If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

A Few Questions on NRM+/The NRM Revamp

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by jonhewes, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. jonhewes

    jonhewes New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    IT Tech Support
    Location:
    Lincs, UK
    Hi there,

    Like many on this board, I have come to learn of the proposed redevelopment of the Great Hall due to take place at the NRM between 2012 and 2013.

    Although I think that exhibiting items in a thematic manner is a good idea, I do have concerns about how this is being done, and that the Great Hall (an icon in it's self) will essentially be losing it's identity as a Motive Power Depot.

    In an era when the NRM barely has enough space to store or show off it's exhibits to their best advantage, I also have concerns relating to the storage of rolling stock and exhibits. Will there be addional rail connected under cover storage space created for exhibits displaced by NRM+?

    I am aware that certain locomotives will be heading off to other preservation centres and preserved railway lines, does this mean that locomotives such as 4471 and 92220 may end up being restored to steam?

    And finally, last but not least, will there be any scope for visiting locomotives to be displayed in the great hall once the work is complete, and is it anticipated that exhibits displayed in the great hall will change from time to time? eg.... The Cultural Concourse doing a feature on the 1970s and 80s and displaying a Class 87. If this is the case, I think NRM+ could work very well indeed....
     
  2. pennysteam

    pennysteam Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    61
    Occupation:
    analyst computer programmer
    Location:
    sheffield UK
    Frankly, I don't think they understand their market, they have based their deductions on asking visitors if they are enthusiast, less than 14% said they were and this gave the green light. However if they ask what they come to see, then 95% would say steam, every heritage railway knows that is what the punter won't and in fact it is the so called none enthusiast who expect it.

    Secondly many oversea's visitors come from far and wide and stop by York to see the NRM, again they have not come for every day Musuem with a pinch of steam.
     
  3. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,533
    Likes Received:
    2,643
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It will be interesting to see what the eventual themes will be, the list of exhibits doesn't give much of a clue, but clearly there's going to be little attempt to illustrate the evolution of passenger and goods locos as the steam locos seem to either be early or late examples, and most express passenger in the latter case.
     
  4. Anthony Coulls

    Anthony Coulls Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,804
    Likes Received:
    620
    It's not technocentric, so evolution of locos is not the plan, more of a coherent story of railways in the round. Do also bear in mind that the plan is to develop the whole NRM site over the next 10 years, so NRM+ is not the NRM in microcosm. There'll be a lot of moving around of stuff, new displays in the Station Hall (I was looking at the plans this afternoon) and Steve Davies has said to many that he'd like to have a new roundhouse with live railway action in the South Yard.

    There'll also be new loans and partnerships and operating opportunities - and because favourites aren't in the Great Hall, doesn't mean there is no place for them in the NRM at York or elsewhere. Think about the V2 and 9F, we wouldn't have brought them back to York without a plan...

    And please, keep the comments coming. Just because I'm a tired old so and so these days who posts short and curt responses doesn't mean I want to adopt a "holier than thou" attitude. And despite the headline in Rly Mag "NRM Turns its back on enthusiasts", why would we? Enthusiasts are part of our audience and we value their/your opinion. WE went out to consultation to enthusiast groups over NRM+ - and the groups are now hassling me to paint the 4 VEP in NSE livery ;-)

    However, we do need to respond to the wants of everyone, and there have to be elements of compromise, along with doing some things in new and interesting ways - and that's why the next decade is going to be so exciting for all.
     
  5. Merlin

    Merlin New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    4
    I have to being totally underwelmed by the proposed changes. It will make me much less likely to visit in the future. I am not simply a locomotive enthusiast and do appreciate the wider role of railways in society past and present. York did have wow factor and the changes now being implemented seem to me to reduce that rather that add to it.
    The visitor numbers over the next few years will show what the public think.

    Mike Hanson
    www.rlsr.org
     
  6. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    3,635
    Likes Received:
    788
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Anthony, what is going to happen to 35029? It was not mentioned in the exhibits list in Heritage Railway magazine.
    Also, 35029 has not turned a wheel for some time now. Are there problems with the operating rollers?
     
