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One of the five Stonehenge land trains
©
The Heritage Trust
 
All five of the so called land trains that convey sightseers from the Stonehenge Visitor Centre to the monument itself were withdrawn last week just days before thousands of people were expected to visit the monument over the Easter break. Each train carries about 45 people and is pulled along by a single Land Rover. There have been concerns expressed in the past that there was not enough turning room at the Visitor Centre for the land trains to easily manoeuvre in and also that they would be unable to cope with thousands of sightseers during peak periods. Sightseers are now being transported to the monument by a fleet of buses.
 
According to Historic England (formerly English Heritage), “They [the land trains] have all gone for the moment. They went about a week ago. We do not know when they will be back. The land trains are being serviced and will be offsite for several weeks while we also take the opportunity to look at design improvements.”
 
The land trains were supposed to provide a low environmental impact on the Stonehenge area and if they are now to be replaced by a fleet of buses ploughing backwards and forwards between the Visitor Centre and the monument that objective will have been lost. Historic England’s comments that, “We do not know when they will be back.” and, “…while we also take the opportunity to look at design improvements.” are not encouraging ones but let’s hope we’re wrong and the land trains will be back in service again soon.
 
Update. BBC News reports today (10 April 2015) that, “A 26-space coach park is set to be built at Stonehenge and will operate for two years… English Heritage will convert farmland next to the existing coach park and will include walkways for pedestrians.”
 
 

 
 
Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum
 
Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, has announced his intention to resign. Neil MacGregor is perhaps best known to the public through his outstanding and highly entertaining Radio 4 A History of the World in 100 objects series (and its accompanying book). The series consisted of a hundred 15-minute episodes based on objects from the British Museum’s collection. This morning, however, Neil MacGregor, announced to his colleagues at the British Museum that he has decided to step down as Director at the end of December 2015. Part of the British Museum press release reads –
 
Neil MacGregor said, “It’s a very difficult thing to leave the British Museum. Working with this collection and above all with the colleagues here has been the greatest privilege of my professional life. But I’ve decided that now is the time to retire from full-time employment and the end of this year seems a good time to go. The new building has been completed, so we at last have proper exhibition space, new conservation and scientific facilities, and first class accommodation for our growing research activities. We have built strong partnerships with fellow museums across the UK, and are rapidly expanding our programme of loans and training around the world.
 
The Heritage Trust would like to thank Neil MacGregor for his outstanding work as Director of the British Museum and to wish him the very best in his new life.
 
Full British Museum press release here.
   

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