The railway has been for decades the reference in transport modes and its evolution has had a notable visual impact on the landscape and ways of life in contemporary society. The legacy of the train can explain and contextualize the lives of most people since the mid-nineteenth century. The identification, selection, storage and inventory of railway heritage are complex because of the uniqueness of their property and the large number of elements to be conserved. Different things such as typologies, nature and territorial roots have to be considered. Vehicles from different eras, buildings, infrastructure and sets for example stations, workshops or warehouses are joined to documentaries or they are intangible assets. It is required to protect the solid and uniform criteria of movable and immovable elements to safeguard them for the use and the benefit of today’s citizens and future generations. It is important to improve the social and institutional awareness of the value to boost existing projects and undertaking new ones. In Madrid there the headquarter of the Spanish Railways Foundation is placed, a group is working with special heritage centers, collections and territorial projects to articulate a coherent and complete address of the general railroad history. In Catalonia there is also a working group to bring all rail stakeholders, including the railway museums, together. They are working to enhance the visibility of the heritage in monthly meetings.
Conservation at the Catalonia Railway Museum
In the field of conservation, the Catalonia Railway museum, is assisted by an association of volunteers called SiC (partners and collaborators of the Museum). The association consist out of people working voluntarily to offer their unpaid work in different areas of action:
- Conservation: they founded a specific group of volunteers who are responsible for the restoration of the heritage pieces kept by the museum.
- Promotion: they help to promote the museum in the geographical region by creating brochures
- Activities: they help to carry out activities in the museum on special dates with a high numbers of visitors and special events in order to optimize the offered service
- Documentation: they help to organize the library, documentation issues and research.