Published 1st October 2012
YORK - The NRM views ‘Railfest 2012’ as a success while conceding attendance was less than expected and the event made a loss.
Official figures have confirmed the numbers attending the June 2-10 ‘Railfest 2012’ at York’s National Railway Museum were considerably less than anticipated. The event also made a six figure loss.
Initial figures supplied described 63,100 people as having visited the NRM during Railfest, but this included 29,204 who only visited the free-entry museum and did not pay the additional charge to enter the Railfest site.
This brought the apparent attendance of the ‘Railfest’ event down to 33,896 – but it has now emerged that after deducting entitlements to free and reduced price entry just 27,000 people paid full price to enter the site. The NRM says over half the ticket sales were to adults, while family ticket sales were in excess of 8,000.
Final accounts for the event were due to be closed at the end of August, but the NRM confirmed it looked as though the total cost of the nine-day event was around £700,000 while takings from tickets and other sales (including souvenirs, food and drink) appear to have amounted to just £500,000 resulting in a £200,000 overall loss.
Commenting on the substantial loss on the event an NRM spokesman said, “Our aim as a National Museum is to engage the public with our collection, the largest collection of railway artefacts in the world. Railfest fitted our core mission – to spread the story of how the railways emerged and then evolved into a vital form of transport with a vigorous future.”
Conceding attendance was well short of its 65,000 visitor target for the event, a spokesperson commented, “we are still absolutely thrilled with the event’s success. We’ve received exceptionally positive feedback from visitors.”
“Any financial outlay is viewed as an investment in an event that has reinforced our relationship with the modern railway industry,” the spokesperson continued.
Attendance at the NRM does seem to remain excellent with August attendance apparently up 80% compared with August 2011 and the year to date figures showing a 17.49% increase over last year.
The NRM is part of the Science Museum Group, which as a whole received £38.3million of grant in aid from the Government for the financial year up to April 2012. This compares with £40.2million the previous year. Trading income for the group increased from £13.6m to £14m while income from legacies, donations and other grants rose by £300,000 to £7.3m. The full Annual Report and Accounts are available at sciencemuseum.org.uk/group .
As is well known, the cost of overhauling flagship locomotive A3 No. 4472 Flying Scotsman has soared well beyond original projections and the overhaul is now years behind schedule and still not completed.
At the beginning of September the A3 was still in The Works at the NRM following a decision to carry out some of the work previously expected to be undertaken at Riley & Son (E) Ltd’s works in Bury at York.
Work being undertaken by NRM engineers includes fitting the replacement bogie stretcher, overhauling bogie components, manufacture and fitting of ash pan components, production and fitting of the cab floor and the overhaul and fitting of the lubrication system. The new GSMR cab radio has recently been installed and commissioned at York.
An NRM spokesperson pointed out that keeping the A3 in York during the summer holidays enabled visitors to view some of the work first-hand from the gallery above The Works. No date for Flying Scotsman to be moved back to Bury for completion has yet been determined.