explanations of what the loco is and how it works close by, see inside the footplate, etc.
    The frustration people like us have with these museums is simply that were not who they're aimed at, and yet they have things we want to see!
     
  15. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, guys, I think we are going to have to realise that in the climate of the last decade and the likely climate of the next decade as regards public financing, these Museums are in survival mode, not pleasing enthusiasts mode.
    Funding the restoration to working order of a loco is a huge expense they can do without, especially as once started it often (always!?!?) turns out to cost more than expected...
    What they need to do now is justify the funding they get if not their actual existence by appealing to the general public, not people already interested.
    It would be wonderful to see Green Arrow in steam again. If we want it, we will be supportive of the NRM and work out ways to help them.
    There's outrage if they de-accession things, outrage if they don't steam people's favourite loco, and outrage that they dare to try to appeal to families with kids...
    We should be grateful they aren't scrapping engines, something that has happened with "national collection" type locos in other countries quite recently.
    Most other countries would kill for the NRM and the national collection, accessible to everyone (in normal times) and winning over a new generation to the love of railways.
     
  16. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I don’t know anyone who had any interest in photographing a stuffed and mounted locomotive in a non railway environment. Part of the story of railways is the atmosphere and environment of the old working railway, for that go to Didcot rather than the NRM
     
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  17. billbedford

    billbedford Member Friend

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    well john my last visit i got the impression that the exhibits are becoming a hindrance to the place becoming an indoor market with the amount of stalls selling stuff.
     
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  18. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Just about right there.
     
  19. Tim Light

    Tim Light Member

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    And my point (part of it ) is to question what anyone learns from an exhibit that is three-quarters hidden behind mostly unnecessary clutter. The best railway museums, in my opinion, are those which take the trouble to give their exhibits some authentic context. Probably the best I have seen is the California State Railway museum in Sacramento, but I think Steam at Swindon also does a good job.

    To be fair, many museums have too little space, so they have no option but to cram everything in, but having done so why make it worse by adding interpretive materials that further obscure the exhibits. Another bad example of this is Darlington North Road, where the old station atmosphere has been destroyed by interpretive structures.
    100_5907.JPG a1970.JPG DSCF2805.JPG
     
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