National Association of Road Transport Museums


Representing Road Transport Museums and Collections


Home    About Us    Membership    Members    Members Events    Preservation News    Members Area    Contact Us


About Us


NARTM was formed over 40 years ago, bringing together folk who had as individuals or as a small group taken the initiative to care for examples of their local public transport heritage.  A key role of NARTM is to support the continuity of care of this heritage as society changes and the pioneers are no longer as active as they were. 

For a number of years NARTM was an informal organisation with the primary role of a forum to enable members to share ideas, experience and know-how through its meetings and quarterly newsletter.  During more recent years there have been many changes in the heritage sector, not least the advent of the Museum Accreditation Scheme, now administered by Arts Council England, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund (“NLHF”), both of which organisations have had a  very positive impact on transport heritage as a whole.  In order to be able to take advantage of this opportunity NARTM member organisations, many of which are run on a voluntary basis, have sought to become more professional and formal in the way they are constituted and managed.

NARTM has been instrumental in this change, representing members’ interests to the NLHF and Government Departments, sharing information on management skills, policies and procedures leading in some cases to formal museum accreditation and helping new members to develop their own organisations.

NARTM has also become more formal.  It is now a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity governed by its Articles of Association – which are available on request. The board consists of persons from member organisations who have many years’ experience and give their time, advice and resources freely.  NARTM membership has risen very rapidly from around 20 a few years  ago to almost 100 currently and represents the full spectrum from large public sector museums with full time staff such as the London Transport Museum to smaller volunteer run charities and museums, as well as individuals’ private collections. Between them they hold over 3,000 historic vehicles.

NARTM has compiled a database of known buses, coaches, trolleybuses, trams and commercial vehicles in preservation in the four countries of the UK. It gives an indication as to their condition and, where agreed with the owner, their location. This is updated regularly from information from its member organisations and other private owners.


The NARTM board of directors, who are all trustees, is elected by its members. Officers appointed by the board include Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.  Other officers look after Membership, Database, Policies & Procedures, Public Affairs, Newslink, Museums Liaison and Website. The Board meets periodically between the members’ meetings to progress new initiatives and respond to consultations on proposed legislation changes.


Meetings and visits

Members’ meetings are held in the Spring and Autumn. The October meeting also includes the Annual General Meeting.  These meetings are held over a weekend, hosted by one of our member organisations and we engage with those organisations to produce a programme of events that encourage participation in the meetings and enable members to socialise and exchange their experience in less formal surroundings. Many of these meetings are followed by an event the following day, either to view the host’s collection or to visit another heritage attraction on one of their vehicles.


NARTM publishes guidance on many issues such as the operation of free bus services by non-commercial organisations. This is provided free to members and is also available for sale to non-members. NARTM 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 members’ 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.

Legislation and regulations

It is vital for the heritage transport movement to be vigilant in relation to impending legislation and regulatory changes which could adversely affect our activities. Vehicle licensing and testing, driver licensing, drivers’ 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.  NARTM has achieved some notable successes in achieving beneficial modifications to proposed regulations through the consultation process.  More recent issues have been  the consultation on changes to MOT requirements for historic vehicles and the new legislation on the age of tyres. In future our focus will include Clean Air Zone legislation, the continued availability of fuels for our vehicles and safeguarding our ability to share our historic vehicles with the public by using them on the road. The Board will be vigilant to scrutinise all future planned changes in regulations.

NARTM is a member of the Federation of Historic Vehicle Clubs and works in co-operation with that body and other organisations to further the interests of its members.

Assessment of preserved vehicles

NARTM embarked on the development of its database in response to a review undertaken by the Transport Trust on behalf of NLHF to take stock of the surviving historic vehicles across all areas of transport heritage.  Using the information contained in the database, NARTM has developed a scoring system which assesses individual vehicles against the following criteria:






Technical significance


Operational significance / social advance


Originality / authenticity


Prototype / early example




National, regional or local significance.

NARTM is in the process of visiting all its member collections to use the above criteria to evaluate all their vehicles.  In time this will provide a verified survey which will show those vehicles which are of greatest historic significance and whose survival must be assured.  In combination with the database, 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 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 ‘at-risk’ 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,  the driver’s CPC are related issues which NARTM is addressing by the establishment of links with training providers.



© Copyright NARTM Limited

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