National Association of Road Transport Museums  

Representing Independent Road Transport Museums and Collections

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About Us


NARTM was formed over 30 years ago and for a number of years it was an informal organisation with the primary role of being a forum to enable members to share ideas, experience and know-how through its meetings and newsletter.  During recent years there have been many changes in the heritage sector, not least the advent of Museum Accreditation and the Heritage Lottery Fund and the very positive impact this has had on transport heritage as a whole.  In order to be able to take advantage of this opportunity, NARTM members, many of which are run on a voluntary basis, have been required to become more professional and formal in the way they are constituted and managed.  NARTM has been in the vanguard of this change, representing membersí interests to the HLF and others, sharing information on management skills, policies and procedures leading to formal museum accreditation and helping new members to start climbing the learning curve.

NARTM has also had to change and become more formalised.  It is now a charity in its own right and has persuaded many of the leading figures from its member organisations to give their time and resources for the common good.   As a consequence NARTM membership has risen very rapidly from around 20 a decade ago to almost 100 in 2013 and represents the full spectrum from large public sector museums with full time staff such as the London Transport Museum, Beamish and Glasgow Riverside to smaller voluntarily run charities and individualsí privately owned collections.

The vehicles within NARTM membersí collections are generally regarded as forming the nucleus of the ĎNational Collectioní, particularly in relation to buses and coaches, although it is recognised that many important examples are in the ownership of individuals who are not in NARTM membership


NARTM is registered as a company limited by guarantee and as a charity. Its governing document is its Articles of Association which is available on request. The NARTM board of directors and trustees is elected by its members in accordance with the Articles of Association. Officers appointed from the board include Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. The NARTM Committee additionally includes Membership Secretary, Records Secretary, Policies & Procedures Secretary, Public Affairs Officer, Newslink Editor, Museums Liaison Officer and Web-master. The Committee meets periodically between the memberís meetings to progress new initiatives


Register and grading

NARTM embarked on the development of its register in response to a review undertaken by the Transport Trust on behalf of HLF to take stock of surviving historic vehicles across all areas of transport heritage.  The register of buses and coaches is checked and refreshed annually by contact with the vehicle owners and summary information has been published annually, subject to individual memberís agreement, in Buses Restored and more recently in Bus & Coach Restoration Handbook which has become the authoritative register of the National Collection.  The register is stored on a relational database which enables efficient searching and queries.  Following on from the register, NARTM has developed a scoring system which assesses individual vehicles against the following criteria:

  • Age

  • Typicality

  • Technical significance

  • Operational significance / social advance

  • Originality / authenticity

  • Prototype / early example

  • Rarity

  • National, regional or local significance

In combination with the register, this enables NARTM to provide advice to funding bodies regarding the worthiness of applications for restoration and also facilitates the identification of important vehicles at risk.

Needs assessment

NARTM has recently updated the needs assessment prepared by the Transport Trust in relation to the road transport sector.  Significant issues remain including availability of suitable covered accommodation, the ability to take action to protect Ďat-riskí vehicles and the dilemma facing individual owners on how to ensure the ongoing conservation of their vehicles beyond their ability to care for them.

Increasingly the disappearance of traditional skills is threatening the ability to maintain and operate these vehicles and many are disappearing from public access as a result.  Driver training and the driverís CPC are related issues which NARTM is currently addressing by the establishment of training courses and links with training providers.


NARTM publishes guidance on the operation of free bus services by non-commercial organisations and this is provided free to members and is also available for sale to non-members. It has also developed a policy on the operation of heritage vehicles to provide members with guidance to ensure that important historic vehicles are operated in an appropriate, sustainable way with due regards for their protection and safety.

In addition NARTM holds copies of membersí policies and procedures which are offered to members to assist in the development of customised documentation to suit their specific circumstances in relation to regulations, museum accreditation or best practice in managing any aspect of their activities.  These cover topics such as:

  • Collections management

  • Vehicle operation and maintenance

  • Health & safety

  • Security and risk

  • Managing staff and volunteers

  • Interfaces with the public

  • Protection of vulnerable people

Meetings, visits and courses

Membersí meetings are held over a weekend in the Spring and Autumn, the latter also being the AGM.  These meetings are held at a memberís premises and give the opportunity to see collections in many parts of the country as well as to socialise with other members and exchange ideas. A weekend often gives the opportunity to view several collections in the area. Meetings over the past few years have been held at Coventry, in South Devon, Aberdeen, Swansea, Crich and Oxford, Aston Manor and Ipswich. Members have also visited the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust, Sandtoft, Lincoln, the British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland, the South Yorkshire Transport Museum, and Aston Manor. On several occasions, courses have been held in conjunction with meetings covering topics such as risk assessment and HLF funding applications.

Legislation and regulations

It is vital for the heritage transport movement to be vigilant in relation to impending European and UK legislation and regulatory changes which could adversely affect our activities. Vehicle licensing and testing, driver licensing, driversí hours and tachographs regulations, retention of original registration marks and regulations relating to asbestos in vehicles have all received our attention; often in conjunction with other historic transport groups. On several occasions the impact of regulatory change intended for modern vehicles could have had an unforeseen (at least to the regulators) and unintended effect on owners of historic vehicles.  We have achieved some notable successes in achieving beneficial modifications to proposed regulations through the consultation process. Current issues are the consultation on changes to MOT requirements for historic vehicles and the possible impacts of closure of DVLA local vehicle licensing offices


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Registered in England Company No. 7332233    Registered Charity No. 1143128