Heritage Railway Association

Code of Conduct


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1.1.  The Heritage Railway Association (HRA) has adopted the following Code of Conduct as good practice to be observed by all members of the HRA. It is designed to promote safe practice, to give reassurance to the public and enhance the reputation of its members.

1.2.  In this document, the term ‘railway’ shall be taken to include member ‘tramways’, ‘rail- mounted cableways’ and ‘museums’ as appropriate and the term “artefact” shall be taken to mean a locomotive, item of rolling stock or any other major item of railway equipment.


2.1.  HRA members should identify and comply with legislation and statutory requirements applicable to their railway.

2.2.  Members should identify and conform with those HRA Guidance Notes and other published codes of practice that are applicable to their railway.

2.3.  Members should have policies in place to provide for adequate safeguarding of children, young persons and vulnerable adults, and to guard against harassment, bullying and unfair discrimination or treatment.

2.4.  In the event of a dispute between two or more HRA members they should, in the absence of a specific alternative, consider mediation by the Association as an alternative to commencing legal proceedings.

2.5.  Members should not act in a manner which is likely to bring discredit to the heritage railway sector and should seek to ensure that their members and their staff (whether paid or unpaid) act accordingly.

2.6.  Members who wish to resign from HRA should indicate their intention to the Membership Secretary of the Association in writing together with their reasons for doing so.

2.7.  Members should, at the written request of HRA, provide all reasonably available statistical and other information. Such requests will be made on the clear understanding that information provided will be treated as confidential and will be used only to compile overall national statistics, unless agreed otherwise.

2.8.  If a member wishes to dispose of an artefact, other than to an associated organisation or to another organisation with similar objects, then, subject to any contrary terms governing the original acquisition of such artefact, the availability of the artefact should be advertised in Sidelines and/or on the HRA website. Sufficient time should then be allowed for any expression of interest in acquiring the artefact to be received in response to such notification before any such artefact is broken up or otherwise disposed of. In this connection, members should bear in mind the following before the disposal takes place -

i. in the case of an artefact that has been designated by the Railway Heritage Committee or the Trustees of the Science Museum under the terms of the Railway Heritage Act 1996, the need to consult the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board; 

ii. in the case of an artefact that belongs to a designated collection or is held by a member who is an accredited museum, the acquisition and disposal policy should comply with the requirements of the regulatory body concerned; and

iii. in the case of an artefact the acquisition of which has been wholly or partly financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund or another funding body, the need to consult that body.

2.9. Members should seek to avoid offence being caused at re-enactment events, paying particular attention to the wearing and display of offensive and/or unsuitable military uniforms and insignia by, and the conduct and deportment of, individuals from their organisation and/or within visiting re-enactment groups.


3.1.  Organisations must provide HRA with a copy of their Constitution or Memorandum and Articles of Association, as appropriate, on application for membership and whenever any subsequent significant changes are made.

3.2.  Each member organisation should have a written Constitution incorporating the following principles:

i. The objects for which the organisation is formed.

ii. The arrangements for the appointment of the governing body. Information relating to its members’ tenure of office should also be included.

iii. All monies received to be expended in the furtherance of its objects.

iv. Proper books and accounts to be kept and at regular intervals there should be laid before members a Statement of Income and Expenditure and a current Balance Sheet.

v. A General Meeting of members to be held at least once every calendar year for the election of Officers and members of the governing body, for the appointment or re- appointment of such members and for the acceptance of accounts which have been approved by the governing body and which have been audited if this is necessary in order to meet with statutory requirements.

vi. In the event of a dissolution or winding up of the member organisation (save for a bona fide restructuring) provision to be made for the proper disposal of the assets, including in accordance with paragraph 2.8 if appropriate.

3.3. Members of the governing bodies of member organisations shall be eighteen years of age or over in order to accept the legal responsibilities of office.


4.1.  Member organisations should legally limit the financial liability of their members, if they are incorporated.

4.2.  In the case of an HRA member seeking donations from members of the public, it should:

i. state the purposes for which the donations are requested; and

ii. make arrangements for any person who has made a substantial donation to any appeal to receive a copy of a Statement of Account relating to monies donated to the appeal `


5.1. Members should have adequate liability insurance policies in place that are suitable for their undertakings. They should also consider providing an accident policy for their staff and volunteers.


6.1. All members operating a railway should maintain proper standards of operation and take adequate steps to ensure the safety of the public, other visitors, staff (paid or unpaid), agents and contractors at all times.


7.1. Members who have any facility which is open to the public should agree to adopt any code of practice to visitor attractions published by their relevant tourist body.


8.1.  Any allegation of a breach of this Code by a member will be considered by the Board of the HRA and if the Board considers that there is an arguable case in support of the allegation, the case will be remitted to the Code of Conduct Panel (the Panel), an independent body established by the Board to determine such issues.

8.2.  The following sanctions will be available to the Panel:

i. Issue the member with a warning as to future conduct which would remain in place for two years.

ii. Direct the member to take specified steps within a stipulated time, a failure to do so causing the matter to be reconsidered by the Panel.

iii. Suspend the member from membership of the HRA for a period not exceeding three years.

iv. Expel the member from membership of the HRA.

8.3. In the event of the Panel imposing a sanction specified in either paragraph 8.2.3. or 8.2.4., the member concerned may appeal to the membership of the HRA at a general meeting in accordance with procedures laid down by the HRA Board


©HRA 2016 Code of Conduct approved at HRA AGM 06 February 2016 The Heritage Railway Association, Limited by Guarantee, is Registered in England and Wales No. 2226245 Registered office: 2 Littlestone Road, New Romney, Kent, TN28 8PL