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Monday, 23 May 2011

Private preservation

RML2323 back on familiar territory 45 years later at
Langley Village Harrow on 22nd May. (Photo: Jeff Lloyd)
Well this weekend you had a huge range of activities to choose from, the 1938 tube stock and Sarah Siddons at work on the Underground to Amersham and Rickmansworth, the Slough Running Day, and several others so there was no shortage of interesting events.

So what is the future of these type of events? Certainly the advent of digital photography has brought out very many more people keen to record the events and then in many cases post them on the internet for worldwide consumption.

People also enjoy their ride on old vehicles - many of them ordinary folk who chance upon them by accident.

But what is the future of private preservation? Individuals or groups who have acquired a vehicle which is special for them face extraordinary costs - maintenance, storage and running costs. However as they get older they are not able to devote anything like as much time or energy, and indeed sometimes funds. There are often no replacement members or owners as each younger generation has its own era of preferred vehicles.

There are those in professional museum circles who regard private preservation as "deferred scrapping" which is a bit harsh but sometimes actually the case.

Some of the capacity has been taken up by businesses such as EnsignBus and London Bus Company who have taken worthy vehicles into their care when their original owners wanted to dispose of them.

But apart from these, where will the privately-owned fine vehicles be in another 10, 20, or 30 years' time? Many owners rather trust their vehicles will be taken in by museums or collections but the truth is that vehicles without funds are often a liability rather than an asset.

Time therefore to consider the longer term future for privately-preserved vehicles. Tremendous that they have been saved and restored; essential that arrangements are made for them to be preserved for the longer term as well.

Now keep a look out for more news this week. A couple of interesting stories coming up!

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