Tains on display at the Electric Railway Museum, Coventry

Coventry’s railway museum to close

Rebecca Atkinson, 12.07.2017
Site earmarked for commercial development
The Electric Railway Museum in Coventry will close in October unless a new site can be found in the next few weeks.

The volunteer-run museum occupies a site near to Coventry Airport, which has been earmarked for the creation of a technology campus for Jaguar Land Rover by the landowner, Coventry City Council.

The trustees of the museum said in a statement that its lease had not been renewed by the council and they had so far been unable to find an alternative location.

“The closure of Electric Railway Museum in its current form is a real blow to the railway preservation movement and, unfortunately, it is unlikely we will be the last heritage centre to have to overcome such challenges in the near future,” the museum’s chairman, Ian Brown, added.

“However, this is certainly not the end of the line for Electric Railway Museum and, even if a physical base has not been secured by October, we will remain as a residual – yet virtual – operation, and will continue to own our core assets.”

In a statement, Coventry Council said plans to redevelop the land have been in place for a number of years. It added that it would support the museum to find a new home.

The Electric Railway Museum houses the largest private collection of electric trains in the UK covering more than a century of commuter trains, battery-electric locomotives and underground carriages, as well as specialist line-side equipment, such as signalling and current collection apparatus.

It is the largest single owner of the collection, but some items are owned by independent preservation groups and private individuals. A number of objects are also on long-term loan from other museums, including the National Railway Museum.

A spokesman for the Electric Railway Museum said it will open for the last time on Sunday 8 October. “After that time, the collection will be moved to railway heritage sites willing to offer them either temporary or permanent homes, or other sites where they may find suitable further use,” he added. “Items that can find neither will be offered for disposal as scrap.”

Funded through donations from the public and electric train enthusiasts, the 10-year-old museum attracted more than 2,000 visitors to its open days in 2016.