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Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board

Ensuring a secure and sustainable future for railway records and objects.

The Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board (RHDAB) ensures a future for railway heritage by designating railway-related items. Locomotives, paintings, archives, furniture and more are all in scope for designation. The Board chooses items important to British railway heritage and agrees which institution (such as a museum or heritage centre) shall receive items when no longer required by the railway business that owns them.

The closest parallel to designation is building listing, though there are some key differences. Designated items continue to be owned by the railway company until they are no longer required. During this time there are no restrictions on use. When designated items are out of commission, and are located in Great Britain, they are then transferred to a heritage organisation. Our aim is that items remain in the public domain for the benefit of all. Recipients include: The National Railway Museum; Scottish Railway Preservation Society; STEAM – Museum of the GWR; The Museum of the Order of St John; The East Kent Railway Trust; and many more.

We advertise available items on this website for a minimum of two months. When items are available, the advert and instructions for applying can be found via the link provided. Do get in touch if your organisation is interested!

The designation process was originally overseen by the Railway Heritage Committee (RHC). The Science Museum Group took over the role in 2013 and the Board of Trustees ratifies the decisions made by RHDAB. The RHDAB meets three times a year and members are drawn from the railway industry, archives and records offices, museums and heritage railway sector.

Designated items are protected by law under the Railway Heritage Act, 1996.

CASE STUDIES

2018/16  HST POWER CAR 43002

InterCity 125 HST Sir Kenneth Grange

This Diesel Electric Locomotive number 43002 High Speed Train Power Car is named “Sir Kenneth Grange” after its designer and was built by BREL Crewe 1975.

This locomotive was designated in 2018 due to its importance as the first production HST. The HST was initially the fastest train in Europe and internationally second only to the Japanese Bullet Train. The HST class still holds the world diesel speed record of 148mph.

Built in 1975, the same year as the National Railway Museum, York, first opened its doors to the public, this vehicle now stands proudly on display at the museum.

For more information about the 43002 Power Car please see: High Speed Train Power Car 43002 | Science Museum Group Collection

2022/03 ST JOHN AMBULANCE PLAQUE

St John Ambulance Plaque
Image courtesy of the Museum of the Order of St John

RHDAB designated the St John’s Ambulance Plaque in March 2022 and successfully found a new home for it at the Museum of the Order of St John in 2023.

The connection between railways and the St John Ambulance Association began with the founding of the Association in 1877 and its quest, at the outset, to teach first aid skills and to train staff to be able provide on the spot treatment in the workplace.

The metal plates were originally presented by the Railway Executive signifying its continuing support for this volunteer activity by British Railways staff following Nationalisation. The winning teams shown represented locations in the then Southern Region of British Railways. Poignantly, the final year shown, 1994, was the year that British Railways was succeeded by Railtrack.

1998/20 CLASS 91 LOCOMOTIVE NO. 91131: SIR HENRY ROYCE

Class 91 Sir Henry Royce
Courtesy of the Museum of Scottish Railways (Scottish Railway Preservation Society)

This vehicle was originally designated by the Railway Heritage Committee in 1998. 91131 was the last high-speed locomotive built for British Rail and reached speeds of over 154 mph. RHDAB has successfully found a home for this vehicle at The Scottish Railway Preservation Society. 

2022/01  EDWARDIAN TIMBER STAFF TELEPHONE BOOTH WITH CLOCK

Timber phone booth
Credit: Transport for London

This staff telephone booth with clock is believed to be an original feature of Warwick Avenue Station on the Bakerloo Line.

It is one of two surviving examples on the network (the other one is at Kilburn Park and is protected by the Grade II station listing). These staff kiosks are still a feature of London Underground stations today, providing an important service to passengers.

Designated in March 2022, this item is still in the care of Transport for London (TFL). It will remain with TFL until it is no longer required. RHDAB will then agree a suitable museum or heritage organisation for it to be transferred to.

RHDAB MEMBERS

  • Tim Dugher (Co Chair, Trustee)
  • Lord Richard Faulkner of Worcester (Co Chair)
  • Baroness Nicky Morgan (Trustee)
  • Lord Peter Hendy of Richmond Hill (Trustee)
  • Andrew McLean
  • Edmund Bird*
  • Ian Gilbert*
  • Joe Graham
  • Mark Merryweather
  • Vicky Stretch
  • Paul Lewin
  • Charlotte Berry

SMG Exec: Judith McNicol

* Co-members

Part of the Science Museum Group