Regular readers of this (that’s both of you) will have seen a focus on the tactical projects which are happening all the time at the Moseley Railway Trust’s Apedale site. However, you may ask if there is a long term vision for the site? Since arriving on site in 2006, the main overall projects have focused onto three areas. These have been converting the existing buildings to make them usable, building a large storage shed to allow exit from rented accommodation for the majority of the Trust’s collection, and building the Phase One passenger railway. Of these, completion of the Phase One passenger railway is outstanding, but this will hopefully be completed during 2009. But what next? Do we sit back and watch the fares roll in from the hoards of satisfied punters? It’s certainly a tempting option, but hardly in the spirit of the MRT. Oh no. “What Next” falls into a further three phases (and neutral, perhaps). The next major project will be the construction and opening of a museum building; the MRT has always been a museum focused organisation, and the words “conservation” and “interpretation” form key parts of the MRT’s mission statement. There has been considerable discussion about what form the museum will take, and what will be displayed therein – ask twenty people, and you get twenty totally different answers. What we do know is that we are planning a largish building which will double up as storage for the passenger carriages, with maybe five tracks inside. What we can do is learn from others. There are a few inspirational examples around, and we will try to learn from them. The three examples pictured this week are the museum at the APPEVA site at Froissy, France, the exhibition hall at the Amberley Museum, and the new Engine House at Highley on the Severn Valley Railway (albeit with rails set rather too widely spaced in the latter case).
Obviously, fundraising is going to be a major challenge for this project, so if you have the winning lottery ticket, we’d like to here from you. Although, to be fair, we are happy to here from you anyway here.
I’ll ramble on about the other phases of the Vision another time. Keep looking in.