Sharing the UK’s railway heritage expertise: leading experts from Taiwan visit Middleton Railway
Not surprisingly, given its role as the birthplace of the railways, the UK is a global leader in the preservation, restoration and management of railway heritage. Railway museums, heritage sites and preservation societies can be found in every corner of the country and are active mainly through the work of nearly 20,000 volunteers.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries locomotives and rolling stock – both steam and diesel – were exported around the world including to the island of Taiwan. To this day you can find locomotives built in the workshops of Hunslet right across the globe. Now, Taiwan is embarking on a large-scale project to restore a huge railway workshop in its capital city of Taipei and to convert it into a National Railway Museum funded through the Ministry of Culture.
As part of this development programme, the Taipei Railway Workshop is sending nearly thirty of its expert staff to the UK on a special educational tour to visit railway sites and museums to learn more about the restoration, technical operations and the management of heritage railways.
The World’s Oldest Railway, Middleton Railway, will welcome Taiwan experts to its Moor Road headquarters on Thursday (21 November 2019) to see its operations and learn more about the ways it has developed.
The visitors will be able to see the railway and engage directly with experts.
Museum Manager Tony Cowling commented:
“We are delighted to welcome our Taiwanese guests to our site. I am sure we have much to tell them and we hope that this will mark the beginning of on-going collaboration. Taiwan is a long way from Leeds but we all share a love of our railway past and the desire to see it protected and well managed for future generations.”
Mr Lin, Deputy Director of the Preparatory Office of National Railway Museum (Taiwan), who will be leading the UK visit stated:
“We are delighted to have an opportunity to visit some of the UK’s premier railway heritage sites. There is much we can learn from the ways in which the UK has embraced its long and distinguished railway history. We hope that we can bring some of the UK’s expertise to bear on our ambitions to establish Taiwan’s first National Railway Museum.”
The Middleton Railway was built in 1758 and is the first railway authorised by an Act of Parliament, the first to have commercially successful steam locomotives, in June 1812, and also the first standard gauge preserved railway, opening in June 1960. It has operated trains every year since opening in 1758.
This post is based on a press release issued by Middleton Railway