The National Railway Museum (NRM) in York and Locomotion at Shildon are to introduce a two-year pause for loaning out objects and vehicles.
The moratorium is to enable NRM staff to deliver the museum’s Vision 2025 masterplan, and will cover loan requests received between January 2022 and December 2023.
Existing loan agreements, those currently in discussion, or proposals received before 31 January 2022, will not be affected.
Heritage galas will be required to give at least six months’ requests for rail vehicles to attend. Plans for Flying Scotsman in 2022 and the centenary year celebrations in 2023 will be unaffected.
From January 2024, new requests for loans will be considered in line with the museum’s standard notice periods of six months before the start of UK loans and nine months for international loans.
Ed Bartholomew, Lead Curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “Vision 2025 is a once in a generation opportunity to connect the past with the present, to inspire the innovators, the engineers, and the problem-solvers of the future and to become the World’s Railway Museum.
“We will continue to make the collection as accessible as possible which includes lending items from the collection both nationally and internationally, but while major redevelopments are underway, our capacity to administer new loan requests will be reduced. Introducing the temporary pause on new loans is a sensible step to ensure the team can fully deliver our ambitious plans.”
The Search Engine facility at the National Railway Museum will be unaffected and will remain open for researchers. Many objects from the collection can also be seen online at http://www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/research-and-archive.
The NRM and Locomotion are both part of the Science Museum Group. They care for a diverse and internationally-significant collection of 7.3 million items including 275 rail vehicles, 62 of which are on loan to partner organisations throught Britain, and one wagon lent to the DB Museum in Nuremburg, Germany.
Besides full size locomotives and carriages, the NRM houses many smaller items from original locomotive drawings to railway ephemera, and an air-conditioned art store with 4,420 artworks, 11,500 posters, and more than one million photographs.
Whilst the NRM and Locomotion have a moratorium on loans, thousands of items held at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, and the Science Museum’s Library and Archive collections, will remain available for loan.