Steve Davies to step down as director of National Railway Museum

Museum denies link to Railfest losses
Sharon Heal
Steve Davies is to step down as the director of the National Railway Museum in York, it was announced today.

The new acting director, Paul Kirkman, will take up post on 5 November. Kirkman joins the museum on secondment from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport where he is currently head of arts.

A statement from the museum, which is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI) group, said that Davies was leaving to pursue a career in the private sector. He has been the director of the National Railway Museum since February 2010.

The move comes after stories in the local press claimed that the Railfest event at the museum in June had made a significant loss and that there had been damage to rolling stock as a result of the event. There were also unrelated reports of a row over the awarding of a restoration contract.

A statement from the museum said it believed that there had been a £215,000 loss on Railfast but that it was a worthwhile investment.

The museum said there would be a full investigation into the accusations of nepotism but there was no connection between these events and Davies’s decision to step down: “This is a personal decision which Steve has made and we wish him the best of luck."

Davies said: “I have been proud and privileged to lead a highly motivated team over the last three years, and hope that I have played my part in further promoting the museum’s fortunes. I have, however, decided to accept a firm offer of employment in the private sector as managing director of a company in the leisure and tourism industry.”
Kirkman said he was delighted to have been invited by Ian Blatchford, the director of the NMSI, to take up this position as acting director.

Davies is the third director of a museum in the NMSI group to have left since Blatchford became head of the group in October 2010.

Tony Hill stepped down as director of Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry in January while Colin Philpott left his role as director of the National Media Museum in Bradford after the position was made redundant in December.

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