  7. TonyMay

    TonyMay Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    76
    If you want a proper roundhouse, go to Barrow Hill (though even that's a bit clean for a working steam shed). The NRM with its blue roofing beams, spot lighting and shiny engines is basically nothing like a working roundhouse, and nor would Joe Public like it if it were.

    Part of the problem is that there was no overall preservation plan 100 years ago so what's left is not particularly representative.

    I'd rather focus on what the NRM does well; working examples of engines in the national collection, and historical archive of documents.
     
  8. Anthony Coulls

    Anthony Coulls Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,804
    Likes Received:
    620
    Fair enough Mike, I understand, but hopefully the whole site will have the wow factor in say 5 years' time.

    As for 35029, there have been technical problems with the drive, and she will be moving into Station Hall in the medium term, with really good stuff for her planned in the long term - lots I'd love to say at the mo, but can't. Please bear with me!
     
  9. jonhewes

    jonhewes New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    IT Tech Support
    Location:
    Lincs, UK
    Hi Anthony
    Thanks for the reply, it will be interesting to see how things turn out.......

    I'm glad to hear that the NRM will be remaining enthusiast friendly and think that the construction of a new roundhouse in the Southyard is a good idea..... However, if the redevelopment of the Great Hall is going to cost £21 million, I dread to think how much the construction of a new Roundhouse will cost, or indeed how the NRM will secure the funding for it.

    Out of interest, is the £21 million all being spendt on the Great Hall refurbisment, or will it also be covering projects such as sprucing up the Station Building and the South Yard.
    Are you able to divuldge what the plans are for the loco display area in the station and what will be happening in the South Yard? Will the locos still be on Rail Connected roads, or will they essentially be “Land-Locked” when moved to the Station Hall? Will the platforms be flattened so that people can actually see the motions of the steam locos, rather than simply being able to view them from platform level?

    I apologise for being like a dog with a bone, however the Great Hall is like a Cathedral to me. I love being able to walk next to the locomotives and see their motion etc, and the NRM is one of the sole reasons I visit york (though my girlfriend loves it for shopping!)

    PS... One last thing... Will the NRM still be used for servicing/turning inbound locos from mainline steam tours?
     
  10. John Webb

    John Webb Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    86
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    St Albans, Herts
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I understand that one idea is to cover over the remaining turntable in the Great Hall. It is one of the very few turntables that the non-enthusiast public can get close to and actually see working; it is also a reminder that the Great Hall, even if rebuilt, was once an MPD like many in the country. To cover it over seems to be losing a significant part of the NRM's history and a notable exhibit.

    Regards,
    John Webb
     
  11. northernblue109

    northernblue109 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North East England
    Some interesting perpectives so far, all of which are valid but need to be considered in context. When I reflect on what the NRM has achieved to date, I have no reason to doubt that it will not continue to deliver. I recently had the opportunity to visit the excellent Dutch National Railway Museum at Utrecht, where the emphasis is very much on railways and not just steam engines - what a fantastic place for visitors of all types, even if the enthusiast in me would have preferred a few more locomotives. I for one look forward to the new NRM in the knowledge that it's not just for me but for the whole family.
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    11,004
    Likes Received:
    8,261
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    As one of those fortunate enough to be consulted (and thanks for that opportunity), one of my great wishes was to have a display showing a loco shed, warts and all. Not necessarily a big roundhouse, but one with (say) a couple of roads and a couple of locos on each, along with such things as a work bench with tools, a mock up of washing out a boiler (water going almost everywhere from leaky joints in the pipes) and 'steam' issuing from under the locos. All basically to give an atmosphere to a running shed and one that the public could walk through. A dark, dingy, warm, sauna like atmosphere that only those who frequented such places in the days of steam will really know what I'm aiming at but it could be done quite easily.

    Is my pipe dream going to become a reality?
     
  13. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,855
    Likes Received:
    555
    Location:
    Isle of Wight
    I hope it does Steve - perhaps the NRM could get in contact with the GCR with regards to being a partner in their Workington Shed project, or perhaps seek even its re-erection at York if it should no longer form part of the GCR's plans. Either way, that would seem the ideal structure for both a running/display shed along the lines of what Barrow Hill has achieved and be of sufficient size to allow loco's to be displayed in a way that shows the progression of design rather than just having them randomly littered about.

    Chris
     
  14. dman-lewis

    dman-lewis Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    16
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Trainee CAD Draftsman
    Location:
    Norwich
    After going last week, I could have swarn it was just built. but I dont like that they filled in the turntables in the area, Im fine with boading them over for room but turntable I think are becoming rare.
    Im fine with the normal family going but when the little children are swarming it can be hard to see things.
     
  15. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,533
    Likes Received:
    2,643
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Funnily enough, I'm least worried about the turntable. It isn't really feasible to use it so it sdoesn't really add a great deal too the display, and there are plenty elsewhere that do work and can/could be demonstrated. The NRM should be there to do what the heritage railways can't easily do, which is to make some sense of what is in its collection. Therefore I do think that at some point some thought needs to be given to the technology related displays, whether they're in loco development, pway or signalling - but maybe that's because I'm a scientist and like things to be rational!
     
  16. John Webb

    John Webb Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    86
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    St Albans, Herts
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The turntable is demonstrated every day and seems to draw quite a crowd each time I've been there - so it is feasible to use it as part of the museum's attractions.
     
  17. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    333
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South West
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Are critics of NRM+ being a bit precious about the Great Hall? In my view, any of the steam shed atmosphere it had is long gone, and the character is now more akin to a shopping mall. This is not a particular criticism; the character of the space allows the exhbits to be displayed in a well-lit and appropriately controlled environment.

    I recently visited the French Railway Museum at Mulhouse, Alsace. The place is split into two exhitbition halls, one with the traditional lines of locos and display boards, and one which is a more 'interactive' experience. I found the latter to be very, very engaging and told the story of the exhibits much better than the former. A rotary snow plough is displayed in a simulated alpine environement. You can board a historic metro carriage, with views of the tunnels displayed simulated through plasma screens through the windows and the lights coming on and off as you 'arrive' at stations. A loco is displayed on its side in a simulated accident, displaying the work of the resitance. I enjoyed it all enormously.

    Many of the larger exhibits in the NRM could benefit from 'having their story told' in the manner of the Mulhouse museum. However, the approach does not lend itself to flexibility. I imagine the NRM gets a high number of repeat visits because of the changing nature of its displays and I hope that the proposed thematic displays do not mean this flexibility is removed.

    I imagine the great dilema for the NRM is how to strike the balance between conservation of some very precious exhibits, and conveying the atmosphere of the working railway. These are not easy bedfellows, and I await with interest to see if the two can be reconciled by NRM+.
     
  18. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,521
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I'm looking forward to seeing the new NRM. After all, it is the National RAILWAY Museum and not the National LOCOMOTIVE Museum. At the moment, the Main Hall displays are very "cold" and static and you need some knowledge of the individual loco to know why it is there. Younger visitors are not going to read the information panels - they just see lots of locomotives in different colours and sizes.

    I had my doubts about the Japanese bullet train when it arrived, but this single carriage containing a video of how it operated (which you watch by sitting in the actual seats) was really informative and was being enjoyed by a wide range of other visitors.

    If the NRM will have less on show in the Great Hall, then hopefully that will mean more of the collection being operated or displayed at other railways and museums.

    Richard
     
  19. andymarland

    andymarland New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't follow this logic - the NRM survey their visitors and base their decisions on the results of that. So how is that not understanding their visitors? Secondly, where is this 95% come to see steam figure from? As far as I can gather, there will still be steam displayed, unless I've misread something?

    I think the plans are a good idea. I don't understand the accusations of dumbing down - if anything i'd say it's the opposite. Displays that educate people thematically are putting things into context, and are thus arguably more intelligent than a hall full of loco's with some signs up next to them listing some facts.
     
  20. Kerosene Castle

    Kerosene Castle Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,351
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hell, aka Hull
    I quite like that, similar lines to the Great War display in the Imperial War Museum.
     

Share This Page